Nationalism: importance of heart over head

Interesting analysis on the shifts within Nationalism, north and south, from Tom Kelly. He welcomes Garrett FitzGerald’s analysis in the Irish Times at the weekend for its realistic acceptance of the power and provenance of Sinn Féin, and argues that its rivals, north and south need to get to grips with the fact that it speaks more directly and effectively to the core Nationalist vote than they do.

When it came to defining nationalism for the 21st century northern Catholic – they left their flank exposed and Sinn Féin was in position to take advantage only too readily. In the south, as the disparity between the haves and have-nots got greater within the Celtic Tiger economy, the southern parties and in particular Labour and Fianna Fail have left another flank exposed. Again Sinn Féin is poised to exploit the gap. Dr Fitzgerald also sees this as a challenge to the southern parties. The SDLP mantra about not being able to eat flags is all well and good but if you are structurally and ideologically removed from constituencies where that message has not reached then it’s a pretty irrelevant message to be preaching. Wishing things to be different is one thing but working for things to be different makes more sense. Complacency and arrogance nearly wrecked the SDLP and could provide the gap for Sinn Féin to sneak into government in the Republic.

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