Annoyed of South Belfast

Beano reckons the DUP are trying to blackmail him – and he isn’t happy.

  • SCW

    Well, surprise surprise, the last quarter of the content reads “Any unionist votes which are cast for minor unionist parties or political mavericks will be votes, which could diretly help Sinn Fein increase its number of ministers in any Executive and increase the chances of Martin McGuinness becoming First Minister.”

    LETS NOT FORGET A SINN FEIN FIRST MINISTER BECAME A POOSIBILOTY BECAUSE OF WHAT THE DUP NEGOTIATED AT ST. ANDREWS.

    the Belfast Agreement was set that the largest DESIGNATION became First Minister, but the DUP in the wisdom (sic) decided, for cheap electoral purposes, to change this to the lergest PARTY in the Assembly.

    Shame DUP shame!!

  • SCW

    very rushed typing – plz forgive above errors

  • The Devil

    “I think the DUP have just secured a position near the bottom of my vote. If they’re lucky they’ll be just above the SDLP and Sinn Fein.”

    WOW… you have the shinners that high up beano, why i’m shocked and stunned!!!

  • Agreed, that’s depressing. But the DUP have been a great big bag of depressing for a long time now, I can’t remember when they were anything else. A veneer of caveated respectability was enough to ensure that, notwithstanding their status as the largest party in the North, they would receive some acknowledgement from politicians in London and Dublin, but we are coming increasingly to a sense that the DUP, as many have suspected, don’t have and never did have it in their hearts to do what needs to be done.

    Never, never, never. It is exactly this socialised, atavistic intransigence that caused all of the problems to begin with.

  • fair_deal

    I must admit this stuff really gets on my goat too. It is lazy assed thinking.

    The DUP camapign has succeeded in keeping the party on what is a nuanced message. The need for nuance has meant the DUP has had to go for a mix of positive and negative. However, this type of stuff shows the urge to go negative remains strongest.

    Also I get a sense that there wasn’t a great deal of planning or preparation in the DUP’s campaign, a campaign by the numbers. The lack of challenge and competition from the UUP may be encouraging complacency and a lack of robustness. None of which will address the longer-term task of Unionism, better maximising its vote.

    Although people always go on about how scare tactics work there is a precedent of them failing for a large Unionist party. Pop into Belfast Central Library and read the ever shriller Unionist Party advertising during the 1925 election. It failed them with the loss of a fifth of their seats in that election to Independents Unionists, NILP and Tenants Association candidates.

    I don’t think that will be the scenario in this election but it should make people more sparing and thoughful about the use of such tactics.

  • Bob Wilson

    The truth is of course that while the ‘Big Four’ talk about ‘normal politics’ – they are the biggest obstacle to it.
    They talk about issues like water charges but fundamentally their electoral appeal is based on one ‘side’ of the community or the other.
    For them the avenue to electoral success to maximise their vote over ‘themuns’
    Vote Conservative, Vote Green, Vote Workers Party Vote Alliance but do not vote for DUP/UUP/SDLP or SF or you feed the problem

  • Michael Shilliday

    So can i vote Conservative with a medical card but need photo ID for the others?

  • interested

    Beano – surely we have links so you dont have to re-post the story as the first comment.

    Tricky, but I’m sure you’ll get the hang of them one day.

  • What’s the deal with the first comment here? I appreciate the link and quotes are fine, but I’d prefer not to have the whole post ripped off.

    Before I received all this stuff I was actualy going to have a go at the UU’s for the lazy leaflet I got from them yesterday, but a second more detailed one arrived today with the rest.

    SCW I’m not sure how that works. I posted myself a few weeks back exactly that – the DUP negotiated the largest party thing, but when you go and read the St Andrews Agreement Act it says:

    “The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.”

    There’s something similar in the agreement. It seems the Irish Independent and my own original post was incorrect in this, unless I’m now mistaken.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Beano,

    I am going off topic here but I noticed your site was entitled Everything Ulster, yet you have used a picture of Northern Ireland along with the title.

    Was this an intended slight against Donegal, Monaghan and Cavan ? Or should your site be renamed Everything Northen Ireland ?

  • Interested: I didn’t post the first comment.

    Strangelove: You’re not only going off topic but nitpicking. Nice. Anyway, the issue has been dealt with in the past in response to other smartarses. Why Ulster?

  • Ziznivy

    “I refuse, on principle, to be bullied into voting for anyone so I think the DUP have just secured a position near the bottom of my vote. If they’re lucky they’ll be just above the SDLP and Sinn Fein.”

    Unfortunately an awful lot more people will be bullied into voting for them. That this scare tactic was the DUP’s intention has been evident ever since the party as against designation change was made.

    They won’t be getting a vote on my paper, no matter how low. I’ll vote for my preferred unionist candidates, others, the SDLP and the DUP / SF / the loonier tune independents will will be left off entirely.

  • It also seems to be spelled out fairly unambiguously at: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/en2006/2006en53.htm

    “Under the new section 16A, the First Minister is nominated by the largest party within the largest political designation (see new section 16A(4)); the deputy First Minister is nominated by the largest party within the next largest designation (see section 16A(5)). “

    My apologies for taking the II’s story at face value, however I’m still hacked off at the way the DUP are playing this.

    Am I missing something though? The wording of the DUP basically says that voting for “minor unionist parties” increases Sinn Fein’s chance of getting FM – if the procedures haven’t changed then this is a blatant lie, is it not?

  • Taking Dr. Strangelove’s bait and wandering off down that particular rabbit hole, mixed metaphors in tow, I was looking for other references to Ulster along the 6/9 split. And lo and behold – Love Ulster has disappeared! Can anyone account for the disappearance of http://www.loveulster.com, which is noted by the Wikipedia as its official home?

    Incidentally, the http://www.lovebigotry.com parody has also disappeared.

  • SuperSoupy

    Beano,

    Read section 16C. Ask if you need clarification.

  • It seems it slipped by sans comment when our heads were turned

  • Paul P

    Can someone please clear this up.

    Is the First Minister from the largest party or from the largest party within the largest designation?

  • SuperSoupy

    Do you people never fact check anything? Read the legislation. Section 16A-C of the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill 2006/07- gives all the answers.

    Even Beano stopped on section 16A. Like reading a thriller getting halfway through and stating you know the ending.

    The largest party always gets to take FM. Not that it matters because FM and DFM are exactly the same.

  • Crataegus

    The DUP remind me of the sad individuals who go about with bill boards on their back, handing out leaflets and proclaiming the end is nigh, but you can be saved. Suppose with so many evangelical candidates it is hardly surprising. Perhaps an outlook that they are probably predisposed to? Elsewhere sensible people ignore and try to avoid such people, but sadly here in NI we vote for them. What does that say about us?

  • SuperSoupy

    If anyone asks ‘what if there is a tie?’ I swear to God I’ll scream.

  • Paul P

    Does the StAA not state that the FM comes from the largest party in the largest political designation?

    Therefore McGuiness only gets to be FM if SF are largest party and there are more nationalists than unionists.

  • Michael Shilliday

    That’s not true, this is a change. Before it was any two assebly members proposed and secnded from the floor who were spoorted in a cross cumminity vote.

  • Michael Shilliday

    The StAA means jack, the legislation is what will be used.

  • George

    Paul P,

    “Is the First Minister from the largest party or from the largest party within the largest designation?”

    From Aaron on another thread,

    “any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(4) or 16B(4) [for First Minister – Aaron] shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party”

    Search for “not the largest” in the legislation to see it.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts2006/60053–c.htm

  • Paul P

    I refer to the explanatory notes to Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006

    54. Under the new section 16A, the First Minister is nominated by the largest party within the largest political designation (see new section 16A(4)); the deputy First Minister is nominated by the largest party within the next largest designation (see section 16A(5)). (“Designation” is the term used to refer to the group of MLAs who have designated themselves as “Nationalist” or “Unionist” or “Other” – see new section 16C.)

  • SuperSoupy

    *screams*

    Read the legislation.

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/60053–c.htm#8

    (6) If at any time the party which is the largest political party of the largest political designation is not the largest political party-

    (a) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(4) or 16B(4) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party; and
    (b) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(5) or 16B(5) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation.

  • SuperSoupy

    16A(4) & 16B(4) – refer to FM

    16A(5) & 16B(5) – refer to DFM

  • Paul P

    That’s that cleared up then! lol

  • All right, but apart from the sanitation, the medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?

  • SuperSoupy

    To finish it off, if there is a tie it goes to 1st preferences to judge the largest party and thus the FM position.

    If anyone asks ‘what if there is a tie on 1st preferences?’ this PC could very well end up being thrown out the winow.

  • First Minister

    The First Minister comes from the largest party.

    Its in the St Andrews Agreement Act – different from what the Government called “The St Andrews Agreement”.

  • I made a gaffe earlier this when I claimed that the DUP had abstained when David Trimble supported by Lord Glentoran (I think) moved an amendment that would have prevented the situation outlined accurately by SuperSoupy at 4.49 from ever happening. That wasn’t so. However, this does not explain why the DUP did not make this whole issue a deal-breaker earlier. Perhaps it weas because the DUP realised the situation could be turned to its own advantage now and also in the future. Writing before Christmas in the Tele, Bob McCartney predicted that the DUP would use the threat of First Minister McGuinness to bully unionists into supporting it in these elections. But there are enormous risks, if, say, unionism is splintered in future elections. Then we might reflect that the DUP has walked unionism into yet another a huge trap.

  • SuperSoupy

    Watchman,

    It’s only an issue if you get hung up on prefixes or the lack of them over actual roles and their complete equality. A red herring debate that revolves around the name of the role rather than anything concrete.

    Being FM rather than DFM doesn’t even get you guaranteed first handshake. Can’t see the point of this rabbit trail but it seems Unionists will be sniffing down it for some time to come.

  • Michael Shilliday
  • SuperSoupy

    As there is absolutely no difference in the power or responsibility attached to either First or Deputy First Minister role maybe Unionism would be happier if the Unionist candidate was allowed to wear a large gold hat?

  • Dr Strangelove

    I can see the situation clearly, Ian in the FM’s office with a huge Union Jack behind him and the place festooned with pictures of the Windsor’s.

    While in Martin’s office there will be the tricolour, a framed copy of the Proclamation, photos of Bobby etc.

    Any visiting delegation will think they have crossed the border moving between the two.. regardless of how many counties some people think Ulster has.

  • Soupy thanks for that.

  • Will

    I don’t like the sound of the DUP bullyboy tactics…

    I want NEED the Assembly back up and running and it’s pretty clear that it ain’t going to happen with the DUP/SF team.

    My vote is going to go to an “Other”. There will be high preferences for Sir Reg and the SDLP but few others I’m afraid.

  • Beano-

    “LETS NOT FORGET A SINN FEIN FIRST MINISTER BECAME A POOSIBILOTY BECAUSE OF WHAT THE DUP NEGOTIATED AT ST. ANDREWS…

    Shame DUP shame!!”

    but then

    “I refuse, on principle, to be bullied into voting for anyone so I think the DUP have just secured a position near the bottom of my vote. If they’re lucky they’ll be just above the SDLP and Sinn Fein”

    So despite the fact that the DUP are trying to bully people, despite the fact that a Sinn Féin “FIRST MINISTER BECAME A POOSIBILOTY BECAUSE OF WHAT THE DUP NEGOTIATED AT ST. ANDREWS”, despite the fact that the DUP ought to be in “shame”, and despite the fact that they had to get rid of their spendthrifty incumbent MLA and run two new candidates, you’d still vote for them ahead of a party with a proven track record on the ground in the constituency and whose MLAs have helped people from all social and religious backgrounds (as evidenced by a simple visit to their offices which will reveal the presence of constituents looking help from areas such as Sandy Row and Donegall Pass) simply because that party happens to be nationalist.

    You can’t complain when you get rubbish representation from parties like the DUP when you give them preference ahead of parties like the SDLP simply because Paisley’s party happens to designate itself as ‘unionist’. Even the UUP has stopped telling its voters to transfer to the DUP.

  • El Mat, I know you’re very precious about your SDLP but the fact is that their policies tend not to agre with my own. It’s not helped by the fact that I’ve written to Dr McDonnell twice and received no reply, but the party stance on grammar schools, apathy over the stadium, for example, and the fact that they still seem to be trying to out-green Sinn Fein (and have gone back to refusing to ever utter the words “Northern Ireland”) shows where their priorities lie.

    The fact is the SDLP are still a “sectarian” party.

    Oh and the first quote there wasn’t something I said.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Well said Beano, although I’d much rather see a UUP/SDLP led government in Northern Ireland I too could never vote for the SDLP. They have betrayed the traditions that formed the party and are now just another republican and sectarian party, not unlike sinn fein.

  • SuperSoupy

    Interesting comments from some Unionists.

    Can you explain why you see the SDLP as another ‘sectarian’ party but don’t feel the UUP is ‘sectarian’?

    Thanks.

  • BP1078

    El Mat
    Not entirely relevant to this thread, but I think it’s worth mentioning that I also emailed Dr McDonnell (my MP) and Alban McGuinness twice regarding the stadium issue. To date no reply.

    Fair play to Carmel Hanna,however, very prompt and detailed question.

  • Bp1078

    Fair play to Carmel Hanna,however, very prompt and detailed question

    Should read “prompt and detailed reply to my question”

  • Beano-

    “trying to out-green Sinn Fein”

    What does that mean? Do you mean ‘being nationalist’? Wow- imagine that. At least they do so in a constructive way, unlike the DUP who don’t really have any ideas either way. Again, you can’t complain about the idiocy of the DUP in power if you fail to vote for progressive parties, regardless of the colour of their manifestos.

  • BP1078

    You’re missing the point here El Mat.
    The Assembly Election is not a border poll.

    There’s a helluva lot of unionists (deliberate small “u”) ou there who wouldn’t dream of voting for the dinosaurs of the DUP and have been mightily pissed off with Reg since he jumped in bed with the UVF’s politicos. Concentrate on the bread and butter issues and you’ll grab a few *ross-community* votes.

    I know for a fact, if I vote for the SDLP, at this election, I won’t wake up to a United Ireland on the 8th of March. So, get McDonnell and Co moving out of their sectarian comfort zones and answering my friggin emails and you’ve maybe got a chance of getting my No1.

  • El Mat. The only parties less progressive than the SDLP will appear beneath them in my vote. But in essence, yes, they’re more interested in appearing to be better nationalists than Sinn Fein than they are in real politics. I was under the impression the SDLP was formed out of the civil rights movement to strive for equality, not unification with the Republic. Maybe I’m wrong though, I’m no expert.

    I find it ridiculous that you’re trying to suggest the content of the manifestos doesn’t matter at all. As I said above, the 11+, the stadium, the scope of the Irish Language Act and North-Southery for the sake of it. There are a lot of reasons I have not to vote for them. Whether you agree with them or not is not the issue here.

    Soupy, by the same definition as I used above to describe the SDLP, the Ulster Unionists are a sectarian party. When I say that I don’t mean they’re anti-Catholic, or that the SDLP are anti-Protestant, just that they’re sole primary goal is the union/unification and they basically exist to continue the sectarian headcount.

  • BP- that’s exactly the point- it’s not a border poll. Which makes it incongruous for people to complain about the negativity and lack of ideas from a party such as the DUP, but then go ahead and give them a higher preference that the SDLP as if it were a border poll.

    My point is that people shouldn’t be surprised that the SDLP is a nationalist party, but should look beyond that to which party will deliver on bread-and-butter issues.

  • Beano-

    “for the sake of it”

    Really? Do you not think that maybe they believe it’s a good idea?

  • SuperSoupy

    I had a discusion off-line with a regular on this site about how unionists wouldn’t buy the SDLP PEB after many months of them trying to ‘out green’ SF.

    Seems I may be right.

    The sudden shift in focus seemed transfer orientated to me. I thought they left it too late.

  • BP1078

    Soupy Soup,
    PEB?

  • Doreen

    The DUP is going to be sorry for this mess. It has lost the plot completely and is panicking. Where, for instance, is the brain, Peter Robinson? He put out a quick quiet message to one of the news programmes last night to the effect that every Unionist must come out and vote DUP.

    Well, as an erstwhile DUP voter I will be joining others on this thread. I will not be blackmailed or bullied, and I will not be voting regular Unionist at all. If Bob McCartney has a candidate in East Belfast, I will vote for him first. Therafter will come Alliance, the Tories, the Greens and Dawn Purvis, not necessarily in that order. I am impressed by Alliance at this time, and new faces would be so very welcome.

  • Not just that Soupy, but calling for a border poll the week before the election was buck stupid.

  • SuperSoupy

    BP,

    PEB – Party Electoral Broadcast

    The SDLP going ‘soft-focus’ after months of trying to be extra-green.

  • Doreen – there is no Bob or anti-Agreement candidate in either East or West Belfast. West Belfast I can understand; East Belfast is bizarre unless Bob is repaying Peter Robinson for favours rendered back in the 1990s.

  • SuperSoupy

    Sammy,

    I know. I’ve been laughing at it.

    Destroy your PEB by an entirely new message, the old message just before the message before….weak

    Which message?

  • SuperSoupy

    I think the Attwoods have tried to replace the consultants. Ruined another campaign. SF couldn’t pay enough for them.

  • GavBelfast

    Proof if there ever was that the DUP needs a strong Sinn Fein bogey-man (to feed-off).

    If the SDLP looked like eclipsing Sinn Fein, what would the DUP do then?

    How long can the DUP keep people sufficiently panicked?

    (It has to be said, though, that the logic of voting UKUP first and then Alliance, as Doreen indicates she would do, is a slightly dotty strategy, is it not?)

  • Inspector Clouseau

    Doreen says she’ll vote for PUP but not the UUP. Strange conisdering that the UUP and PUP wanted to officially be political bedfellows?

  • PaddyReilly

    I was under the impression the SDLP was formed out of the civil rights movement to strive for equality

    In this you are right.

    …not unification with the Republic. Maybe I’m wrong though, I’m no expert.

    It is difficult to see how you can have equality when one party has the right to create and maintain borders, and another doesn’t. The existence of Northern Ireland is an affront to the principle of equality, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. If there were some compromise whereby NI could be separate, but within a United Ireland, maybe that would suit.

  • GavBelfast

    “The existence of Northern Ireland is an affront to the principle of equality, as enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights and the Human Rights Act.”

    How do you work that out? Because of the way the state came about? There is no reason why it has to be an “affront” or unfair to anyone in future, whatever its status – part of UK, part of an Ireland state, jointly-governed, independent, UN protectorate or whatever!!!

    Durkan was on TV the other night and said he did NOT regard Northern Ireland as a failed political entity!

  • By the way I should emphasise, I said if the DUP are lucky they’ll be above the SDLP. I haven’t actually decided yet.

    One other thing though, El Mat, you’re assuming I trust the SDLP to deliver on “bread and butter issues” and I’m not really sure I do, particularly the issues I’ve outlined.

  • PaddyReilly

    ARTICLE 14
    The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination.

    PROTOCOL 3
    The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.

    If one party has the right to draw and maintain borders, and the other has not, then rights and freedoms have not been secured without discrimination.

    If this discrimination determines the outcome of the election, then we do not have free elections, ensuring the free expression of the people.

  • Is this a joke?

  • Aaron McDaid

    There are still some unionists who think that the definition of ‘sectarian’ is ‘having a major policy position on a constitutional matter’.

    Face the facts, even if a candidate ran on a single issue, that issue being for a United-Ireland or Integrationist-UK or Independent-NI or whatever, it is NOT sectarian. Sectarian is killing people or discriminating in employment on the grounds of religion or race or merely political opinion, or something like that.

    Am I sectarian for being against further EU integration – just because it’s an opinion on a constitutional matter?

    SuperSoupy: “The SDLP going ‘soft-focus’ after months of trying to be extra-green.

    ‘soft-focus’ is entirely consistent with strongly held nationalism or republicanism (or unionism of course).

  • GavBelfast

    Paddy,

    Sorry to be blunt, but that really is a nonsensical position to take!

  • challenger

    Enlighten a poorly educated country boy here! The Irish Language Act was topic of conversation at a match I attended today. Some argued that it is enshrined in the St Andrews Agreement and will be introduced by the government in the Commons. Others (DUP stalwarts) argued that it was mean’t to be an Assembly issue post devolution and that they would be throwing it out! One of their number even suggested that it had already been ‘dealt with’ and is now toast. I’m inclined to go for the first argument but can’t be sure so though I’d ask the audience. Any views?

  • Observer

    Maybe it’ll give Unionists a reason to vote.

    Many don’t bother anyway as they are just lazy, and many to be fair pissed off with everything that has gone on in recent years. Even though the status quo is in their favour and the Union is secure they should still vote as this then plays in the favour of Nationalist propaganda.

  • challenger it’s in there. The only remaining question is how far it will go. Ie will government departments be forced to spend vast sums of money translating everything they produce into Gaelic, or will they be simply encouraged to do what they can, within their remit, to facilitate its use. The act itself is a done deal though, and will not be “thrown out” as this woud require either a weighted majority or cross-community vote (i’m not sure which, but it doesn’t really matter).

    Aaron the parties you describe attract (and, for the most part, target) votes almost exclusively from one or other of the sects, so I believe they can be fairly described as sectarian.

  • Aaron McDaid

    beano: “attract (and, for the most part, target) votes almost exclusively from one or other of the sects, so I believe they can be fairly described as sectarian.

    It’s not true to say the SDLP is sectarian just because not many protestants vote for them no.1 at the moment. If we’re going to be that simplistic, we may as well say those protestants are sectarian for not voting SDLP! The same could be said for any combination of party and religion of course. Voters will vote for the party that represents their opinions and nobody should be ashamed for putting constitutional matters at the top of the agenda. Therefore, nationalists vote for nationalist parties and unionists vote for unionist parties. Just as socialists vote for socialists, conservatives vote for conservatives and so on. And there’s nothing necessarily sectarian about parties and voters in this. Also, parties anywhere in the world will canvass/target areas and voters where there is a reasonable chance of picking up or saving a vote.

    You can’t call anyone sectarian unless you can show they will by action or inaction allow discrimination in jobs or housing or life/death on the grounds of religion or race or similar.

    You’d think NI would have learned by now that ‘sectarian’ is a serious accusation which should only be levelled with some evidence.

  • As I have already said, I wasn’t using the definition of sectarianism that implies some kind of discrimination.

    Sectarian; adjective;
    “of or relating to or characteristic of a sect or sects;”

    If you will be a pedant…

  • Aaron McDaid

    beano,
    If you’re going to use that definition of sectarianism, you still must show how the SDLP (or any party for that matter) are any more ‘relating to or characteristic of a sect’ than say the Labour party or the Alliance Party.

    The fact that SDLP voters who are religious are more likely to be Catholic than Protestant nowadays doesn’t prove the SDLP are a ‘relating to or characteristic of a sect’. The Alliance party voter is probably slightly more likely to be Protestant than the average NI citizen, just as the UK Labour party voters are more likely to be Catholic (if I remember correctly). If the Green party turned out to be all Buddhist for example they wouldn’t be a sect (unless of course they had religiously discriminatory policies).

    The membership of all 4 largest NI parties aren’t all as religiously homogenous as you think.

    Unless you are explicitly redefining ‘sectarian’ to be so overly broad as to contain absolutely no negative connotations whatsoever?

    I’ve suggested before and I’ll suggest again that we should have a thread on Slugger to discuss what ‘sectarian’ means. If SF and SDLP grows their membership and is religiously 50/50 and campaigns for a United Ireland, are they still sectarian? Same for say the UUP and campaigning for the Union? If the answer is no, then it follows you can’t say they are sectarian today.

  • Percival

    beano

    you are wrong about the Irish Language Act. Itis a matter to be determined byt the NI Assembly and I have no doubt the DUP will block it, if we get devolution up and running. Also I think DCAL is in hot water regarding the procedures they used in the consultation exercise – no EIA etc.

  • BP1078

    If you’re going to use that definition of sectarianism, you still must show how the SDLP (or any party for that matter) are any more ‘relating to or characteristic of a sect’ than say the Labour party or the Alliance Party

    Aaron,

    Within a NI context, the SDLP has a stronger emphasis on the constitutional status of the province than say Alliance, the Greens or the various socialist candidates.

    And when a N.Irish party defines itself primarily on “nationalist” (ie either for the Union or for a United Ireland)as opposed to the normal conservative/liberal/socialist faultlines, which exist almost everywhere else in Europe, then it is pitching its message fairly and squarely at one of the two communities in NI.

    My understanding of the term “sectarian” is that it isn’t solely related to the religious criteria you limit it to, “sect” can be used in a wider context relating to national and cultural identity. The SDLP and SF tailor their policies to appeal to those of an Irish identity, the UUP and DUP to those who see themselves as British-all four are really only interested in garnering enough votes from their own particular section of society.

  • lib2016

    Why are we playing with words in order to deny the obvious truth that all the main political parties in NI suffer from religious sectarianism? Some like the SDLP and Sinn Fein make an attempt, not always successful, to move on from that position and others like the two main unionist parties glory in it to the extent of having clergymen in leading positions.

    This silly cant fools nobody and discredits the people who go in for it.

  • Aaron McDaid

    I agree that ‘sectarian’ isn’t limited exclusively to religion. But that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s such a general term as to mean that constitutional opinions are automatically ‘sectarian’. Are the SNP and Conservative parties sectarian because they have differing opinions on the Union?

    For a entirely hypothetical example, I might run some day on a single issue ticket for a United Ireland. I can gaurantee that nobody could find a shred of evidence for any religious, racial, political or cultural discrimination or ‘sectarianism’ on my part, for any overly broad and realistic definition of ‘sectarian’. [I’m reluctant to bring myself into this, but it’s quite tedious when people argue against stereotypical bogey men instead of discuss things with each other. If you want to argue with Gerry Adams go to his constituency office, leave me out of it!]

    Strong opinions on the constitution are entirely compatible with 100% respect for the rights of everybody here to full political, religious, cultural expression and so on. We’re only really disagreeing about whether to be run by a secular liberal democracy based in London or one based in Dublin (or Athlone).

    If you want to argue amongst yourselves about which individuals in NI are or are not sectarian, then have fun. But the parameters of debate could change very quickly, and when (not if) the correlation between religion and politics breaks down even more, some ideologies could find themselves dead.

    lib2016,
    We shouldn’t discuss which of the 4 main parties, if any, are sectarian. We’re already off topic as it is, and I’d prefer to kill off the idea that one is necessarily sectarian simply for having a strongly held position on the constitutional status of NI.

  • willowfield

    PERCIVAL

    you are wrong about the Irish Language Act. Itis a matter to be determined byt the NI Assembly and I have no doubt the DUP will block it, if we get devolution up and running. Also I think DCAL is in hot water regarding the procedures they used in the consultation exercise – no EIA etc.

    If there is no devolution, the Irish Language Bill will proceed through Parliament. With a handful of MPs, the DUP will be unable to stop it.

    As for the consultation exercise – why would there be an environmental impact assessment on a language bill?

  • spellingbee

    EIA = Equality Impact Assessment

  • willowfield

    An equality impact assessment was done, Percival/spellingbee. The consultation ends soon. Check out the DCAL web site.