Seamus Mallon makes a brief comeback to hammer home some of the frustration his party feels about the slow progress towards a peaceful society. There’s no mistaking his passion:
In 1994 the ceasefire. Remember it? The vision? The idealism that we all thought was going to come? Ah, broken legs, kneecaps blown off, fellows getting their throats cut. Young fellas being held to ransom every day of the week. Decommissioning – the year 2000. It was going to be great. Two years after the executive was set up. Is it done yet? Is it started yet? It’s this manipulation of people that probably I find the most offensive thing in the type of approach to the political process now.
However it remains to be seen whether this eloquently voiced frustration is enough to convince the voters who previously backed the party to come back into the SDLP fold. Sometimes it pays to concentrate on your own game than get too distracted on what your opponent is or (as in this case) is not doing.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty