And Irish Labour came too

The Sunday Indo is predicting that the Irish Labour Party will decide to contest elections in Northern Ireland (and give SDLP members unhappy with a Fianna Fail link-up a home), Fianna Fail is claiming victory over SF in the campus recruitment battle and apparently Fine Gael has been here for years:
“We have had a presence up North for a long time and we have a strong presence in the universities. Fianna Fail have made a lot of noise about organising up North, but they are not as organised as they seem.”

  • slug

    Are we finally seeing the end of that broad coalition – the SDLP.

  • CTN

    Could be slug and all of this uncertainty about their future won’t play too good for them if there is a November election.

    FG played around with the idea of renaming themselves FG- “the united Ireland party”- lets see if they do that and organise for elections up north.

    Stoops like Brid Rogers, Vincent Currie and their entourages will link with FG so its really up to Enda to decide when it will all take place.

    Interesting times ahead….

  • An Lochlannach

    Fine Gael have a strong presence in Northern Universities? They’ve kept that well hidden.

  • qubol

    An Lochlannach: “Fine Gael have a strong presence in Northern Universities?”

    yeah, queens and jordanstown are full of FG sleeper cells ready to jump into action as soon as Enda gives the green light.

  • nineteensixtyseven
  • IJP

    80 new members?

    I suspect he really means 80 people who expressed a vague interest.

    Getting them active is another matter altogether. Been there, done that!

  • The original post (thanking Fair Deal for the link) is one of the better bits of political news of late. Labour moving north has been on the cards since 2001, and is a given to head off the likes of Kate Hoey.

    However, the Sindo piece is highly speculative, uses a lot of subjunctives, and is based on a possible debate at the Wexford conference in November (and if the ball goes pear-shaped between now and then, watch how swiftly Eamon Gilmore smuggles that one back into the ruck, and out of sight).

    And meanwhile, notice the posters Labour are issuing in their new Youth campaign, featuring James Connolly – so any bets on East Belfast as the first bridgehead?

  • “I suspect he really means 80 people who expressed a vague interest.

    Getting them active is another matter altogether. Been there, done that!”

    Exactly IJP, let’s wait a month or two to see how active those 80 interested parties.

    I would be surprsied if they get more than 8 active members from that 80.

  • Cuchulainn

    80 people means,

    people who signed up to get free stuff!!, i suspct the number of interested people will sharply fall, same goes for all political parties!

    i was at the Queens freshers, and St Marys, were SF and SDLP were out in force, conor murphy going to st marys, Mark Durkan and Patsy McGlone both in st marys.

    from the reports i got, there was a large sign up to both parties, the SDLP pulling extremly well in both universitys! SF doing the same as last year, FF didnt turn up at st marys.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´However, the Sindo piece is highly speculative, uses a lot of subjunctives…´´

    Linguistic query here – how can you use a lot of subjunctives in an article in English, which practically abolished the subjunctive centuries ago, apart, possibly, from the phrase ´´If I were you´´?

  • Greenflag

    Never mind what they say -just watch what they do . Nice diversion for Bertie and yer man Gilmore will have no more luck in NI than he’s had in ROI .

    What passes for politics in the 70% public sector dependent NI is now just a yawn for the vast majority in the Republic .

    Greenflag 🙂

  • Thant Zin

    I am one of the regular readers.
    But this is my first comment, and
    sorry for distrubing by posting this comment
    which subject is not direcly concerned to your post.
    Just asking Help. HELP!!
    “OUR CUNNING MILITARY Government is killing his people and
    showing fake evidence by using armed force and saying skyful of lies to UN and World.
    Pls help in revealing the truth as you can.
    PLEASE KINDLY HELP BURMA, MYANMAR!
    http://agamsgecko.blogspot.com/
    http://soneseayar.blogspot.com/
    http://niknayman.blogspot.com (pls check CBox Eng Version)
    http://burmanews.cbox.ws/
    Regards,

  • Darren Mac an Phríora

    YFG have a committee in NI. I emailed Enda Kenny a couple of weeks ago (before the story about FF broke) about setting up a committee for the older members. He said he would make a decision on it later.

  • me

    The more southern parties that form in NI the better. Plenty of choice for the electorate and all with a unity agenda. FF has the best chance of providing a UI as they already have a huge base in the south, and would be warmly welcomed by nationalists and republicans alike in my opinion.

    Bring it on Bertie indeed!

  • foreign correspondent @ 02:08 PM:

    how can you use a lot of subjunctives in an article in English, which practically abolished the subjunctive centuries ago?

    Well, one way is to go to the best University in sight, TCD somehow comes instantly to mind, and study Classics. That way, the rest of one’s life is spent wondering how Cicero would have said it. And that’s without bothering about Gully Stanford and the Greek optative mood.

    Another way is to adopt a wider definition: The subjunctive is a set of forms of a verb which express states that do not exist. The subtleties of English allow that to be explicit without a separate conjugation.

    A third possibility is one could be faced with trying to express in shorthand a complex opinion, while confined by the modest scope of the comments box on a typical page like the one before us.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´Another way is to adopt a wider definition: The subjunctive is a set of forms of a verb which express states that do not exist. The subtleties of English allow that to be explicit without a separate conjugation´´

    Hmm, can I have some actual examples, please. I am genuinely curious as a linguist, and as an ex-TEFL teacher.

  • foreign correspondent @ 05:54 PM:

    Exemplars? How about these four for starters?:
    I wish I had a straight answer.
    HW Fowler may have been better on form than on content.
    If it weren’t so abstruse, I might enjoy pursuing this topic further.
    I suggest that you refer to http://www.ceafinney.com/subjunctive/excerpts.html.

  • merrie

    Ha, a neat little diversion from the topic into grammar! Out of curiosity, how is Irish with subjunctives? Is it used very often? I don’t know Irish very well – ancient Irish a little bit, modern Irish even less.

    With regard to some reports by the Indo, especially on NI, the politest thing one could say is that they were based on speculation (ie pure fiction), though this report does not seem as bad as others I have read.

  • merrie

    Fair Deal:

    What is your opinion on these moves by southern parties into your patch?

  • JD

    “YFG have a committee in NI. I emailed Enda Kenny a couple of weeks ago (before the story about FF broke) about setting up a committee for the older members. He said he would make a decision on it later. ”

    Darren you’ve been hawking that one around on your lonesome for a long time now!

    The most recent “Questions & Answers” on RTE had Eamonn O’Cuiv (FF – DeVs Grandson) and Brian Hayes (FG)on the panel. Brian Hayes outlined the FG position on FF in NI (he would be briefed before the show by the FG press office) as dangerous. He (Fine Gael) reacted to the Fianna Fail move in the exact same way as Reg Empey did>

    Darren – stop misrepresenting your party did you ever discuss this with Brian Hayes? He was FG spokeman for NI and probably the next FG party leader. The following are quotes from various addresses he made to UUP meetings:

    “I wasn’t surprised that it was the Ulster Unionist Party who would invite a Fine Gael politician to an event such as this. Despite public perception, there are many similarities between both our parties”

    or

    “The Ulster Unionist party can be rightly proud of its contribution to resolving the problems that exist here in Northern Ireland. This party has taken risks at a time when others chose to play party politics. It was the Ulster Unionist Party that led the way in forming the Executive after the Good Friday Agreement “

    or

    “The Agreement was all about resolving the Irish question for good, not just for the next twenty years. It is not a staging post to a united Ireland “

    If you want to find these quotes they’re on the FG website. Fine Gael would have a pluralist outlook like the Alliance. That’s probably what the unnamed FG shource meant – the Alliance Party.

    Darren you should have more respect for your party’s traditions and policies – perhaps you should join Fianna Fail where you belong?

  • willowfield

    Seems Southern Labour, like Fianna Fáil, are betraying the spirit of the GFA by intervening in internal NI affairs.

  • Briso

    Posted by IJP on Sep 30, 2007 @ 01:00 PM
    80 new members?

    I suspect he really means 80 people who expressed a vague interest.

    Aaaah, the wrong sort of members.

    Getting them active is another matter altogether. Been there, done that!

    With 80 new members? Aye right.

  • The Alliance has successfully recruited 80 active members at Queen’s in the past? I would be surprised if the party as a whole has 80 members in total, active or otherwise! 😉

  • Any southerners in FF’s new recruits I wonder?

  • paddyd

    “Seems Southern Labour, like Fianna Fáil, are betraying the spirit of the GFA by intervening in internal NI affairs.”

    Nonsense – this isn’t a big deal.

    When the Labour Party merged with Democratic Left Labour had to set up a structure to accommodate Democratic Left’s Northern Ireland members. The Labour Forum was a product of this.

    As for the present situation:

    “Whilst at present the Labour Party only contests elections in the Republic of Ireland, the Northern Ireland Labour Forum is in all other aspects a branch of the Party and members participate fully in campaigning and debate. The NI Labour Forum is also seeking a formal structural relationship with the British Labour Party”

    This is not trying head off Kate Hoey or anything of the sort. As an internationalist movement Labour can realise both the North/South and East/West aspects of the Good Friday agreement.

    Like much of what’s published in the Sindo much of the article was made up.

    Labour was an all-Ireland Party until the SDLP was set up (established in 1912 Labour pre-dated partition). Now with the SDLP linking up with Fianna Fail it is necessary for the Irish Labour Party to resume its role in Northern Ireland.

    Irish Labour had a Westminster MP in the 1940s and 50s (Jack Beattie – West Belfast). How may I ask it Labour running for local government elections a breach of the GFA when in the era before the SDLP existed they run in elections?

    Hardly a decisive break, rather a return to a tradition that dates back to 1912 now the SDLP is joining with Fianna Fail.

  • Red

    Paddy you said things such as “now with the Sdlp
    linking up with FF”.

    Don’t presume anything. No one has said that.

    Labour shouldn’t allow it’s self to be directed by what FF decides to do. There is a Labour Party in NI called the Sdlp. It is better to join it and strengthen it rather than trying to start from scratch. If people are encouraged to join a new or returning Labour party it will leave the Sdlp to the wolves and make it even harder to challenge this northern Fianna Fail party. Labour minded people should join the Sdlp and strengthen it as a party.

  • An Lochlannach

    QBOL – you may not have understood my message. it’s called IRONY.

    An Lochlannach: “Fine Gael have a strong presence in Northern Universities?”

    yeah, queens and jordanstown are full of FG sleeper cells ready to jump into action as soon as Enda gives the green light.

    Posted by qubol on Sep 30, 2007 @ 12:24 PM

  • sammaguire

    Seems Southern Labour, like Fianna Fáil, are betraying the spirit of the GFA by intervening in internal NI affairs.

    Posted by willowfield on Sep 30, 2007 @ 08:06 PM

    They are only intervening if they receive votes from the people. That’s how democracy works.

  • An anorak writes:

    paddyd @ 11:13 PM:

    There ought to be a Mastermind specialist round on which and when any leading Belfast Leftie was in a particular political group.

    If I’ve got it right, Jack Beatty was elected as a NILP MP in the 1943 by-election, then promptly resigned from NILP. In 1945 he was the Federation of Labour (Ireland), but took the (British) Labour Whip at Westminster. He was out of Parliament in the 1950 Parliament, and returned in 1951 as “Irish Labour Party”.

    Let’s not forget Harry Diamond, who was elected to Stormont in 1945 as “Socialist Republican Party” for the Falls constituency. When that organisation (oh, come on, be generous!) joined the Irish Labour Party, our Harry stayed true, and described himself as “Republican Labour”.

    Meanwhile Gerry Fitt was elected to Stormont in 1962 as “Irish Labour”. Then, in 1964, Fitt and Diamond were the Republican Labour Party, which is the allegiance Fitt wore when he won the Belfast West seat in 1966. He was also a supporter of Bernadette Devlin in 1969, but she, of course was a “Unity” candidate and MP (sorry: I had a serious seizure there, imagining Bernie “unifying” almost anything).

    Does anyone feel strong enough to trace the progression (let alone any hint of principled ideology) of HC Midgeley from the United Front of Belfast (a Communist Party front) in 1933 into NILP (and opposing a United Front with the CPI) by 1935, and then setting up his own “Commonwealth Labour Party” and so becoming one of Brooke’s Ministers by 1943, until he finally achieved being a Unionist?

    Oh, and a last and totally-trivial point: surely it was not until 1913 that the British Labour Party approved a separate structure in Ireland? And, as far as I know, the British Party is still restrained by a Conference decision (yeah, yeah… but we used to take these things seriously) from organising in any part of Ireland.

    So, if anyone was thinking that consistency and loyalty to Party mattered ….

  • The Dubliner

    I wonder how much an observer should read into the apparent hostility of northerners to the idea of southern political parties expressing an interest in organising in the north? Is it just the party activists on Slugger protecting their turf and putting party interests before the dynamics of a unity agenda, or is it evidence of an emerging post-nationalist, pro-partition mentality wherein they’re taking the “shared future” to its logical conclusion and becoming either separatists or unionists? I’d like to know how much support there is for unity among ‘nationalists’ if unity means the south annexing the north and that’s it, folks? If it is under 50%, I think FF and the rest of the southern parties should stay in the south and drop the whole unity agenda, treating the north as a separate state. A poll would be the perfect way of letting us all know in the south if we’re being taken for a ride or not.

  • kensei

    “I wonder how much an observer should read into the apparent hostility of northerners to the idea of southern political parties expressing an interest in organising in the north?”

    Both SF and the SDLP have welcomed it, for different reasons. Individuals here might be more negative if they feel their particular party is under threat.

    It really is simple as that. I suspect it’s not us from a different planet, with weird different ideas, Dubliner, rather just maybe you.

  • sammaguire

    Paddy you said things such as “now with the Sdlp
    linking up with FF”.

    Don’t presume anything. No one has said that.

    Posted by Red on Sep 30, 2007 @ 11:22 PM

    As an FFer I’m inclined to agree. The SDLP seems to be a watery dated party. If you don’t want the kiss of life that’s your problem. While I disagree with the Shinners on many things they, unlike the stoops, don’t lack passion and conviction (no pun intended!). Am confident FF will be the biggest nationalist party in the north within 10 years.

  • beardyboy

    Well done FF – this move does – as willowfield points out – undermine the GFA. If Labour follow suit all the better. In any case the SDLP are finished and I cannot see why anyone would want to merge with them. The best thing is kill them quickly to lessen the pain.

  • Thant Zin
    SDLP Assembly woman Carmel Hanna has tabled a motion about Burma for consideration of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

  • Red:

    ‘Labour minded people should join the SDLP and strengthen it as a party’

    Oh yeah? 2 points: (i) This is the party in which senior and influential people have made it very clear that they welcome closer links with Fianna Fail and even possibly a merger. Last time I looked, FF was not a member of the Socialist International or the PES (ii) the SDLP is a nationalist party, which they are of course entitled to be, but what if I’m a socialist and not a nationalist? I wouldn’t expect to be made welcome, and I think I;d find it hard to get the credibility to ‘strengthen it as a party’ in those circumstances.

    Democratic socialists need another vehicle in NI.

  • fair_deal

    merrie

    “What is your opinion on these moves by southern parties into your patch?”

    1. It’s a free country and any democratic party who wishes to organise can do so.
    2. The safeguards in the Assembly and cross-border bodies should mean it doesn’t cause any particular Strand 1 issues.
    3. Short-medium term it would probably causes more issues on the nationalist side of the fence than for Unionism. The outcome of those battles will determine whether it creates Unionism any problems in the medium-long term.

  • paddyd

    “‘Labour minded people should join the SDLP and strengthen it as a party’

    Oh yeah? 2 points: (i) This is the party in which senior and influential people have made it very clear that they welcome closer links with Fianna Fail and even possibly a merger. Last time I looked, FF was not a member of the Socialist International or the PES”

    I agree with Jenny.

    Alisdair McDonnell made it quite clear on Radio Ulster (the link is on this site) that he hoped Fianna Fail could re-orgaise the SDLP. Mark Durkan welcomed Fianna Fail’s announcement.

    Admittedly no merger has been negotiated yet, but why would any Labour person touch these people with a ten foot barge pole?

  • There is a Labour Party in NI called the Sdlp

    I hear they are looking for new stand-ups at The Empire. You should apply.

    Alisdair McDonnell made it quite clear on Radio Ulster (the link is on this site) that he hoped Fianna Fail could re-orgaise the SDLP.

    And that’s why this is doomed to failure; a few Dublin consultants won’t re-energise what we once called constitutional Nationalism in the North; and Fianna Fáil coming north will have to inherit the SDLP’s moribund organisation. Of course, that’s another reason for SF-supporters to be so enthusiastic about what is allegedly a serious rival.

    how can you use a lot of subjunctives in an article in English, which practically abolished the subjunctive centuries ago?

    If I were you, I shouldn’t make an assumption like that.

  • Daz

    “Both SF and the SDLP have welcomed it, for different reasons. Individuals here might be more negative if they feel their particular party is under threat.”

    This Unionist is pleased – three way split in the Nationalist vote?

  • Briso

    Posted by Sammy Morse on Oct 01, 2007 @ 01:36 PM
    If I were you, I shouldn’t make an assumption like that.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t use “shouldn’t” there. Shouldn’t you use “wouldn’t”?

  • The young greens have started organising in the North at the request of Students of QUB.

    the society is off to a roaring start with a lot of members having signed up.

    pity was, most students were asking “what’s a green party”

    here’s hoping they can keep themselves going.
    http://www.bebo.com/QUBgreens

    we were under the impression that political societies were not allowed organise in University Ulster. looks like we were wrong. we will be running a fresher campaign in as many places as local interest will allow.

  • qubol

    An Lochlannach: “QBOL – you may not have understood my message. it’s called IRONY.

    errr, Yeah I know….

    it’s probably a good idea to read before you type 😉

  • merrie

    >> If I were you, I wouldn’t use “shouldn’t” there. Shouldn’t you use “wouldn’t”?

    Briso: AFAIK “I shouldn’t” is grammatically correct, meaning “it is a good idea not to make such assumptions”

  • Stephen-

    “we were under the impression that political societies were not allowed organise in University Ulster. looks like we were wrong. we will be running a fresher campaign in as many places as local interest will allow.”

    That was indeed the case, and problems remain. However, SDLP Youth has been fighting the university authorities to end this ban on free speech:

    http://www.sdlpyouth.com/gallery/v/uni/P1010059.JPG.html

    As a result, they were able to run a stand at Jordanstown this year.

    I’m sure they’ll be happy for you to follow where they led 😉

  • Shouldn’t you use “wouldn’t”?

    I shouldn’t think so.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “Alisdair McDonnell made it quite clear on Radio Ulster (the link is on this site) that he hoped Fianna Fail could re-orgaise the SDLP. Mark Durkan welcomed Fianna Fail’s announcement.”

    Alisdair McDonnell is one man in a party of thousands. The SDLP is a democratic party and issues like this will be decided at Conference, not by the leadership. Mark Durkan may have welcomed the announcement but it does not necessarily mean he favours a merger with FF, a corrupt populist party that happens to win elections for some reason.

  • sammaguire

    So the SDLP have a “Conference” rather than an Ard Fheis. And send MPs to Westminster to swear allegience to the British Monarch. Maybe they should merge with that other watery middle class party Alliance and let FF (a party that actually gets things done) and SF fight it out for the republican vote.