SDLP will alienate moderate Unionist voters

The Newsletter devotes a lot of leader space to the SDLP’s north/south launch of its new united Ireland strategy paper. It argues that “a 32-county Ireland is an aspiration unattainable in the foreseeable future and adopting a ‘green’ posture is more likely to alienate moderate unionist voters in constituencies where neither the DUP or the UUP has a chance of success”.

  • beano

    I think the damage on this front has already been done. In the last couple of elections, the SDLP and the Sinners have consistently tried to “out-Irish” each other, while the DUP and UUP each try to “out-British” each other. I think both would have successfully alienated almost everyone they’re likely to alienate from the ‘other side’.

  • Ireland Today

    The Newsletter says:

    “The reality is that the greater number of people in this Province, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, remain convinced that their economic, cultural and social interests are best served by Northern Ireland remaining a part of the United Kingdom.”

    There is no doubt that is indeed the case right now. And who would blame them with Bertie Ahern cavorting with Adams and breaking his solemn promises to people like Anne McCabe. To them (and indeed to me) Ahern seems only slightly less sinister than Adams in democratic terms.

    But the SDLP are on the right track: dual representation.

    I say elect two sets of parliamentary representatives, one to Westminster and one to Dublin and let’s see which will be the most effective in terms of the “economic, cultural and social interests” of Northern Ireland.

    Competition is the engine of economic success, let it likewise be the engine of Northern Ireland’s political success. Not even the Newsletter would assert that it is satisfactory as it is right now.

    There is no need to wait for a referendum. We already have the Westminster delegation and the Irish one can be created right now in shadow form.

    A shadow delegation of TDs, orgainized in the north according to the Irish Constitution, even without a vote in the Dail, would prove its mettle and soon attract the most ardent unionists because of its effectiveness.

    Dublin is the place to be if you want peace and prosperity for Belfast, not Westminster, they couldn’t give a damn. Dublin has proven enormously effective on the European and world stage.

  • Alan

    *Dublin is the place to be if you want peace and prosperity for Belfast, not Westminster, they couldn’t give a damn. Dublin has proven enormously effective on the European and world stage.*

    Now that is very silly!

    While the future must lie in a devolved arrangement, to suggest that the work of Westminster is not crucial to life here is a nonsense. Look at the work of the NI Affairs Committee, the DLSC’s and recent debates in Westminster Hall, never mind the acres of questioning of the executive that goes on in Westminster, and the continuing laying of Orders and Regs before the house.

    Aside from the thread, if there is one thing that gets on my goat it is the idea of abstention from representation. Politicians are there to represent ordinary people of all persuasions. How many good people died so that we might have the luxury of representation? You can make your protest, but to deny your constituents access to any forum for the addressing of grievances is simply wrong.

  • aquifer

    Good ideas IT

    Unity by attraction and competition rather than coercion. While we are at it lets have RTE for free too and see what we could be letting ourselves in for.

    In fact, without RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, in NI, there is no parity of esteem.

    Have the Northern Ireland nationalist parties campaigned on this, or do they fear armchair nationalism would become general with RTE on tap.

  • aquifer

    In fact, maybe its one for Alliance, if not the UUP. Irish Culture, British standards of social services, – Simply Unbeatable.

  • Ireland Today

    Alan:

    Nothing silly about it. What is silly is Westminster’s attitude towards Europe.

    If there were a referendum in the morning the British people would vote to leave the EU lock stock and barrel. Now THAT’S silly.

    What would you unionists do? Probably the same.

    Then we would get a united Ireland post haste because you would soon realize what silly really means, and start sending your delegation to Dublin in order to be part of a dynamic Europe not some atavistic dinosaur called the British Empire. But then again you may not. You may just hang more bunting on your streets, paint the curbstones red white and blue and sing God Save the Queen. That’s why we have an Irish problem.

  • factfinder

    We don’t have an Irish problem, just a British one.

  • Ireland Today

    Thank you factfinder, I stand corrected.

  • IJP

    IT and aquifier

    To quote from a Young Alliance submission to the North/South Youth Political Forum last year:

    Regardless of constitutional preference, the people of Northern Ireland should feel able as far as possible to play a full role in the life of the UK, the island of Ireland, and the EU. They should know also that they are governed by a fully accountable administration, made up of Northern Ireland people governing of, by and for the Northern Ireland people, regardless of individual identity and affiliation.

    As this is out of context, that latter sentence refers to a ‘devolved administration’ of course.

  • TroubledTimes

    Tribalism still rules the debate on the Constitutional question. Its one side versus the other. UK or UI is based on tribalism and not the real issues. The reality is that for the forseeable future nobody can really talk about the Constitutional issue without having a deep rooted tribal stance. I hope some day people will be able to argue seriously without being tribal.
    The real question is – what benefits are there if Northern Ireland remains in the UK for Northern Ireland, mainland UK and the Republic of Ireland? And also what benefits are there if Northern Ireland becomes united with the rest of Ireland for Northern Ireland, mainland UK and the Republic of Ireland?

  • Alan

    *Nothing silly about it. What is silly is Westminster’s attitude towards Europe.*

    Westminster’s attitude (by which I assume you mean the Labour Government’s attitude) to Europe is to support both expansion and the constitution. What is silly about that? I see it as positive, progressive and engaging.

    *If there were a referendum in the morning the British people would vote to leave the EU lock stock and barrel. Now THAT’S silly.*

    You have no evidence of that at all. If you want to enter into the EU debate go ahead. I am an internationalist and fully support EU expansion alongside the constitution and the eventual UK entry into the Euro. I believe that NI should urgently avail of the opportunity to accept dual currency arrangements and reap what benefits we can from it.

    If you want to see silly arguements over the EU look at Mary Lou’s recent Anti-EU squirmings in The Village and tell me where that is going.

    *What would you unionists do? Probably the same.*

    What unionist are you addressing this to? It is certainly not me!

  • davidbrew

    “If there were a referendum in the morning the British people would vote to leave the EU lock stock and barrel. Now THAT’S silly.

    What would you unionists do? Probably the same.”

    You bet- and then we could spend our money on ourselves and make our own laws, not have bloated Brussels directives strangling us.

    BTW- if you’re so ardently pro-Union (Europe), shouldn’t you see the merits of the original, and infintely superior Union, which was so beneficial to Ireland economically and socially?

  • Ireland Today

    Davidbrew:

    The only industry the Union brought to Ireland was coffin-making.

  • beano

    I would say the ship-building industry was a direct result of our links with the mainland and the Empire, which necessitated maritime travel.

  • factfinder

    You say mainland and Europe. I thought Europe is a mainland, or are you talking about that slightly larger island alongside this one.

  • Ringo

    The only industry the Union brought to Ireland was coffin-making.

    Ya, before that we just built big burial mounds and dolmens. Wonderful bit of insight there IT.

  • factfinder

    If the British pull out does that mean the coffinmakers along side the petrol smugglers will be out of work. will they be entitled to grants to retrain for other jobs.

  • Henry94

    davidbrew

    You bet- and then we could spend our money on ourselves

    Is that the attitude you want to encourage in the British electorate. Might they not be tempted to see where else they could save a few billion.

    Wear you sponge with pride.

  • factfinder

    The British electorate are quite happy as the petrol smugglers also supply them according to some politicians.

  • cg

    If the border didn’t exist then you wouldn’t be able to smuggle fuel across it.

    Remove the border, remove the problem

  • factfinder

    Fuel smuggling is not a problem. The problem is in the over-taxing of it.