North South vs Unification…

Interesting distincion in the thrust of two initiatives within Nationalism. With the launch of the SDLP’s North South Makes Sense campaign, which launched yesterday and will culminate in a major conference on 7th October in Derry the emphasis is on make two separates work together. Sinn Fein on the other hand with its Preparing for an Ireland of Equals conference in November in Monaghan has a greater rhetorical emphasis on unification. We’ll keeping an eye out for outputs from both events.

  • darthrumsfeld

    North South makes sense, but East West is best!!!

  • 9countyprovience

    The SDLP campaign sounds a lot more realistic. It makes perfect sense to have harmonisation of certain projects such as infrastructure as mentioned. This isn’t North and South Korea, our border area should be as seemless as those on the mainland [Europe ;-)]. SF campaign is unrealistic. It seems to be planning for an all-Ireland without consulting a large minority on the island. I see that huge banner in Parnell square ‘make partition history’ and I think it’s a complete joke. Lets get a devolved government working up there first and see what happens. The only thing constructive that will come out of that meeting in Monaghan is that the locals will get paid for catering and the use of the facilities.

  • GavBelfast

    The SDLP’s proposals are an outworking and evolution of the Agreement.

    Whatever ones views on the Agreement itself, ironically the key constitutional issue and relationships – within NI, between NI and RoI, and within the islands – are broadly settled or at least accepted by a very large majority these days.

    Of course North-South makes sense, it’s practically self-evident.

    There won’t be a settled all-Ireland “solution” if the reality of the need to include about a million people – and others on both sides of the border who may have reservations – are airbrushed. Vintage Sinn Fein really.

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    The SDLP’s plans are more pragmatic and realisable. Spin Féin’s adheres to a romantic and unrealistic masterplan which is full of propaganda, but ultimately nothing more than that.

    North South Makes Sense does make sense, and is consistent with the GFA. It provides for the gradual and democratic transition to a united nation, and highlights the all-Ireland aspects of the GFA.

    On the other hand, Spin Féin’s ‘Make Partition History’ contradicts the GFA in that it calls for an authomatic united Ireland, despite the recognition of the GFA that the status of NI will remain as part of the UK until a border poll decides otherwise. They can’t be pro-Agreement and anti-Agreement at the same time.

    The SDLP’s aim in to bring about a united Ireland, but to keep the structures of the GFA intact to protect the rights of protestants/ unionists in a united Ireland, just as it protects the rights of catholics/ nationalists in the current NI devolved assembly.

  • abucs

    Well done SDLP. Practical, non agressive politics. I’m sure Sinn Fein will be heading in the same direction when the new politics settles down.

  • Ling

    Why not just leave it at that? Increase levels of cooperation between the states till the border is irrelevant and just leave it there. Having it framed as a stepping stone to a united Ireland can only put Unionists off what is otherwise plain sense.

  • Dick Doggins

    Very strange that the sdlp have invited all political parties North and South, Unionist and Nationalist but have excluded SF??????
    So now the sdlp don`t respect the Nationalist electoral mandate in the North.
    So now the sdlp are the nationalist version of the DUP!

  • circles

    Did the SDLP not recently out themselves as republicans in time for the british elections? Something about “real republicanism” or so? Is that the real republicanism without actually going for an irish republic? Would that be republicanism light? All the votes but none if the content?

  • abucs

    I think it will be left at that Ling, at least for the foreseeable future. I agree, there is no need to frame it as a stepping stone. It possibly could be a stepping stone if a future generation so decides. Perhaps it’s a matter of playing to the gallery. I believe though that if shared politics is implemented, the traditional galleries will be more concerned with practicle everyday matters in the future. Fingers crossed.

  • Northern FF

    Dick Doggins, catch a grip.

    I’m glad to see that the SDLP are not inviting SF to take part, but I would prefer if they explained the decision in clearer terms.

    The provisional movement should not be invited to take part because they have absolutely NOTHING positive to offer. Their ‘Ireland of Equals’, where some are more equal than others, is a recruitment tool – something to keep the young lads excited and give the appearance of radicalism. Nothing more.

    What the SDLP is proposing is built on real politics – addressing the issues that will normalise all-Ireland life and begin to break down the barriers of mistrust that is holding all-Ireland development back.

    Normalising all-Ireland life doesn’t suit the provo agenda at all at all. Their electoral strategy is based on fostering resentment – different targets on both sides of the border, but the same message.

    Congratulation to Durkan & McDonnell.

  • Henry94

    We have Sinn Fein to thank for the fact that the SDLP have any kind of an all-Ireland strategy. I’m all for competing visions of the way forward. It’s exactly the debate we need to have.

  • J Kelly

    The sdlp are being pragmatic, realistic working the agreement what a load of nonsense the sdlp are being selfish and protecting their own jobs and powerbase. The SDLP always viewed the GFA as the end and we should all live together in this statelet. The reality is that SF have been promoting the all ireland agenda and the sdlp as usual come with a watered down version.

    North South does make sense but lets be honest co-operation north south is far short of what republicans want. John Hume has often been misquoted saying its a united ireland or nothing what he actually said is that these people want a united ireland or nothing is still true today. Republicans will strive for a united ireland for how ever long it takes and will not be fooled by Mark Durkans gimmickry and new Labour spin.

  • Northern FF

    “the sdlp are being selfish and protecting their own jobs and powerbase”

    Dazzling insight J Kelly – in what way exactly is promoting all-Ireland normalisation either selfish or protecting SDLP jobs? (BTW, by jobs I assume you mean the MPs and MLAs. Surely these jobs are protected by the SDLP’s mandate?)

    Your second paragraph makes no sense, so it’s best ignored. Except to ask – what in name of all that’s holy has ‘New Labour spin’ got to do with anything??!

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    J Kelly,

    The SDLP always viewed the GFA as the end

    This is untrue. By definition, considering the fact the GFA came into existence only in 1998, how could the SDLP have “always” viewed it as the end?

    we should all live together in this statelet.

    Also untrue- for example, on 7th February 1978
    the SDLP was reported in the Irish Times as stating that it is “the British dimension which is the obstacle keeping us away from a lasting solution”. The same year, the SDLP Annual Conference held on 4th November voted that British withdrawal was ‘desirable and inevitable’.

    This is also proven by the SDLP’s current Constituional Policy Summary :

    “…The Agreement provides for a referendum on the question of a United Ireland. The SDLP wants to see a referendum during the lifetime of the next Assembly and we will campaign in favour of a United Ireland.

    If a majority of the people in the North vote for a United Ireland, then there must be one. That is not just the policy of the SDLP – it is what the Agreement provides.

    Uniquely among parties in the North, the SDLP is clear that in a United Ireland the Agreement must endure. Its institutions – such as the Assembly and the Executive – will stand. Equally, the British Irish structures will continue, as will the Agreement’s equality guarantees and human SDLP’s current Constitutional Policy:
    rights protections.”

    I think this could not be any more clear on the SDLP’s policy on a united Ireland. It would be preferable if you would check your facts instead of spouting innaccurate propaganda.

  • J Kelly

    This sdlp policy of north/south co-operation as being outlinded is far short of their self proclaimed republicanism at the last election. The SDLP are quite happy to sit in Northern Ireland under british rule as long as they have some influence over how its run. The nationalist/republican voters as they have shown in recent elections will not settle for this. A united ireland is what is required not a federal Eire Nua type set up with unionist control of the north east.

    The SDLP will campaign for a united Ireland at a referendum why not campaign for it now rather than looking for wishy washy co-operation.

    Northern FF
    Standing on central staion platform with a banner promoting what you are about does this not remind you of Tony Blair and his often launched policies.

  • Dick Doggins

    So its Ok for the sdlp to ignore the mandate of the nationalist people in the North by excluding SF? So the sdlp are now a reborn green party and not a European party!
    Calling for a United stragegy amonsgt other polical parties, could this not be a front to hide the dissention and dis-enchantment currently rocking the sdlp`s membership!
    Strange this, at a time when Durkan has no support outside his own Derry powerbase and with prominent Belfast sdlp members being more vocal, sorry underhand in their campaign to have Durkan removed.

    Off course the Nationalist electorate will believe and follow the sdlp, sure they can always tell them in person, when they actually meet one at their doorstep come the next election!!!!

  • Dick Doggins

    Strange that Durkan and McDonnell should be mentioned in the same sentence…….horses going in very different directions comes to mind….now what could that mean?

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    J Kelly,

    “A united ireland is what is required not a federal Eire Nua type set up with unionist control of the north east.”

    Let me remind you, Éire Nua was a Spin Féin policy document, circa 1979. At least attack the SDLP on its own policies, not on the policies of the party you purport to have the correct solution.

    BTW- you still owe me 20 quid to charity from January on you’re misguided election predictions:

  • J Kelly

    I know it was a sinn fein policy but look at current SDLP policy a united ireland with the structures of the GFA agreement kept in place. you have to admit this is kind of similar without governements in other parts of ireland. but of course the sdlp do not have much interest in those parts do they.

    Name your charity as long as it is mutually acceptable and i will pay up no problem.

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    J Kelly,

    I don’t recall the caveat about the charity being mutually acceptable. Does the SDLP count as a charity? Only kidding 😉 (And no jokes please about being a charity case)

    Would Mick or someone on Slugger like to act as an intermediary to take receipt of the money and forward it to myself or the charity of choice when I select it?

  • brighid mcbride

    Sure, isn’t this the conference from which SINN FEIN IS PROHIBITED FROM ATTENDING BY THE SDLP? SINN FEIN IS the largest nationalist party and the ONLY nationalist party which exemplifies their “north south makes sense” theme! Ahh, the irony….if only SDLP had known that “north south makes sense” as early as SINN FEIN DID. It’s good to see SDLP finally caught themselves on…

  • FBT

    Bridhid / Dick.

    I’m afraid Connolly House briefed you incorrectly again. That SF is ‘PROHIBITED’ from the SDLP’s event is nonsense and mopery. If you bothered to check, you’d see that all Northern Parties were invited.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’m not sure I want to get involved in handling other peoples’ money. But I’m happy to verify (in a de Chastellaine stylee) that the £20 has been safely decommissioned to a charity of mutual choice.

    Now, who’s going to be chief negotiator of your respective talks teams?

  • Menzies

    Whatever about the Nationalist or Republican proposals the only constant that is of any consequence or relevance to the majority of people here is the “you can shove your united Ireland project where the sun don’t shine” initiative.

  • ulsterman

    Very interesting. When are the SDLP and SF going to realise the agreement is dead in the water?. It was a non-sensical agreement anyway.

    Nationalists portrayed it as some sort of victory even though the Republic forever abandoned their territorial claim.Nationalists got nothing out of the agreement and it copper fastened the Union forever.

    Trimble was never able to sell the agreement because Unionists could never understand what nationalists were celebrating. The DUP victory has ensured the death of the agreement. Whatever others say it is the DUP that has the veto on progress and they will use it.

  • ulsterman

    Very interesting. When are the SDLP and SF going to realise the agreement is dead in the water?. It was a non-sensical agreement anyway.

    Nationalists portrayed it as some sort of victory even though the Republic forever abandoned their territorial claim.Nationalists got nothing out of the agreement and it copper fastened the Union forever.

    Trimble was never able to sell the agreement because Unionists could never understand what nationalists were celebrating. The DUP victory has ensured the death of the agreement. Whatever others say it is the DUP that has the veto on progress and they will use it.

  • maca

    Just question, you say the the agreement is “dead in the water” but that the Republic has “forever abandoned their territorial claim”. If the agreement is dead as you say, how does that affect the old Articles 2&3 of the Irish constitution? Couldn’t the Republic just re-state their claim?

    “it copper fastened the Union forever”
    Actually it didn’t.

    “the DUP that has the veto on progress and they will use it.”
    Perhaps, until people stop voting for them, which hopefully is soon enough.

  • J Kelly

    I have no problem with Mick verifying that the money has been put beyond use. Name the charity.

    Secondly you still have acknowledged or disproved the similarities between current sdlp policy for a united ireland and the Eire Nua policy.

  • J Kelly

    have not

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    J Kelly/ Mick,

    El Matador shall act as El Matador’s chief negotiator. I trust no one else (and oft times not even myself).

    As regards the charity, I select Concern. If J Kelly could send a cheque for £20 made out to said charity to Mick, I will rest assured that it will make its way to the charity’s coffers. No grubby polaroids are required as proof.

    I’m not sure how much effect 20 quid will have in places like Niger, as hunger and poverty seem endemic in Africa, but if it eases the suffering of one child for one day, at least my victory in the bet will have achieved something.

  • J Kelly

    No problem. I will make contact with mick asap and the cheque will be in the post.

    Still waiting on response on the substantive point of this conversation. Can you see any similarities between the current sdlp united ireland policy and the eire nua policy of the seventies.

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    J Kelly,

    I find very little whatsoever in terms of similarity between SF’s Éire Nua of 1979 and the SDLP’s current all-Ireland strategy. Indeed, they generally seem to be at complete odds as to what is the best way forward for Ireland, with the exception of the fact that they both agree upon the concept of a united Ireland per se.

    For instance, Éire Nua called for these principles:

    – The state will have complete control over the import and export of capital

    – Finance, insurance and all key industries must be brought under public control

    -Large ranches and estates will be taken over and leased to groups of families to run on co-operative lines. Only resident citizens of the republic will be allowed to own, purchase or lease land within Ireland.

    Building land will not be the means of enrichment of private individuals. It will instead be the subject of compulsory purchase by the state or the local authority concerned, at a price related to its agricultural value.

    – Private enterprise will have no place in key industries

    -Ireland’s withdrawal from the EEC to resist the implementation of any decrees or policies of the Common Market which would be detrimental to the best interests of our people or any section of it.

    These fly in the face of current SDLP thinking, and are not only unworkable, but also now very outdated.

    The SDLP’s policy is based on increased all-Ireland cooperation, in the context of the EU, to benefit everyone in Ireland, and to eventually bring about a 36 county republic with the safeguards of the GFA in place to protect protestant rights and representation with a united nation.

    Éire Nua was pie-in-the-sky rhetorical Stalinism. North- South Makes Sense is a workable, modern, and realistic plan to increase cooperation and development across the island.

  • El Matador @ El Blogador

    Sorry- just realised I did a Francie Molloy and referred to a ’36 county republic’. Unless we annex the likes of Dumfries and Galloway etc., even I admit this will never happen 😉

  • J Kelly

    The key component of Eire Nua was federal ireland with each province self governing. The key component with the SDLP all ireland policy is a united ireland with the six counties self governing. I wonder why they want the six counties self governing of course thats were they exist. This policy of the sdlp is based on self interest and survival.