Reconsiderations and fears

SDLP Deputy Leader Alasdair McDonnell says the SDLP will move to firmer ties with Fianna Fail and thinks they will reconsider running for Westminster seats. Meanwhile, a SF councillor has offered an explanation for the timing of the FF decision, it was fear of the Army:

Mr McIvor said Fianna Fail had only been set up in the Republic in the 1920s after the British army left.
“Now, surprise, surprise. Once the British army has left the streets of the six counties, here comes Fianna Fail to first organise and then in a few years, fight elections when they are sure there are no British soldiers about,”

  • pith

    Should the SDLP and FF get married, would the former have to give up its association with the British Labour Party and with the European Socialist Party?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Uncanny political insight from Mr.McIvor there.
    With that sort of brilliant tactical analysis, FF are wasting their time even crossing the border.

  • Harry Flashman

    *Mr McIvor said Fianna Fail had only been set up in the Republic in the 1920s after the British army left.*

    Did McIvor really say “the Republic in the 1920’s”? If so he needs to attend a Sinn Fein re-education camp pronto, as a) the Republic didn’t come into existence until 1949 and b) even then SF didn’t accept it as the legitimate “Irish Republic” as evinced by the 1916 Proclamation.

    Come to that I’m not even sure whether even today Sinn Fein yet accept the 26 County state as the legitimate Irish Republic, can anyone help me out?

  • George

    Harry,
    Come to that I’m not even sure whether even today Sinn Fein yet accept the 26 County state as the legitimate Irish Republic, can anyone help me out?

    Sinn Féin have said they recognise Dáil Éireann but I very much doubt that they recognise it as the legitimate parliament of the “Irish Republic”.

    As for McIvor’s comments, he musn’t have heard of the Irish Civil War.

    More interesting is Durkan’s belief that he thinks FF will reconsider the Westminster position.

    He said that “if there’s an opportunity there and a representational job to be done, they will avail of it”.

    I would love to hear him outline the opportunities and representational jobs that can’t be achieved via direct talks with the government through the British-Irish Council and through Stormont etc.

  • Cuchulainn

    Mr McIvor almost sounds as if Sinn Fein are taking credit for getting rid of the british army!

    last time i checked, the army was still here, and was it not the IRAs campigan tha kept them here?

    anyway, i think if these links between the FF and SDLP become more closer, ull find that the SDLP will just become the northern Wing of the FF, the join into one, if and when the country becomes one.

    Durkan will still be in charge, still do things thier own way, just with a more visable presence from FF, just enough to show the voters there voting for SDLP/FF allience, and then the shinners will really start to slip downt he pecking order,

    i dont think the likes of Adams, Gerry Kelly,Maskey acutally realise how fickle thier vote is! less than 10 years ago it was the SDLPs vote, how many of them will again turn when they see bertie up with SDLP canditiates?

  • CTN

    Problem for McIvor is that from when it was started up FF contained some of the IRA’s most acclaimed fighters.

  • Dawkins

    Cuchulainn,

    “last time i checked, the army was still here, and was it not the IRAs campigan tha kept them here?”

    Isn’t it so that every section of the UK has an army barracks or two?

  • em>Isn’t it so that every section of the UK has an army barracks or two?

    Yep, every section of the UK, although I somehow don’t think it’s the British Army Fianna Fail canvessers will need to be frightened if their party starts to nick too many “SF” votes.

  • Red

    Alister McDonnell has no authority to make statements like that. He must have forgot that he is vice leader of a socialist party. Saying he wants to form closer ties with a party with a track record of being the opposite of socialist (no NHS, private hospitals, in the pockets of property developers) is a direct breach of the Sdlp’s principals. If he wants to join Fianna Fail then that is his business, but he has no right saying that the rest of his party and it’s supporters will join it.

  • Wolfe Tone

    McDonnell is the reason I joined FF two years ago. Does he really think FF, The Republican Party will ever want to go to Westminster! FF will go with what its membership wants and I and other northern members of FF don’t want anything to do with Westminster. We can achieve what we need with London via our government in Dublin. McDonnell ought to join British Labour and Unionist Party proper and let the republicans within the SDLP join FF. Many already have which is spookily why FF are now moving northwards. Unionists can attend their parliament and we in FF can attend the elected assemblies on this island!

  • George

    Oops, my post should read McDonnell and not Durkan.

  • me

    I agree the votes are fickle and that the time is right to present the electorate with a new choice. When FF come, which I believe they will, I’ll give them a vote. It really is time for change, and new challenges.

  • WindsorRocker

    Surely real socialism died in the SDLP when Fitt and Devlin left?
    Was it not they that insisted in the “Labour” bit in the name and people like Hume were happy enough to form a reincarnation of the old Irish Nationalist Party?

    I thought they were basically Green Tories now? Perfect for Fianna Fail? John Hume really would be happy.

  • Red

    There is a large percentage of the parties membership that see themselves as socialists regardless of others who act like Fianna Failers. The Sdlp is the Labour party in Northern Ireland and is the party that people with that political outlook have joined along with plenty of other who have no political outlook and would be happy to join Fianna Fail. As I said there are plenty of people that McDonnell doesnt speak for when he makes statements like this. He has no authority and only speaks for himself. The Sdlp is an international socialist party.

  • CTN

    Red & Wolfe- Whats the story with McDonnell if this merger goes ahead, do you think he would resign, stand as an abstensionist or risk handing his seat to the DUP by running as an Independent?

    How long do you guys think it will take to set up FF for elections and is it possible for them to reverse the Westminister position of now?

  • I think this was a classic Ahern move. Do the bare minimum to keep the ‘organise in the North’ lobby happy and let events take their course.

    Whilst today’s comments are interesting the real issue is how an SDLP conference would respond to a proposal from FF. More on http://www.oconallstreet.com .

  • hib

    I don’t think the SDLP will formally join FF it will probably vote on a merger and most of its members will then amalgamte with FF- most of whose current members up north are ex stoops.

    FG and Irish Labour will probably cross the border too and subsume the rest of those former stoops aligned to them and we will have the nationalist community voting for all parties available down south with the probable exception of the ailing PD’s.

  • Red

    McDonnell would jump in bed with Fianna Fail with no problem- thats what he said. He just wants to make sure he is still aloud to go to Westminister. Part of the problem for the socialist wing is that they do not know what Irish Labours plans are; some of thier member’s have said they want to run in Northern Ireland against the Sdlp, which isnt doing them any favors if theyre wanting to attract annoyed Sdlp members to join them. They should do the same sort of thing that Fianna Fail are doing; the Fianna Failers in the Sdlp will go towards them, and the socialists will go towards an all Ireland Labour party. However Fianna Fail has the upper hand as it is well organized whereas Irish Labour is not; for allot of members of the Sdlp it’s a question of dropping principals and doing well electorally (join with Fianna Fail) or stick to principals and not do very well in elections (join with Labour). The Irish Labour needs to be decisive either way and offer a viable alternative to Fianna Fail in Northern Ireland for Sdlp members.

  • Cuchulainn

    i also see that Mr McIvor is failing to see that FF were the smae members of FF that helped get rid of the British in 21! r maybe he sees that as more of an FG thing!

    Red,

    I dont think that the SDLP forging closer links with FF puts thier socialist principles at any risk, they can continue to have thier own way in the north, they may just support FF more so than they do now.

    yes there is a large section of the party who lean towards labour, but i dare suggest not the same number than would lean towards FF. how do u know we wont lose them members anyway, if FF decided to go alone!

  • Red

    To Cuchullain: of course a merger with Fianna Fail would put the Sdlps socialist principals at risk; Fianna Fail is not a socialist party so merging with it will definately dilute the Sdlps socialist principals. Your kidding yourself if you think a northern wing of Fianna Fail which has Sdlp members in it will be able to continue as a socialist party.

  • Harry

    I find the reaction of the DUP to this news to be one of the most interesting aspects of this. They are remarkably muted, almost uninterested, to the point of saying ‘whatever…’ like a bored teenager. One would have thought they’d be up in arms at the thought of the governing party of the irish republic seeking to extend its mandate north of the border into their territory. Why are they so muted?

    Obviously they feel Fianna Fáil don’t constitute a threat to them or their traditional viewpoint. Why would they think this?

    I have had the impression over the last decade that much of the deal regarding n. ireland was agreed 10 years ago and the rest has just been the outworking of this – the so-called ‘top-down’ management of the process. It would appear that all parties involved have also already agreed, in secret, what the purpose and timetable of Fianna Fáil’s movement north will be and so Paisley, Donaldson, Campbell et al far from screaming for ‘clarification’ about this move are happy to let it proceed without much to say about it.

    There may be a number of reasons for this. Firstly they may have been informed that it was just a load of tactical waffle designed to achieve some sort of outcome favourable to both the dublin establishment and northern unionists.
    Alternatively it may be part of an agreed programme for taking control of the situation by the two governments which sees southern influence increasing in the north but only as part of an arranged plan whereby the ‘british isles’ as a political entity comes back to the fore – Home Rule in other words, cast in the language of ‘mutual interests’ and ‘cultural closeness’. The massive anglicisation and anglo-americanisation of Irish society which has taken place under Ahern’s leadership would appear to support this view and may be the reason why unionists are prepared to go along with a much more brit-friendly counter-revolutionary Fianna Fáil.

    I have wondered if the Love Ulster march in Dublin – which was eventually bussed from Parnell Square to the front of the Dáil where a paramilitary tattoo was allowed to take place but which was not reported in the media – was not in fact a demand and a test imposed by unionism on the southern government to prove their credentials prior to agreement. The point being to see if they were prepared to transgress the shibboleths and taboos of irish republicanism by allowing a full orange march to pass the GPO and parade in military fashion before the Dáil. Donaldson was one of the leaders of that march and gave an address outside the Dáil.

    It’s interesting to note that the photo which the BBC have used to accompany the story about Alasdair McDonnell and the SDLP is a photo of Ahern in the British House of Commons with Blair beside him. The message would appear to be – ‘roll on Home Rule, all taboos to be abandoned’.

  • CTN

    Thanx for the reply Red- agreed I I don’t think Labour will do as good as FF but may buck that trend in the odd constituency if they have been joined by a personable and hard working SDLP candidate.

    All of this will be seen in a different light however if FG announce they too will be moving up- SDLP members will then look at their options accordingly..

  • Red

    Another problem in the mix for Sdlp members is the issue of d’hondt. Do they split into a Sdlp/Fianna Fail party and a Sdlp/ Labour party, both doing well overall, but end up with no place in the executive as they would officially be two different partys? Like I said earlier, this is a problem for socialist members- merge with Fianna Fail and create a strong but unsocialist party, or stick to principals? People like McDonnell arent helping this as they are forcing people into an ultimatum which could lead to a major split or force people to abandon thier beliefs; by saying that the merger with Fianna Fail is the natural progression, they are ignoring the underlying principals of the party and not offering the members a say; for all he knows allot of the party may not want to touch Fianna Fail with a bargepole.

  • the south

    red, what about the theory of the SDLP being an umbrella party? some would suggest the SDLP are now done with what they set out to do, and they should let other partys get on with the rest,

    let FF come north, let the sdlp members join iot, the same for the others labour and FG,

    it will happen sooner or later!, how many of of the sdlp party membership cares about thire socialist views, and just are thier because they dont agree with the SF leadership and history?

  • just a thought

    If the left-wing of the SDLP dont want to merge into Fianna Fail…

    And if the left-wing of the UUP dont want to merge into the Tories…

    Isn’t there space for an imaginative move like refounding the old Northern Ireland Labour Party – which could have close fraternal ties to both the UK and Irish Labour Parties?

    People often forget the success of the old NILP, even overtaking the Nationalist party in the 60s.

  • fair_deal

    Harry

    “One would have thought they’d be up in arms at the thought of the governing party of the irish republic seeking to extend its mandate north of the border into their territory. Why are they so muted?”

    1. It’s a free country people can organise and vote for whichever democratic party they wish.
    2. The issue of a party sitting in government either side of the border has, in the DUP’s minds, been defused with the strengthening of the ministerial and cross-border vetoes makes it a non-issue. It doesn’t really matter if it is SF or FF. If they did jump up and down they would be open to the charge that the safeguards are no good.
    3. In the short-medium term it causes more disruption within nationalism than problems for unionism.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    “One would have thought they’d be up in arms at the thought of the governing party of the irish republic seeking to extend its mandate north of the border into their territory. Why are they so muted?”

    As a Unionist I don’t have any problem with this move at all. With the southern electorate delivering a justified kicking to SF, this FF move gives the northern electorate the chance to do the same. SF have spectacularly failed to deliver on any of their promises to their Republican constituents, and the SDLP look at best a spent force.
    The move by FF, regardless of their future relationship with the SDLP, gives nationalist voters a real choice, while simultaneously fracturing the Nationalist vote. IF FG & Irish Labour decide to join the fun, things can only get better.
    Also how could the DUP not welcome the entry of FF to Westminster?

  • Cuchulainn

    Harry,

    simple fact is, the DUP dont care if FF come up north because it may open up to a 3 way nationalist split! something that would really workin thier favour!

    and thye also have to plot the fall of theis new unionist group beforte they worry about FF

  • George

    Cuchulainn,

    It could also be looked as being a simple case of nationalist politics normalising towards the standard democratic model of the island while unionist politics remains huddled under the umbrella of a single party, afraid to venture out.

  • PaddyReilly

    In the short-medium term it causes more disruption within nationalism than problems for unionism.

    You hope. For the life of me I cannot see FF competing with 2 existing Nationalist parties and ending up looking like SF did in the Republic’s elections. This is not the modus operandi of cute hoors. FF do not want to risk the addition of 6 more counties in which they have only minimal representation. There will be a merger or there will be nothing.

    The Socialist claims of the SDLP are laughable. Why then do they represent the better off element of the Catholic population? They will realign in Europe with the Christian Democrats.

    Alliance will eventually, post-unification, merge with Fine Gael. Greens are already all-Ireland. That means SF has to marry Labour, and indeed they already have allied themselves in the Seanad.

  • Stewart

    FF/SDLP will probably learn from SF’s mistakes in not recognising the reality of two seperate electorates either side of the border. It was SF’s failure to do this lead to their debacle this year.

    Perhaps there will be two Fianna Fails – one called “Fianna Fail – The Republican Party” (Bertie Ahern leader) and up north “Fianna Fail – the Social Democratic Party” (Mark Durkan leader). That way the ex-SDLP can stay with the Social Democrats in Europe (avoiding defections to Labour) and keep attending Westminister. The two Fianna Fails could have an all Ireland strategic alliance under one brand.

    The SDLP want to have their cake and eat it – Fianna Fail do appear to be trying to give them the space to do this.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    The left wing of the SDLP won’t take very well to a merger with FF (neither will the Fine Gaelers for that matter!) but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. It is merely a proposal to organise up north in the first place and the media are leading the speculation about mergers and alliances and all sorts of things. Let us just listen to what both FF and the SDLP say before jumping to conclusions.

  • pith

    Paddy Reilly, I don’t see how the SDLP would realign itself with the Christian Democrats. Fine Gael are there already and could easily exercise a veto. Fianna Fail’s European allies are a long way from the credible associates the SDLP gave itself through its international socialist affiliations.

  • PaddyReilly

    Pith, you are probably right. I don’t know much about EU alignments.

  • stewart

    “Paddy Reilly, I don’t see how the SDLP would realign itself with the Christian Democrats. Fine Gael are there already and could easily exercise a veto. Fianna Fail’s European allies are a long way from the credible associates the SDLP gave itself through its international socialist affiliations.”

    You’re right – Fianna Fail is pragmatic. They’ll form an all Ireland alliance that can work around this. Fianna Fail – The Republican Party” (Bertie Ahern leader) and up north “Fianna Fail – the Social Democratic Party” (Mark Durkan leader). That way the ex-SDLP can stay with the Social Democrats in Europe (avoiding defections to Labour) and keep attending Westminister.

    The two Fianna Fails could have an all Ireland strategic alliance under one brand. Fianna Fail would relish the idea of having its foot in two different European poltical camps.

  • pith

    Paddy Reilly, that’s the best way to be.

    EU alignments outside the very broad mainstreams of the Christian Democrats and the Socialists tend to be made for no other reason than to maximise available finances. FF’s allies in the EU are not very attractive – the Northern League, for example.

  • Bretagne

    “Whats the story with McDonnell if this merger goes ahead, do you think he would resign”

    CTN – apologies for barging in ….but UTV text carried a report earlier today quoting McDonnell as welcoming closer times between the two. I cannot find it on u.tv

    Now that I’ve started…

    I think we can be pretty relaxed about FF contesting Westminister elections. What Dernot Ahern said was that FF would not be going to Westminster. Thats a different issue from not contesting elections..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6998543.stm

    SO I would expect a near full election performance.
    We can postulate about what a good performance would look like by May 2009, but I would venture a
    return of 2 seats, a strong performance in South Belfast, and halfing the majorities of Conor Murphy and Pat Doherty, and taking 3k+ votes from Martin McGuinness would be a very good outcome.

    Now in terms of not going to Westminster – I think the blockage is moving on that anyway. The Oath was offered to be set aside for SF at any rate. So I see FF coming up the perfect fudge…- attend Westminster only for issues affecting N Ireland, and otherwise exempt themselves in terms of conflict of interest/West Lothian or other pretext That way they would be on hand to partially cancel out the DUP, if needed

    The only minor surprise is the Dermot Ahern acknowledged that he sees Westminster as not being a destination for FF. I don’t believe it is true – but is gets the programme running now with less furore, and of course it is something that the SDLP arm can persuade them on downstream…

  • Bretagne

    tea time puzzler..

    How long before Billy Leonard tries to join FF?

  • Cuchulainn

    George,

    i wouldnt be so critical of the unionist partys, to eb honest there is less difference between UU and the DUP than there is SF and the SDLP.

    they dont have to be scared and they have one aim, keeping N,Ireland in the Union, thats all they will care about.

    it will be around the next westminister election that we will see the FF helping a lot more with SDLP vote, key areas like south down, South Belfast, and looking to hurt them in areas such as Mid-Ulster, West-Tyrone,

    would i be happy to let them help out yes, but im afriad i no to little about the southern parties to pin my alligence on any, i see the merger as FF coming up to finish a very much wounded SF, and to rule the castle, be that with a SDLP flag, or an puppet SDLP party

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Whatever about the British Army it unlikley that FF would have organised in the North whilst the troubles were going on as they would have been an obvious target for loyalist paramilitaries.
    The shooting of FF politicians would of course have have quite rightly roundly condemned but one cannot help but come to the conclusion that there would have been a dramatic reduction in corruption in the Republic if they had taken out the recent crop of leaders – Haughey, Ahern, Lalwlor, Burke et al.

  • ronan

    In opposition to McIvor’s theses, FF, in their election policy document, claim they actually got rid of the british army – see below from http://www.thenextsteps.ie/peace

    (just gives you some idea of the battles and competing narratives ahead within nationalism)

    “Demilitarisation

    Fianna Fáil in Government campaigned tirelessly for a demilitarisation and security normalisation programme from the British. In the 2003 Joint Declaration we secured such a programme and agreement to independent monitoring of that Programme through the IMC. As a result, today British troop numbers stand at their lowest level since the start of the Troubles and all watchtowers have been removed.”

  • ciaran

    Bretagne , I cant speak for the Pat doherty or martin McGuinness results but I think your halving of conor murphys vote in 09 is pie in the sky. There is no viable alternative to murphy here and no blow in from ff is going to take his vote in so short a time frame. It might happen in the long term but not sooner.

  • sammaguire

    FF have always been a party of the left contrary to what the majority of posters seem to believe. Centre left not loony irresponsible left.

    It’s easy to have your left wing ideals in parties such as the SDLP and SF who have never been in Government. Proinnsias de Rossa (DL) admitted when he entered Government that there was a hell of alot more to it than he expected. He was responsible despite his loony left background. Although he did give a derisory 1.80 punts increase to the OAPs. And I suspect Gerry Adams or these staunch socialists in the SDLP I’m hearing about would make fine Ministers if they were ever given the chance in a 32 county republic.

    As a FFer I would strongly object to sending FF MPs to Westminster. I have my doubts if a merger is the smartest thing to do. The pro FFers in SDLP may jump ship en masse and I can see many moderate SFers doing likewise.

    FF is a slick political machine. You can be sure they have been doing their private opinion polls throughout the north. They will act slowly and will know exactly what they’re doing.

    I can see FF canvassers explaining the ins and outs of some of SF’s more liberal policies to conservative SF voting farming folk in the heartlands of Fermanagh and Tyrone! Cute hoors!!

    Exciting times ahead! Up the Republic! (Pearse’s of course)

  • Cuchulainn

    ciaran,

    maybe not halfing Murphys vote, but remember only a few years ago that vote was all for Mallon, as i mentioned before, fickle voters, given a different approac they could all turn back over the next 10 years,

    the SDLP failed to work hard enough in Armagh to retain that seat, as the did in foyle to keep Humes seat

  • stewart

    If you are looking for McDonnell’s comments today they’re here:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7007732.stm

    I’d be surprised if he was opposed to and SDLP-FF link as here was a member of FF when he was in college in Dublin

  • Ian

    If FF and the SDLP merged this could pave the way for the first truly all-Ireland political party.

    SF claim that mantle but they’re wrong. A truly all-Ireland party would be one that every citizen on the island of Ireland has an opportunity to vote for in elections to the national legislature(s). SF came very close this year in that they stood in all the NI Assembly constituencies and 41 of 43 constituencies in the Republic. But they didn’t offer a candidate to the voters of Limerick West (probably because of the potential for adverse publicity due to ongoing controversy re: the Garda McCabe case) or the voters of Cork North West.

    So SF don’t quite yet qualify as a truly all-Ireland party, despite their claim.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    sammaguire:

    If FF were a party of the left they wouldn’t touch the Union for Europe of the Nations with a bargepole.

  • George

    Cuchulainn
    i wouldnt be so critical of the unionist partys, to be honest there is less difference between UU and the DUP than there is SF and the SDLP.

    they dont have to be scared and they have one aim, keeping N,Ireland in the Union, thats all they will care about.

    If a single issue is all that unites unionism then we are indeed a long way from being in a position where we can say politics within the unionist community is normalising.

    Is that a strength? I don’t think so. For example, we have a situation where many a unionist happily cites surveys and anecdotal evidence showing that at least 20% of Catholics are unionist yet as we have no elected Catholic UUP or DUP MLA or MP (that I know of) what this means in reality is that we have 150,000 people without any elected representatives from their community.

    The problem being a single issue party, or in unionism’s case ideology, is that once this issue becomes of secondary importance, or at least isn’t the be all and end all, then you are open to attack from all sides.

    This 150,000, if it exists is immediately vulnerable for a start.

    Nationalist politics is normalising and unionism is not.

  • sammaguire

    sammaguire:

    If FF were a party of the left they wouldn’t touch the Union for Europe of the Nations with a bargepole.

    Posted by nineteensixtyseven on Sep 23, 2007 @ 12:41 AM

    99.99% of FFers don’t give a monkey’s about the Union for Europe of the Nations. It’s a bit like Labour and SF cooperating on the Seanad.
    The left/right thing is exaggerated to high heavens amongst the nationalist family. I can’t remember Jeffrey Donaldson getting too worked up about whether the DUP was slightly too much to the right or left or centre when he jumped ship.

  • Bretagne

    “Bretagne , I cant speak for the Pat doherty or martin McGuinness results but I think your halving of conor murphys vote in 09 is pie in the sky.”

    Ciaran – I posted about halving the majority – not the vote. Currently the majority for Conor Murphy about 8200 votes, taking that majority to 4000 ish would be a very good result for FF/SDLP – for example 18,500 votes for Murphy, 14,500 for SDLP.
    To expect a better result for FF/SDLP would be pie.

    Take your point about SDLP having to find a stronger candidate – but is not that critical to the project in the first iteration. Retaining SDLP seats, and reducing SF majorities eslewhere would be critica. FF/SDLP would have several years to place a candidate for 7+yrs time. Stopping SF’s momentum though can be partially achieved in the interim…

  • CTN

    Bret- Thanx, but red had clarfied what he thinks McDonnell would do if this supposed merger was not to his liking.

    However I think there will be more problems for this proposed development outside of McDonnell’s lust for Westminister attendance.

    sammaguire, I think you are right and not just about moderate SFers joining FF but also some of its hardliners, who may see FF as a winning party that can become a trojan horse to deliver an all Ireland infrastructure to the nationalist community now that “Adams has faltered 2 short of MacGiolla”.

    It also will be interesting to see if any of SF’s many ex members also join FF in this new context as its logical to think that hardliners would want to stop it being dominated by pushover stoops like Attwood etc.

  • freankie

    Surely FF would not be stupid enough to merge with the SDLP, they would be very unlikely to attract any support from within the republican community with McDonnell & McGrady representing them.

  • JD

    McDonnell is obviously putting out the feelers as to whether he could keep attending Westminster as a Fianna Failer. That said FF are playing a long game – just watch Dermot Ahern of “Hearts & Minds” last week – FF could use the SDLP as their strategic partner for a while until both Mc Graddy and McDonnell are out of the way until they have a situation more to their liking.

    Maybe Stewart is right – the SDLP will rebrand as “Fianna Fail – The Social Democratic Party” and allow FF have their foot in two camps.

  • CTN

    If FF deliver PPS nos (national insurance nos) to nationalists together with the registrations I mentioned earlier – Births, Deaths, Marriages and Property transfers then they will accrue support for delivering what the provies could only dream about.

    Although perfectly viable FF “The Social Democratic Pary” is a little unconvincing for one jurisdiction and not another, however it could be a forerunner to complete amalgamation and is a strong possibility.

    Its all very interesting and lets see if more SDLP members start walking in advance of an agreed party position on the matter- some like Martin Morgan already did a year or two ago.

  • CTN

    Clarification- I mentioned the above registrations on another blog.

    The said could be duplicated from Belfast to Dublin by the cute FFers with the provies lookin on in envy.

  • JD

    Although perfectly viable FF “The Social Democratic Pary” is a little unconvincing for one jurisdiction and not another

    I think any such renaming of the SDLP would be transitional to an eventual amalgamation. FF are experts at being all things to all people and that “core value” will underwrite their entry into Northern poltics and how they cox the SDLP onside.

    What should be borne in mind is that Fianna is not in a hurry to “realign” on a north-south basis – the sdlp however urgently require a new dynamic. Fianna Fail might lay the ground work in the north, but their target will be SF in the south. Much of the 2004 SF gains at the local elections are now vulnerable to a resurgent FF.

  • JD

    I forgot to add, McIvor’s complaints about FF are resimanent of SDLP spokespersons complaining about SF embracing peaceful politics and powersharing. SF should remember eaten bread is soon forgotten…

  • CTN

    JD- I agree the FF resurgence will challenge SF particularly in Dublin and also restate that the FF “Social Democratic Party” tag would probably be a forerunner to the total amalgamation if and when it takes place.

    Indeed SF would do well to remember that eaten bread metaphor- it was probably in their minds when they decided to start a recruitment drive down south- one just wonders have they left it too late…

  • latchheeco

    How is Gerry going to argue against a vote for the Irish government? Fianna fail running the south and power sharing in the north..defacto unification of nationalist areas. Apparently the cute hoors let the chucks do all the fighting then sweep in to cross the finish line..priceless; either way, apparently bertie smells something that the unionists don’t believe is there. Can a party as small as the stoops have two wings?

  • POL

    i dont think the likes of Adams, Gerry Kelly,Maskey acutally realise how fickle thier vote is! less than 10 years ago it was the SDLPs vote, how many of them will again turn when they see bertie up with SDLP canditiates?

    Yeah just like they did when McDowell was up canvassing for the stoopers.The only damage Bertie will inflict will be on the stoops.

  • Hogan from County Tyrone

    Just a thought… could anyone actually tell me the benefits the SDLP currently enjoy being members of the PES?

  • CTN

    Time for lights out here guys – toodle pip

  • Finn

    Quite agree ‘Just a thought”

    The UK Labour Party is planning to fight local elections in Northern Ireland, so is the RoI Labour Party – political parties have to register their names with the Electoral Commission, so if as I guess that UK LP has already cornered the market for the name ‘Labour’, RoI Labour has a problem. Even if both can use the name Labour imagine the confusion!

    An updated NILP seems to be the best solution, fighting elections as the Labour Party, party members required to be members of either of the other Labour parties.