So what is a Republican party?

El Mat has been told by some of his fellow writers that the SDLP cannot be defined as a Republican party because that is not the way it is perceived by others. That is, as he points out, an almost impossible point to prove one way or the other. So, he asks, what makes one party a Republican when they say they are, and another, which makes precisely the same claim, not?

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