McCann enters Foyle race…

Eammon McCann has entered the election race for the Westminster seat of Foyle, because “the campaign has been wearying, lacklustre, predictable and unproductive from the other parties”. The significance of his entrance is hard to gauge, since his 2,257 votes in the last Assembly elections transfered almost evenly between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

  • queens_unionist

    why does he even bother!!lol!
    well i suppose he’s as welcome as anyone else to enter…we do live in a democracy

  • George T

    Would be surprised if he even got close to 2000 votes. The PR system of the assembly elections allowed supporters of both SF and SDLP (as well as the ‘dissillusioned youth’ and die hard hippies!) to put Eamonn first and then send their votes along party lines.

    With only one vote, and with the election being so tight, many who gave him a ‘1’ for the assembly will overlook him this year for McLaughlin or Durkin.

  • sean west

    He is hopeless.Just a windbag full of his own self importance.

  • queens_unionist

    this time you made a semi intelligent comment sean west.
    keep it up.

  • sean west

    Gee Thanks.Actually this might suprise you i quite like some DUP members.At least they have some spirit.

  • George

    Could Eamonn not become the Joe Higgins of the North, socialist scourge of the established parties and defender of the unrepresented?

    Just look at Joe on Gama and the bin charges.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sean West

    “He is hopeless.Just a windbag full of his own self importance.”

    Agree or disagree with him, McCann is the possessor of perhaps the most coherent philosophy in northern politics, and there can be no doubt that when he speaks, he has done his homework. He is a figure of far greater stature than any of his opponents in Foyle, and has something original to offer voters there. Were he standing in any other constituency across the north, one could make the same argument.

    So how does one identify, as you say, a hopeless windbag, full of his own self-importance?

    Perhaps it’s a person who makes strident assertions unsubstantiated by argument?

    G’wan back to your barstool you bleating child and stop polluting the conversations of your intellectual betters. Come back when you have an adult observation to make and – please God – an actual argument to back it up. Or at least the intention of trying to offer something significant.

    Queen’s Unionist

    “this time you made a semi intelligent comment sean west. keep it up.”

    Don’t be encouraging him. Remember – the fact that you agree with someone’s comment doesn’t make it an intelligent one. Even if his statement was indisputably correct, it remains indisputable that there wasn’t a trace of intelligence about it.

  • sean west

    Joe Higgins is a decent fellow.Did great work in good old Brazil.Saving an indian plantation from the cattle ranchers.Good bless you Joe very impressed and very proud of you.

  • sean west

    Eamonn Mccann never did anything worthwhile.
    Took part in a few street demonstrations and wrote a very overatted book.
    What are his views on Europe?What are his views on
    the national question?The Global economy?.
    Anyone can spout ideas on the sidelines and shout he same old i hate imperialism and uncle sam.Let Eamonn McCann go to America and start running down the US like i have heard him do in the past.But remember the 600 U S corporations in Ireland.And rember how many people they employ.

  • sean west

    Will the great Eamonn swear an oath if elected?.

  • la Dolorosa

    Sean – He could always do what Tony Banks did and cross his fingers!

  • sean west

    Exactly.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Did you ever think maybe he has more pressing concerns than “the national question”.

    Personally I hate the guys policies but it’s nice to see the electorate having some real choice for a change – do you know what? I’m glad I don’t know what his position on “the national question” is. Maybe instead of waving flags and shouting meaningless slogans he’s actually devoted his time to thinking about ways to improve everyday life in Northern Ireland…

    or maybe he’s been hugging trees – either way it’s probably more productive than the usual shower.

  • sean west

    Well i am sure he will have lots of views on many subjects.However if he is elected and swears an oath and joins the British parliament will that not be a staggering u turn.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    A staggering U turn on what? Have I missed something?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sean West

    “Eamonn Mccann never did anything worthwhile.
    Took part in a few street demonstrations and wrote a very overatted book.”

    I was right. You are drunk.

    “What are his views on Europe?What are his views on the national question?The Global economy?”

    – The man has written tomes on each of these issues and an array of others. Clearly you don’t read much.

    “Anyone can spout ideas on the sidelines and shout he same old i hate imperialism and uncle sam. Let Eamonn McCann go to America and start running down the US like i have heard him do in the past.”

    Everyone hates imperialism nowadays. Jesus, even the imperialists have the wit to try to give it another name. Like `spreading freedom’ or somesuch crap like that. As for: “I hate Uncle Sam” – well, all I can say is that it’s clear your opinions of McCann are based on second-hand accounts of what he stands for – second-hand accounts from people who dislike him. (And of course, we’ve already established that you’re not much of a reader.)

    Incidentally, he has travelled to America often and has spoken there on many occasions.

    “But remember the 600 U S corporations in Ireland. And rember how many people they employ.”

    Point taken, insofar as it goes.

    I would develop the theme but, I suspect, you’re not much of a listener either.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “However if he is elected and swears an oath and joins the British parliament will that not be a staggering u turn.”

    Another instance of basing your opinions on second-hand claptrap. Let me guess: some bloke “told” you McCann was an abstentionist. Am I right? Or did you just assume it?

    And if you did assume it, why?

  • sean west

    you mean you actually take al that stuff Mccann writes seriously.I remember him loving the Soviet union and telling us how great it was.
    Some insight.

  • Chris Gaskin

    McCann isn’t a bad skin

    I have never transfered to anyone but a Sinn Féin canditate but if I was going to it would be to someone like him

  • sean west

    No, the point is surely as an Irishman he should
    refuse to swear an oath to a foreign parliament.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    Being Irish and the oath to the Queen, last time I checked, weren’t mutually exclusive. Abstentionism is another act that doesn’t actually mean or achieve an awful lot, but nevertheless is a good votewinner, right up there with waving your flag higher than the other guy.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sean West

    “I remember him loving the Soviet union and telling us how great it was.”

    Please cite one instance of the above.

    Because I remember McCann being more critical of the Soviet Union than any mainstream party. I remember the blood-on-the-walls battles he and other socialists fought against the sticks and Irish communists in the 1970s. He always named the USSR for the nightmare it was, notwithstanding its protestations of being Marxist. As a Marxist McCann knew it was nothing of the sort and said so.

    I think your memory is playing tricks on you. I think what you meant to say was:

    “I remember some bloke telling me about how Eamonn McCann loved the Soviet union and told us us how great it was.”

    To which I can only say that this person who has told you everything you know about Eamonn McCann is a liar and has exposed you to ridicule.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “No, the point is surely as an Irishman he should refuse to swear an oath to a foreign parliament.”

    All eighteeen of our MPs are Irishmen and Irishwomen. At least eleven of those MPs don’t consider Westminster a foreign parliament. Should David Trimble refuse to swear the oath? He’s an Irishman.

    (I think what you’re trying to say is that Eamonn McCann is a fenian.)

  • Alan McDonald

    Beano,

    I am in agreement with you regarding abstentionism. It is so foreign to me, as an American, I wonder if you (or anyone on this board) can explain to me why it is so popular. I can’t think of any legislature in the United States that would allow a seat to go vacant without some mechanism to fill it.

  • Davros

    Well said abour Eamonn McCann Billy P.
    Wish we had more like him.

  • beano @ Everything Ulster

    It’s really simple. It’s symbolic. Sinn Fein have a long history of staying out of anything they don’t like and then using their non-participation, or consequences thereof, as a reason why it is illegitimate. This is especially true where their arguments are weakest. Coincidence?

  • la Dolorosa

    Re the shinners not taking their seats in Westminster – whether we think it’s hypocritical, stupid or whatever people who vote for them are fully aware of their stance on this issue.

  • JD

    Alan:

    It’s largely symbolic: it’s intended to show that there is the moral and political authority for a section of the population who do not feel that they belong.

    Most importantly, it was coupled with the attempt to create an alternative grassroots administrative movement on the ground in republican-nationalist areas as a response to on-the-ground security and civil rights concerns. A “If the government won’t protect us and discriminates against us, we’ll do it ourselves,” sort of philosophy. The current policing problems largely stem from the remnants of this grassroots movement.

  • Keith M

    George “Could Eamonn not become the Joe Higgins of the North?”….Sean West (on McCann) “He is hopeless. Just a windbag full of his own self importance.”

    It appears he already has become the JH of the North!

  • Keith M

    George “Could Eamonn not become the Joe Higgins of the North?”….Sean West (on McCann) “He is hopeless. Just a windbag full of his own self importance.”

    QED : It appears he already has become the JH of the North!

  • DerryTerry

    Candidate McCann once again, and against his wishes of course, has decided to take the onerous burden of electoral campaigning to demonstrate issues and raise awareness of stuff.

  • JD

    Candidate McCann once again, and against his wishes of course, has decided to take the onerous burden of electoral campaigning to demonstrate issues and raise awareness of stuff.

    I love McCann, but that was funny…

    Alan, if you’re still interested, I should add that 1986 changed SF abstentionist policies (the famous armalite and ballotbox strategy speech). That was at least a theoretical recognition that the grassroots thing had its limitations. It was the start in earnest of the “politicization” of the PRM. The split was a bad one.

  • Alan McDonald

    Thanks, all for the backgrounder.

    If I understand it, voters are making a protest against the government by refusing to send a represnetative to the legislative/governing body. The argument for not sitting is that an oath is required. Since Sinn Fein candidates sit on local bodies, is there no oath of office there?

  • DerryTerry

    Update from Foyle:

    Candidate McCann, who recently joined the electoral fray in Derry because he didn’t like any of the other candidates, has just confirmed that whilst this is his 1,690 Westminster Campaign, and 1, 916 Council Campaign, he does not belive in electoralism as a method of advancing the working classes and only does it to raise his already prominent profile.

    In a seperate statement Candidate McCann declared that whilst he doesn’t like any of the other candidates, he thinks he is alright.

    In a third statement it was confirmed that Candidate McCann is also contesting a seat on Derry City Council in the rural ward, because its not just the working classes who should have the chance to snub him.

  • JD

    The argument for not sitting is that an oath is required.

    Yes and no. It’s never just that simple. Yes, for obvious reasons, and no for the quasi-marxian grassroots activism of the early 70’s mentioned above.

    Ah, DT, leave poor Eamo alone. At least the afro is gone. 😉

  • Alan McDonald

    JD,

    Maybe I’m hung up on this oath thing, but is there an oath for local office? Here in the US, it is common, even at the most local level, to require an oath before taking office. If the election winner refuses the oath, the local governing body has a mechanism for replacing him/her short of another election.

  • JD

    Alan, I’m open to correction, but I think the option for an “affirmation” (not unlike court) exists.

  • scarlet

    Like him or loath him at least he is different and has distinct views. I assume that he is standing to bouy up his council campaign. However by so doing I think he has handed Foyle to SF, but that is not the candidate’s fault but the shortcomings of the voting system.

    Has anyone noticed Mark Langhammer? I don’t see his name in the candidates list for Macedon perhaps my information is incorrect.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Re the Oath.

    This is actually one of the most common mistaken assumptions in NI politics. If Westminster did away with the oathy of allegiance the Sinn Fein MPs still wouldn’t take their seats.

    Why? Because the principle of abstention isn’t rooted in something so cosmetic as a one-off mantra that is taken under legal requirement and which no Irish nationalist would feel morally bound by anyway.

    The Sinn Fein policy of abstention is based in its principle of refusing to recognise Westminster’s right of sovereignty over any part of Ireland.

    When Sinn Fein was founded in 1905, abstention was its big political innovation. After two decades in which British parliamentary procedure had thwarted most Irish people’s democratically-expressed desire for Home Rule, the alway-fragile faith of the Irish people in British parliamentary procedure was exhausted.

    Abstentionism was an early form of non-violent protest and dissent. It reached its zenith in 1918 when voters in an overwhelming majority of Irish constituencies voted for Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein won so many seats that the MPs not only abstained from one parliament, they were able to form their own: Dail Eireann.

    Since then though many manifestations of that policy have changed. Sinn Fein now sit in partitionist parliaments north and south, and in councils devolved from those partitionist parliaments. They argue that partitionist or no, these are Irish parliaments elected by the Irish people.

    Westminster remains the ultimate republican taboo though, and it’s hard to see how they could ever take their seats there and still claim to be `Sinn Fein’.

  • JD

    Billy, nice post.

    Am I right in thinking that the assembly has an option of affirming?

    I also think that the quasi-marxian strategies of grassroots local government exercised by SF in the 70’s and 80’s is a logical extension of abstentionist policy. That’s why 1986 was such a watershed.

  • DerryTerry

    Scarlet,

    I think you’re spot on regarding the seat. CAndidate McCann offers a soft out for many SDLP voters who are absolutely disillusioned with Durkan but not yet prepared to switch to McLaughlin. They get to avoid voting for Durkan, keep their trendy left class room principles and still get a new MP for Foyle. Not a bad result all round.

  • Liam

    He also gives an option for terrendy Republicans who cannot morally reconcile themselves voting for Mitchel (The Joker) McLaughlin and his progressive thinking a la Jean Mc Conville and the provos legitimate claim to being the legitimate government of Ireland.

  • Jim Bob

    I’m not one of those who think that Eamon has just forgotten that he’s no longer running for an ENTS post at Uni.

    Oh no!

    I actually went to the trouble of correcting a Henry McDonald blurb at a recent election where Henry gave the wrong URL for Eamon’s campaign in his Observer article.

    Henry sent a very apologetic email by return and promised to correct his error in his next Observer article.

    Did he?

    No!

    With friends like

    Journalists, eh

  • Jeremy

    (as an aside thats probably been covered before can I say thank god typeface is gone and its straightforward to post again)

    DerrtTerry has an interesting note on McCann’s voting group. Will he take votes from the SDLP or will it split evenly as it seemed to do in the last election. will it make a differnce to teh outcome?

  • Liam

    I have a feeling that McCanns influence will not have as great an impact this time – on the balance of probabilities he will take a larger share of Sinn Fein voters this time paving the way for MD to take the seat.

  • DerryTerry

    Liam, apart from wishful thinking what is this based on?

  • Liam

    It’s called feedback on the doorsteps Terry – people who are fed up with the lies and deceit of the Republican movement.

    Oh and here’s another one for you – it seems that people in Derry are a little concerned at the over-confidence of the Republican movement. Derry wans like to take the over confident down a peg or two!!!! Thought you’d like to know that !!!

  • DerryTerry

    Wishful thinking then it is.

  • Liam

    Still side stepping some of the previous issues ‘Terry’!! Typical Spin fein. Cheerio then!

  • DerryTerry

    Liam, are you saying that in the course of a canvass that you have identified a trend of SF voters who will vote for McCann, and a strand of former McCann voters who will return to the SDLP, even though he was only selected on Saturday?

    That’s some canvassing to be doing, particularly when an SDLP canvasser in Derry is rarer than hen’s teeth.

    Talk about spin, Liam, you must be dizzy. I hope John is counting the revolutions.

  • John O’Connell

    DerryTerry

    I think that you must think that us SDLPers came up the Foyle in a double decker bus.

    You can spin as you like but there was the same factors involved when Eamon McCann stood in the Assembly election where he took 1,000 votes both from SDLP and SF. He’ll do similar things again. Such a waste of space he is.

    Gone are the days when he spouted about arriving at power in Ireland with the Socialist Workers Movement “after the IRA had gained victory in their campaign”. He was going to ride on their backs on the way to power. Slight misjudgement there then.

  • spartacus

    put up or shut up john. where’s the source for your quote please? load of shite is what it is.

  • John O’Connell

    spartacus

    I wouldn’t normally honour your bad language, but this is important.

    I heard this the quote with my own ears, and I haven’t the skills to get my ears sourced on Slugger.

    Maybe Eamon McCann will recall the Imperial Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway, in term time 1984/5.

  • joedavis

    I’m thinking a very large number of comments indicates a lot of irrelevant comments. Eamonn McCanns running for election simply gives him something to do and will have no bearing on anything. His political vocabulary will prevent him from becoming a threat to anything or anybody.

  • aquifer

    Come now John. Having a revolutionary trotskyite elite of one is bad enough, but having the bits of bodies stuff subcontracted to the red diesel national socialists? I cannot believe that someone as erudite and fashionable, and a BBC commentator and environmentalist to boot, would countenance such behaviour.

  • Young Irelander

    This will serve Durkan well, Mc Cann’s brand of communism is dated and the people of the Bogside, Creggan and the Bone will see through his claptrap. The only reason Mc Cann is not part of the criminal conspiracy that is IRA/SF is because he is too Red for their Green.

    Derry is a beautiful town with great people. They aren’t stupid – Durkan have served them well to date in London and will be comfortably returned.

  • DerryTerry

    Young Irelander,

    Whats Durkan been doing in London to date? And is that returned as in elected for the first time as a Brit MP, because i just cann’t see that happening.

  • DerryTerry

    Foyle Update 2

    In a devastating introduction to sordid electoral politics Revolutionary Socialist and media commentator Candidate McCann has announced that he will use his campaign to overthrow global capitalism and create a socialist liberated zone in the North West of Ireland in a partitionist sort of way as a member of the Socialist Workers of Ireland who take advice but not direction From the Socialist Workers Britain.

    In a further development he has described his pursuit of a seat on Derry City Council as his last chance to get elected to anything and sure would anybody begrudge him at least one electoral victory.

    Its belived the establishment parties and independents are considering withdrawing in light of Candidate McCann’s recent pronouncement that he doesn’t like their campaigns and prefers his instead.

    Updates will continue in the course of the election, pro bono.

  • fay-ree

    You know, much of the poking fun at McCann’s ego and Trot-by-another-name politics is accurate and also funny, but he has no less an ego and a much greater talent than any of the other pygmies in the race. Durkan’s a charisma-free incompetent and McLaughlin’s spoiled goods after the McConville (and other) debacles.

    McCann’s appeal – due in part to his ability and longevity – extends a fair bit beyond the adoring retinue of trots – who are so bizzarely organised in the council election, by the way, that they are running two candidates in Northlands and none in Shantallow. A brilliant electoral strategy, but if you have no chance of getting elected anywhere, sure it hardly matters.

    But whilst McCann’s in no danger of taking the Westminster seat, he might swing it in the rural council ward. His high-profile advocacy around the airport issue might just do it. Of course, then he’d actually have to attend council meetings …

  • Levitas

    I suppose Eamonn will be getting his usual support from the maverick German couple (can’t remember their names at the moment) who form the nucleus of the Communist Party of Ireland grouplet around the Foyle-who incidentally in so doing blatantly breach the Communist Party of Ireland’s policy on suporting the GFA and because the CPI is in effect disfunctional these days they ignore the “party line” with impunity-an eclectic bunch the Socialist Environmental Alliance indeed.

  • Davros

    suppose Eamonn will be getting his usual support from the maverick German couple (can’t remember their names at the moment) who form the nucleus of the Communist Party of Ireland grouplet around the Foyle

    What’s wrong with that Levitas ? Reds under the bed is so passé these days.

  • PhilbloodyCollins

    Does anyone think that McCann can win a local government seat? It seems a strange ward for him to pick if he was serious about it.

  • IJP

    YI

    Not that I think many people in Derry care about London (except when it’s placed at the start of their city’s name!), Durkan’s not the sitting MP.

    That could well be his undoing.