Compare and contrast II

What Sinn Fein says they got and what the SDLP says SF did and didn’t get (Word document).

  • Mary

    On past performance I’d believe the SDLP any time before Sinn Fein (We did not rob the northern bank, kill gerry mc cabe etc etc)

  • Frustrated Democrat

    Does it really matter …more squabbling over fine detail …get into the big picture …what is best for NI?

    Clue: It certainly doesn’t involve policing or security.

    Try:

    Education
    Health
    Economy
    Welfare
    Culture………etc. etc.

  • Ian

    The most important point of contention is that the SDLP claim that SF have negotiated away some accountability of MI5 to the Ombudsman that the SDLP had managed to achieve. It is arguable whether that accountability ever existed in practice. How many prosecutions or disciplinary actions against MI5 personnel occurred during the last few years of supposedly enhanced accountability?

  • Pir

    The accountability of MI5 is a very significant and important point for the broad Nationalist community. It is precisely because it was in place that the SDLP were justified in the stance they took. Questions like ” How many prosecutions or disciplinary actions against MI5 personnel occurred during the last few years of supposedly enhanced accountability?” are missing the point completely. Accounatbility was there, in statute. Now it has been cleverly negociated away by the British Gov and SF. The sweets have been taken from the jar and SF has been caught with chocolate round it’s mouth shouting “It wasn’t me! I didn’t do it! And anyway, they weren’t very nice sweets!”.

  • The Ref

    I’ve read both links and the SF page sounds like spin where as the SDLP document seem well thought out and, I have to admit, the most convincing of the two!

    SF 0 – SDLP 1

  • time will tell

    Well if the SDLP are lying the Sinn Fein smear machine will be hastily blackening their brushes, however I suspect that S/F will let this one slide hoping no-one picks up on it.

    How far is this Sinn Fein leadership prepared to STOOP in order to get a British wage and DLA cars for life.

    Without doubt this is the worst leadership and unquestionably the least intelligent leadership the movement has ever had to stomach.

  • Pól

    Good to see the SDLP getting there hands dirty over MI5 accountability.

    Doesn’t make up for all those years they sat on there hands while the same MI5 where murdering people.

  • The Devil

    What no Sinn Fixers on today????????

    normally can’t beat them off a post like this comparing SDLP and SF

    What ever could be wrong???????

    Hope they’re not all ill at the same time, would kinda ruin the fun a bit!!!!!

  • Aaron McDaid

    The SDLP should stop using Word documents. A plain web page would be read by 10 times as many people.

    Anyway, the SDLP seem to have caught out SF telling some lies. If it was just a spat between the parties it would almost be funny; but unfortunately there are substantives point in the middle of it all – the issue of PSNI making arrests for MI5 and also about when MI5 is acting separately from the PSNI.

    I suppose it boils down to two opposing options that the parties have:
    1) reject MI5 totally and have nothing to do with it. Support the PSNI as long as it only engages in fully accountable policing.
    2) try to hold MI5 to account (while continuing to want it disbanded). Based on the reality that MI5 will operate regardless so we should try to restrict it in whatever little way we can.

    My preference is for the former option. Only support organisations that are 100% devolved to Ireland with 100% local accountability – reject anything that is otherwise. SF look to have taken this route, but maybe they’ve messed up.

    The problem is the issue of MI5 getting the PSNI to arrest people for them. Now, if MI5 or anybody else has proper evidence to show to the PSNI and the courts system, then it might be OK for the PSNI to make arrests and hold them in accordance with the law until a fair and open trial. So I’ve got a few questions:

    1) The arrest itself: When the PSNI arrest somebody for MI5, will they be arresting for and charged with some specific normal crime (“murder”, “fraud” et cetera)? Will the suspect have the usual rights to know what they are charged with and have access to a solicitor? If a PSNI officers fails here, will they be guilty of a crime of kidnapping or wrongful arrest or similar, as usual?

    2) Under what conditions will the PSNI release people? The obvious options are upon acquittal or upon release without charge et cetera. I want to know if those arrested could be handed over to MI5? This would be unacceptable – if a suspect is to be held by somebody other than the PSNI it should be via a transfer directly to an officer of a police force in Britain or the Republic of Ireland for the purposes of continued normal police work.

    3) The ‘evidence’: Will the PSNI have to have seen enough evidence from MI5 to be satisfied that an offence has been commited? If the PSNI fail will they be guilty of a crime for this failure? We must remember that arrest are usually made before enough evidence has been got for a conviction in open court – we couldn’t expect that the trial be finished before we can even arrest the suspect! So, once the arrest is made will MI5 and/or the PSNI be expected to continue working to gather evidence acceptable to a court?

    Basically, if the PSNI do work with MI5, at the very least I expect that everything will be done by the book, with an intention to work to a conviction in an open court, and that it will be a criminal offence for any person to diverge from this. Arrests in everyday policing are often made on a reasonable hunch at first, so there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with MI5 convincing PSNI officers that there is a reasonable suspicion.

    The final point is with MI5s activities when they aren’t working with the PSNI. If they commit a crime I expect that the PSNI will 100% committed to following it up properly. Is this true?

    In the midst of all the recent argument, and also this spat, it’s pretty difficult to know what’s actually going on.

  • Paul

    I wonder what S feinns view is on MI5 agent David Rupert giving evidence TO A Belfast court against an innocent Irish man on trumpted up charges.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Aaron,

    what lies are you on about or are you simply accepting the bona fides of a SDLP briefing document at face value.

    The simple fact is that the SDLP wanted a totally unaccountable force embedded in the PSNI thus polluting a new beginning to policing.

    But then again the after jumpimg early on policing the SDLP have to lie all they can to cover their backs.

    Remember, first of all they supported the Bill that became known as the Mandelson Bill on policing. Then after SF pressure they were neutral and then eventually they were forced by the stance of SF to oppose it. Mandelson tried to gut what there was of Patten and the SDLP in a panic backed him up. It seems they are still on the back foot.

  • d

    Pól

    “…MI5 where murdering people..”

    It wasn’t just MI5 who were doing that was it? Seems like the Provos and MI5 much in common!

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Everyday sdlp are looking more and more Republicann and everyday sinn fein under the leadership of adams/mcguiness is looking more and more unionist. This is a prime example

  • Aaron McDaid

    Pat,
    Are you saying that the SDLP did explicitly support Annex E? Can you give me some evidence of that?

    There are substantive issues, and there is pointless slagging, and then there is misrepresentation. We seem to have all three going on here in some way.

  • Restuir

    Seems like Pat is having a bit difficulty sticking to the issue at hand, that of MI5 accountablity.

    The SDLP managed to do it with the OTRs and it now looks like they have exposed more Adams/Blair sidedeals.

  • time will tell

    when will slugger ban Pat McLarnon for deliberitely telling lies and knowing them to be lies

  • Daisy

    Kathy c

    The SDLP has always been an Irish Republican party. It’s just that they never agreed with the treasonous kind of “Irish Republicanism” that the Provos followed. Thirty/forty years on and SF have finally realised the SDLP were right all a long! What’s that they say about the best form of flattery?

  • Ingram

    Daisy,

    The SDLP has always been an Irish Republican party. It’s just that they never agreed with the treasonous kind of “Irish Republicanism” that the Provos followed. Thirty/forty years on and SF have finally realised the SDLP were right all a long! What’s that they say about the best form of flattery?

    Very true. The shinners were always slow at catching on BUT very quick at making a pound!

    Ingram

  • Pól

    d

    Then we agree MI5 were involved in murder.

  • Working Class Taig

    I wonder if the “proud-to-be-Irish Republicans” who voted SF are too proud to admit that SF are not (and never were) the great Irishmen the claimed to be? Almost at a daily rate, SF seems to be morphing into the SDLP and, the more they try and deny it, the more evident it becomes! It’s as if they now realise the SDLP was right all the time but they just don’t want to admit it! Do we have to wait another thirty years for that now? Good on the SDLP for keeping their eye on the ball on this one!

  • middle-class taig

    The reason why SF are in such an appalling bargaining position on policing is because the SDLP dropped their trousers on it years ago, fracturing the nationalist consensus (and all because they wanted to grab back some of the middle-class taig vote that had been leaching to the Shinners as they began to look more reasonable).

    SDLP can by all means laugh at the Shinners wriggling to make the best they can of a bad hand (and who could blame them), but few nationalists are going to listen seriously to SDLP telling them that they’re the ones who’ll look after republican interests on policing. SDLP/PSNI has overseen nationalists being railroaded to court on spying and on Northern Bank charges, a century’s supply of plastic bullets stockpiled, and north Belfast loyalist informants apparently given carte blanche to murder innocent Catholics. If the SDLP has been representing nationalism on the Policing Board for several years, why have they allowed MI5 involvement to become an issue at all?

    I’ve said it many tmes, I’ll say it again. If SDLP want my vote or my money ever again they should do something which advances the cause of Irish nationalism, rather than merely carp at SF.

    Working Class Taig

    Welcome (unless you’ve been here before, in which case, greetings). Did you get a computer on the tick? 🙂

    In case your first line was meant for me, as I can surely be forgiven for surmising (granted, not without some small measure of conceit) from your moniker, I’d like to reassure you that my republicanism pre-dated my first vote for SF, that it has nothing to do with any misty-eyed pride in my Irishness, and that I don’t regard SDLP members, voters and supporters as any less worthy Irishmen than SF members, voters and supporters (well, maybe except for those few that have taken MBEs). To an extent I agree with you. SF do certainly seem to have gained in political strength and policy coherence by borrowing, adapting and improving on some policies traditionally espoused by the SDLP. If only the SDLP would do the same with some policies more traditionally advanced by SF, then perhaps we’d have two effective republican parties in the North of Ireland.

  • Working Class Taig

    ”The reason why SF are in such an appalling bargaining position on policing is because the SDLP dropped their trousers on it years ago, fracturing the nationalist consensus.”

    Wrong on two counts. The fact that the Shinners are up shit creek with regards to policing is all their own doing. Militant, rejectionist “republicanism” chose the wrong path to travel along. History has proven that the SDLP stance of political engagement was the right way.

    The Nationalist consensus was fractured (and continued to be fractured) when the Provos ruled by terror, abducting, torturing and murdering the fellow countrymen. That approach was morally reprehensible and was never going to unite C.P.&D. We have the Provos to thank for the fracturing of the nationalist vote.

    I do agree that However I can’t help but think there is some Provo paranoia going on here. This is because, IMO, too many people allow “Irish Republicanism” to be defined by the Provo style of doing things. I for one believe “Irish Republicanism” is more than this.

    I think it serves no purpose in pointing at peceived faults and failings of others in order to somehow divert attention from your own! SF is guilty of doing just this and the SDLP was there to point it out.

    “If SDLP want my vote or my money ever again they should do something which advances the cause of Irish nationalism..”
    Though I am in no position to speak on behalf of the SDLP, I would like to hazard a gues that they would say read our manifesto and if we reflect your views please give us your vote. Surely that’s what they all say isn’t it? As an Irish Republican myself, I could never give my vote to SF because of what they have supported in the past eg Gerry McCabe, the Disappeared etc If you think that’s what best defines the Irish in the six counties then clearly we differ. I actually DO regard SF voters and supporters as less worthy Irishmen for the reasons stated.

    Finally I would like to add that it is my sincere wish that we could have one united Nationalist voice in the North.

  • BeardyBoy

    It is all nonesense any way – MI5 will do whatever it wants – even the English Govt has not got power to rope them in – ask Harold Wilson or even Thatcher. They will spy on the Irish, they will spy on the English,they will liaise with the police, they will be unaccountable no matter who or what is there to keep an eye on them.

    I would not worry about it – it is like two blind dogs fighting over a bone that is not there.

  • Beardy Boy is absolutely right. MI5 is simply not publicly accountable, and from a British POV, this is not negotiable. It has the facade of accountability through the parliamentary watchdog, but it has never actually reprimanded MI5.

    The fact is, Sinn Fein recognise that MI5 will do what it wants and that the British couldn’t back down even if they wanted – MI5 has the political clout and probably enough dirt on protagonists on either side to oil the wheels.

    What the SDLP want is fair, democratic and principled, but unrealistic.

    However, their paper demolishes Sinn Fein’s claim of some great victory in the negotiations. What they have achieved is the perceived separation of the police and security service. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Regular posters will remember complaints about how Sinn Fein avoided the entire public debate over MI5 up until relatively recently. The SDLP did all the early running, and eventually SF must have felt pressured into doing something. If the SDLP was pointing out negotiating weakness in a policing battle SF couldn’t win much in, at the same time as SF was preparing to back policing, the gloss of an argument was needed.

    Naturally, the British play along. They know they need to keep the Shinner machine ‘onboard’, that they are ‘having difficulties with their base’, (an exaggerated political threat, I think), and so they compliantly hand out a few sweeties at the end.

    The net result is that the SDLP produce a very convincing Word document spelling how they were right all along, and, with a little encouragement from Blair, Sinn Fein get to trumpet another ‘victory’, albeit a hollow one.

    In terms of what was proposed at the very beginning, virtually nothing has actually changed.

    And you have to place this into the propaganda context, or if you prefer, confidence-building campaign that we’re in the middle of. In the run-up to the Ard Fheis we’ve seen:

    – SF achieve a tiny measure of separation of MI5 and PSNI, but not gain any greater accountability over MI5

    – Orde issues ‘new’ conditions under which plastic bullets can be fired – but if anyone can tell me how this would have changed any situation the PSNI have ever dealt with since it was formed, I’d like to be reminded. Let’s face it, they’ve acted responsibly. No replacement has been found either.

    – The Historical Enquiries Team has – for the first time – apologised to a family for security force involvement in murders of their loved ones.

    – The first public meeting between Orde and SF occurred late last year as a scene-setter.

    None of this is wrong, but at least should be understood for what it is – predictable theatre.

  • fair_deal

    Belfast Gonzo

    “The Historical Enquiries Team has – for the first time – apologised to a family for security force involvement in murders of their loved ones.”

    If you are referring to the story today about the Reavey murders you are mistaken. He apologised for no briefing to the mother about the murders and army harassment of the mother after the murder. He did not apologise for security force involvement in the murder.

  • A-2-Z

    Gonzo,

    “What the SDLP want is fair, democratic and principled, but unrealistic.”

    Maybe inadvertently but I think you have summed up the SF position on this issue. Basically they are willing to throw in the towel on policing.

  • middle-class taig

    Working Class Taig

    Let’s be clear, I think SF have gotten next to nothing additional on policing. I don’t think there was anything they could have gotten. Their “deal” on MI5 will do nothing other than enable them to raise hell and pull out if MI5 overstep the mark. I’m sure it will impose no practical operational constraint on MI5. But the SDLP have been on the Policing Board for yonks. If they had any teeth whatsoever MI5 wouldn’t even be on the agenda.

    The first nationalist party to cave on policing was always going to take the Irish Government and the Catholic Church with it, and that was the ball game!! After that, no further advance on policing was deliverable, no matter how hard SF tried or how long they stayed out, because it wasn’t necesary. The nationalist consensus, which had been reformed by the GFA and was delivering benefits for nationalists, was broken. The SDLP did that. They took their seats on the Policing Board leaving behind another nationalist party – notice the way when one unionist party pulled out of the Executive, the whole thing was regarded as untenable. Not so the Policing Board. All the British Government wanted was a few Uncle-Tom nodding dogs to approve the few changes they made. And they got them.

    And we got unsubstantiated allegations about republicans by the dozen, glacial movement on collusion, a truckload of plastic bullets, murder with impunity in north Belfast and wee girls being showered with urine by loyalist thugs.

    If the SDLP hadn’t dropped their trousers at the first sign of resistance on Patten we could have had a better deal on localised policing, a better deal on plastic bullets, a better deal on collusion, a better deal on remaining human rights abusers in uniform, a better deal on Human Rights Commission powers and a better deal on intelligence. Alas, Mallon and Hume hadn’t the stomach for one last fight. 50/50 was enough for them – personally, if I’m in Ballymurphy, it makes no odds to me whether I’m getting pushed around by Campbell College Boys or St Malachy’s boys. I’m guessing the Attwood set reckoned they could isolate SF on this issue. And they did. But at significant (and unforgivable) cost to the policing deal we could have had.

    The SDLP knew the Shinners couldn’t accept the deal being offered on policing, and that’s a major reason why they took it. They didn’t bother with any significant consultation on it. They just went ahead and did it, knowing it would freeze out the Shinners. And for that, they deserve the electoral hammering they took.

    Irish republicanism is replete with examples of people taking arms against the State. That’s because the injustices of the State led people to believe violence was necessary. There are few Gandhis in Irish politics. If you erect past involvement in violence as an bar to your vote, then you’re saying that FF, FG, Labour would also be beyond the pale. Personally, I voted for the SDLP for a long time. But I deny support to nationalist parties who do nothing but pay lip-service to nationalist goals.

    “I actually DO regard SF voters and supporters as less worthy Irishmen.”

    Well doesn’t that just say a whole lot more about you than it does about them.

  • Working Claa Taig

    SF have got nothing additional on policing and on that we can agree. The “practical operational constraints” on MI5 you speak of arise out of a verifiable and public accountability. This was to be threw the PO but was surrendered at St Andrew’s.

    There is certain arrogance in thinking that maybe Irish Government and the Catholic Church had got it wrong on policing. It’s sounds like a classic case of “we know better!” It is an attitude we have become accustomed to with SF.

    It is simply ridiculous to suggest that the nationalist consensus was broken by anyone other the Provos/SF and the armed struggle. Knee-capping, torturing, intimidation, Gerry McCabe, the Disappeared are all examples of what make SF and the Provos treasonous to the cause they claim to support. When then SDLP took their seats on the Policing Board, Nationalists got a glimpse of what a normal society could offer them. SF adopted an untenable position and hung around like a dead weight around the neck of the Nationalist community. Far from being the “Uncle Toms”, the SDLP were there to argue for their community. I wonder what predictable and stereotypical title you would give to those Irishmen who took it on themselves to arbitrarily kill their fellow countrymen, women and children? All the British Government wanted was the opportunity to out-flank the Nationalist community and SF gave them just that opportunity.

    If it wasn’t so serious, your suggest that SF could have got “a better deal on localised policing, a better deal on plastic bullets, a better deal on collusion, a better deal on remaining human rights abusers in uniform, a better deal on Human Rights Commission powers and a better deal on intelligence.” would be laughable! How were they going to do this? Sniping at the sidelines? Whining? Negotiating? Face it, SF has been caught with it its trousers down on the issue of policing and it is very embaressing for them.

    “..the injustices of the State led people to believe violence was necessary..”

    This is the usual feeble and pathetic excuse the Provos told us justified the murder of innocent men, women and children; their fellow countrymen! It was the mentality that blew up Omagh and all the other bombs that killed indiscriminately. That is why to link this way of thinking with “Irish Republicanism” is an utter abhorrence and complete bastardization of the language. It is an insult to “Irish Republicanism”.

    “If you erect past involvement in violence as an bar to your vote, then you’re saying that FF, FG, Labour …”
    Wrong. Times and circumstance are crucial when assessing whether or not National interest was best served. To repeat, “Irish Republicanism” was only ever going to be hindered by the treasonous Provos and SF. I stand my comment when I said “I actually DO regard SF voters and supporters as less worthy Irishmen.” And yes, I agree, it says a lot about me and the type Irish Republic I strive to belong to.

    So middle-class taig, go get your spade, look for the Disappeared and when they’re found we can discuss other fellow countrymen who are dead in their graves because of your brand of “Irish Republicanism”; in the mean time, I’ll stick with mine!

  • middle-class taig

    Working Class Taig

    I’m honestly, genuinely giggling at work at your post. Seriously, my shoulders are heaving.

    “There is certain arrogance in thinking that maybe Irish Government and the Catholic Church had got it wrong on policing.”

    Of course, you think we should have genuflected, kissed the Bishop’s ring and tugged our forelocks towards the Taoiseach, thanked them for finally getting around to thinking about us, and accepted their “judgment” as gospel. Papal infallibility is hard enough to swallow, but Leinster House infallibility…?!

    Neither the Catholic Church nor the Irish Government exercised any critical judgment in approving the PSNI, and it was disgraceful of them to support the plan without waiting for the response of hte nationalist community. But, delightfully, in your comment, you betray the difference between the core SF vote and the core SDLP vote. SDLP settles for what their elders-and-betters tell them they should. SF pushes for the most they can get.

    “It is simply ridiculous to suggest that the nationalist consensus was broken by anyone other the Provos/SF and the armed struggle.”

    READ MY POST AGAIN. The nationalist consensus which had been REFORMED around GFA….!!

    “When then SDLP took their seats on the Policing Board, Nationalists got a glimpse of what a normal society could offer them. SF adopted an untenable position and hung around like a dead weight around the neck of the Nationalist community.”

    The 2001 Westminster election was fought in the nationalist community on essentially one issue. Policing. Prior to that election, SDLP held about 55-60% of the nationalist vote (including mine). At that election they were overhauled by SF and fell to below 50% of the nationalist vote. Nonetheless, two months later (even after “Stalingrad”), in the teeth of the nationalist community’s rejection, they endorsed the Policing Implementation Plan. At the following election, in 2003, they dropped to about 40% of the nationalist vote. The nationalist community made clear who was right over policing. Twice! SDLP ignored it!

    “If it wasn’t so serious, your suggest[ion] that SF could have got “a better deal … .” would be laughable! How were they going to do this? ”

    READ MY POST AGAIN. In order to get the better deal, the nationalist consensus had to be retained. Alas, the SDLP bottled it!!

    “So middle-class taig, go get your spade, look for the Disappeared and when they’re found we can discuss other fellow countrymen who are dead in their graves because of your brand of “Irish Republicanism”; in the mean time, I’ll stick with mine!”

    Nice shroud-waving! Until they stopped pursuing a republican agenda, I voted SDLP.

    “Times and circumstance are crucial when assessing whether or not National interest was best served. To repeat, “Irish Republicanism” was only ever going to be hindered by the treasonous Provos and SF.”

    So, let me get this straight! Michael Collins was a hero and Bobby Sands was a traitor? Is that it, WCT? Like the rest of your post, that’s beneath contempt.

  • Working Class Taig

    Middle Class Taig

    I read your last post and it’s my stomach that is heaving. I suspect you are a SF troll and have never voted SDLP; no doubt others will judge fr themselves.

    Your talk about kissing people’s ring and having a tug, well…., what you do in you’re the privacy of your own home is your personal business.

    You admit to be arrogant though your complaint seems to be one of being submissive. Either way, it represents a closed mentality with which little, if any debate, is possible. It is the same mentality that put innocent people in their graves. Speaking of which, do you know where any of the Disappeared are?

    My previous comment still stands… It IS simply ridiculous to suggest that the nationalist consensus was broken by anyone other the Provos/SF and the armed struggle. To start quoting election figures as being a reflection of a public endorsement is the yet more hypocrisy from SF. (Nothing new there I know!) The treasonous SF refused to condemn the Provos as they killed their fellow countrymen. For over thirty years people told the Provos to end the armed struggle but did they listen? We all know the answer to that one.

    What are we left with from your post? Arrogance, hypocrisy and a group of treasonous Irish! Thank God the SDLP doesn’t represent the view that can turn a blind eye to the treasonous actions of SF and the Provos. It is that view which is beneath contempt.

    Once again, middle-class taig, go get your spade, look for the Disappeared and when they’re found we can discuss other fellow countrymen who are dead in their graves because of your brand of “Irish Republicanism”; in the mean time, I’ll stick with mine!

    Of course, we shouldn’t mention the Disappeared should we? Don’t mention the disappeared! I mentioned them once but I think I got away with it!

  • BeardyBoy

    When the SDLP joined the policing boards they undermined the nationalist position and to be fair to SF they were holed below the waterline on policing because of it.

    So I would urge those, like me, who are annoyed with SF not to reward the SDLP as they precipitated SF fall in some respects.

    A plague on both there houses.

    Give me an alternative someone please

  • PBB

    “So I would urge those, like me, who are annoyed with SF not to reward the SDLP as they precipitated SF fall in some respects.”

    BB, the Nationalist position was undermined by SF’s untenable position towards policing. The SDLP was ahead of the game in that respect and gave the Nationalists a truly viable alternative. It is yet another stance adopted by SF. It’s just a shame it has taken so long.

    I would urge those who are annoyed with SF to support the SDLP and reward them for the foresight with a vote in the forth-coming elections.