Malachi O’Doherty reckons the big mistake made by the SDLP in this campaign is it’s lack of focus on the weak spots of its own rivals. Indeed he reckons that their campaign managers should try to catch Tim Lone’s new play starting at the Lyric on polling night.
Erecting a sign pointing to MI5 in Hollywood was a totally pointless exercise. Why pitch for the vote of the kind of nationalist who frets about securocrats? If the SDLP can scare some away from voting for Sinn Féin, they will not persuade them to vote for themselves instead. They will send them off to vote for dissident Republicans or to abstain. That kind of nationalist doesn’t trust the SDLP to be tougher in its criticism of the police than Sinn Féin.
You have to concede that killing hundreds of RUC members over the years constitutes a credible record of opposition.
The other mistake the SDLP makes is in constantly attacking the DUP. Do they seriously think that any DUP voter is going to be so enlightened by one of Mark Durkan’s aphorisms that he or she will switch to the SDLP? It isn’t going to happen. The enemy is Sinn Féin and if Sinn Féin is canvassing on the promise of United Ireland, then the SDLP should confidently swing the other way, trusting that its support base doesn’t really want it. At least not now.
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