Martina stands up for whom?

Today Sinn Fein is having a “cavalcade” from Londonderry to Stormont to highlight what it perceives as a disparity of funding which afflicts the North West. This cavalcade, we are promised, will contain cars and buses and will be a “colourful and noisy gathering”.The demands this “cavalcade” seems to be making include more tourists, though how exactly Stormont can force tourists to go to Londonderry is a little unclear. In addition it is demanding improved road and rail links to Londonderry. This is probably not unreasonable but it must be remembered that Ms. Anderson and her “cavalcade’s” target in this would presumably be the Department for Regional Development headed by her Sinn Fein colleague Connor Murphy. As such one wonders if she could have spoken to him. Clearly, however, that would be much less fun than a “cavalcade”.

Of course what it would also not do is heighten Ms. Anderson’s profile as much as the “cavalcade”. People have frequently laughed at Ms. Anderson with her apparently comical attempts at “unionist engagement” and her concerns about foreign Roman Catholics being “other”. I must confess I have always been sceptical of those who dismiss her as a sectarian joke; on the contrary I have always been a fan in an odd way.

I have said this before but will reiterate it: Martina Anderson is a highly intelligent woman who plays her role quite brilliantly. She articulates the grievances of a particular segment of society namely the hardline republican, economically disadvantaged, urban, predominantly young; who may be in danger of seeing Sinn Fein, now in government, as no longer being interested in their cause. Her status as an ex prisoner helps her credibility and no matter what derision the idea may attract her good looks and apparently friendliness can do her no harm. Laughable as her antics may be to the chattering classes they have an important function within Sinn Fein; they help hold onto an important segment of voters in urban areas who thus far have remained very loyal to Sinn Fein. Her high profile and vociferous support for her Foyle constituents should also not be ignored by the SDLP especially with a Westminster election not that far away. Those who dismiss this woman and her populism may live to regret it.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Just as well they didn’t fly
    There would still be the sound of whining two hours after the plane’s engines were switched off…..

    I’ll get me sash

  • hula

    a dreary day out there… and here come some dreary people from dreary city. i might turn to drink this day

  • fair_deal

    “This cavalcade, we are promised, will contain cars and buses and will be a “colourful and noisy gathering”. ”

    Did they apply to the Parades Commission for permission 😉

  • shankly’s socialism

    I completely agree with your analysis – I think maybe a first for me on slugger.

    But I have a dislike for that particluar type of pandering politics. Politicians should be taking the lead and doing so by example, not designing and or allocating personell to a particlar demographic and prostituting themselves out to the whims of that section.

    I have no problem at all with this particular cause but as has been pointed out her party colleague has the power to improve at least half of their demands and this is little more than a publicity stunt.

  • Citizen Anderson

    I’m looking forward to the release of Martina’s exercise video.

  • Let’s hope they all got through Burntollet safely.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    Shallow gesture politics. She should press her Sinn Fein colleagues to deliver a rail link and quit this cavalcade nonsense.

  • foreign correspondent

    Derry got shafted for years. Just because that makes some people uncomfortable doesn´t mean it ain´t so. Otherwise explain the apalling lack of road infrastructure in the vicinity of Northern Ireland´s biggest city.

  • foreign correspondent

    Er, or even second biggest city…

  • Hogan

    Whilst personally believing the cavalcade was stunt, some of Turgon’s remarks were unsettling.

    PSF have time and again been adept at shuffling the cards in the deck to get their aces to appear in the right constituencies come election time.

    With Mitchell the Durkan dodger safely bedded in S.Antrim time will tell what impact Anderson will have. But it seems clear that the Shinners knew they were on a hiding to nothing with Mitchell and took the option of doing something drastic?

  • lib2016

    Going by the comments on this thread it’s not just the Derry wans who like a whinge. 😉

    I agree with Turgon ( Oh, the pain! ) this is a sophisticated attempt to stay in touch with the grassroots and revive the feeling that Sinn Fein is more movement than mere political party.

    Given the success Fianna Fail has had with that strategy it would be foolish to dismiss it.

  • martina-is-a-joke

    Martina is a joke. It’s just a big publicity stunt – she is protesting about the rail and road links to the North West, when party colleague Sinn Fein minister responsible Connor Murphy has postponed road upgrades on the Belfast-Derry road and done nothing at all to improve the delays on the rail service.

    Sinn Fein Hokey Cokey Government!

    http://www.sdlpyouth.com/news_view.php?id=164

  • Dk

    “Er, or even second biggest city…”

    I thought that Lisburn had recently overtaken it?

  • Ben

    One of the very few things people in the town of all stripes agree about is its second-class treatment,just ask Willy Hay about the trans-Bann attitude toward the place. So sure, there’s politics in doing the grandstanding, but what’s wrong with that? I’m tired of Letterkenny’s leaps and bounds…. At the very least, they should do for D/L’d what they need to in order to stop airplanes from sinking on the tarmac (or is that a bad metaphor to use?) Ben

  • lib2016

    The SDLP negative campaigning when combined with their pictures of a few hoodies is very disappointing.

    Surely they should have learned something by now? At least get them to throw the hoods back for the camera.

    No – it’s not snobbishness or a wish to project an inaccurate image. It’s called professionalism.

    On the other hand a pat on the back for getting an answer up on the net so quickly. There is hope!

  • Battler

    I’m told that SF are claiming a turnout of 150 (not sure if its cars or people) for this. Either way its not too impressive is it? If the figures are right it doesn’t even look as if they managed to get the party faithful to turn out for it. Certainly not a lot of enthusiasm for the campaign evident around the town…

  • J Kelly

    It has been interesting that the SDLP and their supporters have not supported this campaign but today we had a complete Uturn from their leadership. Mark Durkan, Pat Ramsey and Mary Bradley all met the delegation and stood on the steps of Stormont alongide Martina Anderson and Raymond Mc Cartney for photographs. This campaign is resonating with many in Derry and the SDLP are begining to realise that they made a mistake by not supporting the council motion.

  • J Kelly

    It has been interesting that the SDLP and their supporters have not backed this campaign but today we had a complete Uturn from their leadership. Mark Durkan, Pat Ramsey and Mary Bradley all met the delegation and stood on the steps of Stormont alongide Martina Anderson and Raymond Mc Cartney and over 100 campaigners for photographs. This campaign is resonating with many in Derry and the SDLP are begining to realise that they made a mistake by not supporting the council motion. Turgon your advice may not be falling on deaf ears.

  • Ben

    It was rejected by Derry City councillors because it was no more than a political stunt from Sinn Fein, and the irony is that it’s their own minister that is responsible for in-action.

    If this had have been a serious campaign with support from the people of Derry, we would’ve seen thousands of people participating.

  • Outstanding in my field

    The SDLP have been caught looking in the mirror at their own reflection on this – The key thing highlighted by this camapign, whatever about it being a PR stunt, is that the SDLP TOTALLY failed the people of D/Ld over the past generation because it still has f@#k all squared.

  • Alan

    “Mark Durkan, Pat Ramsey and Mary Bradley all met the delegation and stood on the steps of Stormont alongide Martina Anderson and Raymond Mc Cartney and over 100 campaigners for photographs.”

    It’s called co-option – how to gain the benefit of someone else’s campaigns work with no effort of your own.

    Reminds me of instances in the eighties when benefits campaigns organised by unions and advice centres “became” SF campaigns by SF Councillors turning up with a photographer. Does anything ever change?

  • lib2016

    Just on a point of information I looked up the original ‘Burntollet March’. It was only 80 lefties from Queens. Obviously they could never have hoped to change anything.

  • Matt

    SF really have no shame, here is a women who is questioning why Derry was so disadvantaged for so long.

    Heres your answer: Businesses didn’t like the fact that they may have potentailly had their premises blown up.

    A woman whos asking why the roads and rail link are so bad to Derry. Answer: The gov’t where more interested in spending money on guns than roads.

    Now devolution provides the opportunity to invest in Derry and the infrastructure and its a SF minister charged with that responsibility.

    This whole thing is confusing??

    SF members blow up Derry, wonder why people won’t invest, wonder why the gov’t under invest and now SF have the ability to fix it and SF are complaining??? Wheres the logic?

  • StarHound

    Putting the sneering aside, I think that Martina Anderson has the SDLP in Derry in a bit of a panic.

    Martina Anderson seems to be doing a huge amount of constituency work across a wide range of issues. Mark Durkan seems to be struggling to keep up.

    I was recently at an event in Derry that some local politicians had been invited to. Mark Durkan charged in to get his picture taken and then left straight after but before the event started. He got his picture in the papers but it’s looking like the SDLP can’t take Derry for granted anymore.

  • ulsterfan

    The SDLP still have a great deal of credit from the Hume era.
    The people of Derry will remember his success in bringing employment and investment to the City, while voters can ask what did SF ever do to help the working classes. In spite of their self proclaimed socialism the answer is nothing.

  • joeCanuck

    Has the controversy over the name of the city finally been settled?
    Headline from the Derry Journal:

    Durkan City Council to appoint new airport manager

  • Dewi

    2 hours 15 from Derry to Belfast on the train – 2 hours 15 from London to Paris on the train – summat wrong somewhere.

  • cynic

    “I have said this before but will reiterate it: Martina Anderson is a highly intelligent woman who plays her role quite brilliantly”

    Turgon

    Problem is, it depends on what your baseline is.

    Tonight’s performance on TV wasn’t encouraging. The problems of Derry were a result of 45 years of misrule by Direct Rule Ministers. It was all the Brits fault. It was themuns denying us oor rights and nothing to do with the glorious Movement burning down / blowing up anything that was built but didnt pay the approriate levy.

    Glad to see though that she left the Unionist Goverments from 1922 to 69 out of it. Was that the Unionist outreach thing or a yearning for the good old days when the blame game was so much simpler?

    Oh, and a woman in her mid to late 40’s an an exemplar to attract the alienated republican yoof vote? Really? Is that the best they can do? No wonder Papa Docs smiling these days.

  • The Raven

    I would agree with Cynic on this one. Not likely to pull in many punters, that one. Also, with almost 14% of the population in Derry on DLA, I’m going to run with “the weather” as a more significant reason for the place being sh*t, rather than “British mis-rule, hi…”

    By the way, 30th June estimates show Lisburn’s population to be 111,521 and Derry’s to be 107,269. This is, of course, based only on Local Government Districts – and not “city boundaries” or urban wards, but I think in due course, we can lift that “second city” mantle nonsense off Derry, and push it deservedly down the ranks.

    Here’s hoping they get to go it alone under the RPA re-shuffle. It would be doing neither Limavady, nor Strabane, any favours to be lumped in with that cesspit.

    Yours, just-hating-the-place-for-no-reason-other-than-it’s-a-dump

    The Raven

  • darth rumsfeld

    Turgon me old mate, we must part ways on this one
    ( or should that be wan?)

    La Anderson showed in her “poke the Prods” position that she was anything but highly intelligent. She just about managed to simper the required platitudes ( usually commencing with “Me Da wus a Prod, hi..”) but was totally incapable of debate. An aura of smug certainty-remnant of a bomber’s dedication to her task?- makes noemal people uneasyt in her presence. She never raises her voice. She probably never blinks. The Stepford Shinner almost makes you long for the ould gombeen men like Francie Molloy, who seem th have the dregs of a personality.

    In her politics she is a personification of that strange organ “the Derry Journal”, which knows when every west bank citizen gets a cold, and can trace a connection from the sniffle direct to the Famine, as well as lambasting perfidious Albion for the state of the floors in Altnagelvin- never the fault of the cleaners, mind- they are part of the Derry diaspora, and they have votes.

    The Journal will carry detailed economic articles in the same section as the darts, and sub-Spartist leftwing agitprop on Hugo Chavez- who’s going to give Martina cheap oil apparently on the same page as the latest edict from Bishop Hegarty at a confirmation in Creggan. It has sadly diminished in quality from the 1990s when we endured a whine a page about the rozzers, but there’s still the odd unreconstructed rotten apple to cite. And like the Journal, Martina probably knows who won at the dogs in Lifford last night.

    Yes that might make her a serious electoral threat to Durkan in Foyle, but given that the people she represents would like to tear down the two bridges and block off the border at Coshquin,keeping out all the non-local people (“You lied, Martin- there is a Swansea!”), she’s no threat at national level

  • Briso

    I approach every thread about my beloved city on slugger with utter dread. The bile and broad brush spite dripping from this place about my fellow Derry people, many of whom I consider to be the finest people I know as well as my family who I love, makes me wonder why I bother. No other group gets this type of treatment without comeback. Well, I’ve had enough. I see no point in upsetting myself with this shit, especially when it starts at the top.

  • Turgon

    Darth,
    You may be right. I am just struggling to believe that she is not cynically cultivating all that populist rather bigoted stuff. Is this not just careful, skillful self promotion? Does she really believe that driving cars to Stormont matters? I guess I was sort of hoping she went home at night poured herself a G+T or a good glass of Bordeaux, listened to Holst or Fauré, read Ulysses and was thankful that she had escaped the maddening crowd. She cannot actually believe all stuff she comes out with that surely?

    In terms of Foyle I think you are correct. She may be a threat there and her populist nonsense will prevent her ever being a leader of SF; I doubt she will be a minister. I just think she is happy to play the role she has been given. I was regarding her as a cynical clever bigot playing a part not as someone who really was as daft as she seems.

  • Turgon

    Sorry, madding crowd obviously

  • harry

    how do people have time to go on a calvacade from derry to belfast on a Monday?

    are people not working?

    i would love to skip off work this moring to go on a road trip to belfast or derry, unfortunately i have a mortgage to pay.

    how to the calvacaders get their money?

    would it not be an idea for miss anderson to press for a phone line from derry to belfast first?

  • Briso, rather than bile towards Londonderry folk (although there have been a couple of comments), most of the tripe on these threads seems to be “Derry Wans” with umpteen chips on each shoulder complaining about how badly they get treated. In fact this whole thread is about a big stunt designed largely to feed off that attitude.

  • Mike

    Shouldn’t someone in the media have confronted Martina Anderson with the fact that if she and her fellow Provos hadn’t spent 25 years bombing the commercial heart out of Londonderry city, deliberately destroying its businesses, and murdering businessmen in the city (e.g. Jeffrey Agate, DuPont manager) for the ‘crime’ of ‘managiong the British economy), maybe Derry/Londonderry today might be in a tad better state economically?

    Just a thought…

  • Prince Eoghan

    Briso

    Agree 1000%.

    You need to speak up and state your case though. The other known Derrywan sadly seems only too willing to stick the boot in, and only reluctantly when pressed speaks in the positive.

    The neglect of Derry is obvious, good on Martina for sticking her neck out.

  • Dec

    Shouldn’t someone in the media have confronted Martina Anderson with the fact that if she and her fellow Provos hadn’t spent 25 years bombing the commercial heart out of Londonderry city, deliberately destroying its businesses, and murdering businessmen in the city (e.g. Jeffrey Agate, DuPont manager) for the ‘crime’ of ‘managiong the British economy), maybe Derry/Londonderry today might be in a tad better state economically?

    And just think, without Bloody Sunday, long-term gerrymandering and the refusal of the Unionist Government at Stormont to have a major University anywhere near that fenian hole, Derry would be a great place now. Of course this shouldn’t detract from the central thesis of this thread that everything is SF’s (and in particular Martina Anderson’s) fault.

  • Dec

    Ps

    but given that the people she represents would like to tear down the two bridges and block off the border at Coshquin,keeping out all the non-local people (“You lied, Martin- there is a Swansea!”), she’s no threat at national level

    If anybody can provide me with the either (a)actual relevance or (b) tiniest basis in fact to this generalised, stereotypical, sectarian swipe at the nationalist population in Derry, I’d be grateful. In the meantime, I’ll comfort myself by chuckling at the apparent irony bypass this person appears to suffer from given that he appears to consider non-unionists insular and that the Jam are a better band without Paul Weller.

  • lib2016

    Wheee! Martina really has hit the right notes with this one.

    Populism is where it’s at in modern democratic politics as exemplified by Bertie and Blair. Obviously it’s important to carry the ground roots with you but where else can they go?

    The voters who really decide elections are the people in the middle with no committment to any party. If Martina can mobilise even a few more of those than the competition then she’s done her job.

    Obviously Unionist outreach has been such a resounding success that she can’t hope to compete there. Remind me again of a few of the highs? Just can’t bring them to mind at the moment for some reason.

    But to get back to the thread – apart from Junior’s unique take on getting help with constituency matters I don’t remember unionism having much success in standing up for their electorate recently.

    Maybe ‘more money for Pradistints’ was their idea of a slogan which would appeal to the British government but I would have thought it should have been better phrased myself.

    In any event Margaret Ritchie managed to step on it in such a way that even the unionists were condemning grants to their own areas. A mistake that Sinn Fein didn’t make.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “If anybody can provide me with the either (a)actual relevance or (b) tiniest basis in fact to this generalised, stereotypical, sectarian swipe at the nationalist population in Derry, I’d be grateful.”

    Oh dear, precious, does the truth hurt? It’s not sectarian. The people’s republic of MOPE are just as wary of Culmorites, all east bankers, Donegal wans, and Strabanites – of green, pink, or puce hues- as they are of the planters. The proof of their insular outlook, and the presence of an entire Harry Ramsden restaurant of chips on each shoulder, is in the Derry Journal every Friday, and on the late unlamented Channel 9 television.
    In fairness,they’ll bring in Palestinians, South Africans,Libyans, and the current favourites- Venezualans- not to learn from them, but to have them salute the indefatigability of the Derry wans. I have even heard them seriously claim the east bank wans have a different accent!!!!!

    And when did I say the Jam were a better band without Weller? He did after all write a song about the west bankers (“Town called malice”), one about the Journal editorials (“The Bitterest pill”), one about Shinners’ support for law and order (“Absolute beginners”), and naturally the traditional Friday night drunken punchup after chucking out time in the city centre (“That’s Entertainment”)

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I guess I was sort of hoping she went home at night poured herself a G+T or a good glass of Bordeaux, listened to Holst or Fauré, read Ulysses and was thankful that she had escaped the maddening crowd”

    Not everyone is as liberal and enlightened as ourselves, Turgon. The average MLA of all parties probably thinks Holst makes nasty fizzy lager (shudder). As we sink back in the armchairs of the Ulster Reform Club with a fine Islay malt, we should never forget the responsibility we have to provide vision and leadership to the people.

  • Mike

    Dec

    “And just think, without Bloody Sunday, long-term gerrymandering and the refusal of the Unionist Government at Stormont to have a major University anywhere near that fenian hole, Derry would be a great place now. Of course this shouldn’t detract from the central thesis of this thread that everything is SF’s (and in particular Martina Anderson’s) fault.”

    No sure how that would take away from the suggestion that Martina Anderson should have been confronted about HER OWN part, and that of the organisation she belonged to, in destroying Derry/Londonderry’s economic base.

    Seems a lot like simple whataboutery, in fact.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Mike

    If you deny a city or one with being aspirations of being so, the very things that make up a city then that city will in all probability fall into neglect. Dec makes this greater point in more detail, things like Uni’s and colleges attract intelligent people from outside the area, many of whom will settle there and energise and invigorate. Instead many of Derry’s brightest and best settled elsewhere after studying outside the city.

    Do you contest the idea that Derry was neglected long before any Republican targeting of the economic base. A campaign that was 6 counties wide I believe, and not especially related to Derry.

  • J Kelly

    If as has been stated here current that populism is were modern politics is at and the media plays a big part in this then lets look at how yesterday went for Martina. BBC Radio Foyle Interview on Morning Programme, 1 hour phone in on Paul McFadden show, Raymond McCartney and Mark Durkan interviewed on Lunchtime news responding to cavalcade,Cavalcade reported on everynews programme until 4pm, topic on talkack, reported on downtown, highland and Q102, Stormont Live Interview, photo and report in Derry Journal, reported on both RTE and UTV teletext and internet sites and of course a thread on slugger. I’m sure most people in Derry know what Martina Anderson was doing yesterday.

    So when Martina went home last night I’m sure she said to herself a good days work.

  • Dec

    Mike

    It’s easy to type in whataboutery, when somebody makes a salient counter argument that challenges the view you are espousing. Both yourself, and other unionist posters were making the point that whatever ills Derry suffers from, they were all originally caused by the RM (factoring in some ad-hominen attacks on one local elected representative). I pointed out that actions harmful to Derry weren’t the sole preserve of one side. Of course your response (“Eh, whataboutery”) was not unexpected, hence my devastatingly satirical closing shot.

    Darth

    And when did I say the Jam were a better band without Weller?

    On this very website, in so many words.

    BTW

    If bitter, irony-free, have-cake-and-eat-it newspaper editorials float your boat, you can find them closer to home. This one on the St Patrick’s parade invite to the OO is a classic.

  • BonarLaw

    Darth

    Islay? Come, come Skye surely?

  • J Kelly

    This campaign is real and resonates with many in the city, as PE has just stated Derry was discriminated against long before the IRA bombing campaign of the 70’s and 80’s, the campaign was wider than Derry and many other places have been regenerated long since. Belfast is testament to this. Thirdly and finally the elephant in the room the SDLP have failed to deliver for Derry. Martina Amderson is putting it up to Durkan and he can’t handle it.

  • StarHound

    “The SDLP still have a great deal of credit from the Hume era. The people of Derry will remember his success in bringing employment and investment to the City, while voters can ask what did SF ever do to help the working classes. In spite of their self proclaimed socialism the answer is nothing.”

    John Hume’s “credit” has long since been used up and is as as hard as it ever has been to get a decent job in Derry – call centres don’t cut it. Mark Durkan is playing catch up now but it may be too late for him – he has pratically been invisible for the last year. The voters know this and the SDLP in Derry are scared.

    Conor Murphy’s failure to prioritise the motorway and rail link needs to be raised but all six memebers of SDLP youth looking sheepish on Dungiven Main Street is hardly going to do that.

    There is just way too much I am bile and sloppy, second hand sectarian clichés, directed at Derry, Derry people and Derry Nationalists in this deabte on this site. “Cesspit”, Derry people as dole spongers, brought it on themselves etc etc

  • Dec

    There is just way too much I am bile and sloppy, second hand sectarian clichés, directed at Derry, Derry people and Derry Nationalists in this deabte on this site. “Cesspit”, Derry people as dole spongers, brought it on themselves etc etc

    Starhound

    It’s not so much directed at Derry as it is the Cityside. All the ‘experts’ here, appear to think the East Bank is 100% unionist – obviously no spongers, MOPErs, bigots live there then.

  • Prince Eoghan

    Indeed it is startlingly obvious just why Derry was neglected all those years by nice middle class Unionists. If some of the comments above are taken into account, even shitty attempts at humour.

  • Hogan

    StarHound,

    Nobody would accuse Derry-wans of being dole-spongers?

    The entire city is too clever.

    you get more money on the DLA.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “All the ‘experts’ here, appear to think the East Bank is 100% unionist – obviously no spongers, MOPErs, bigots live there then.”

    AAAAAAARGH!!!!!
    exactly the opposite of the point I was making. We know there are many non-Unionists on the Waterside- which those champions of fair treatment for the city have studiously underfunded and ignored as it fell into genteel shabby decline BTW. Doubtless there are many worthless people there too, and some fine citizens on the cityside.

    “And when did I say the Jam were a better band without Weller?
    On this very website, in so many words.”

    At the risk of sending you off on a five hour search for MOPE evidence, no I didnae.

    “So when Martina went home last night I’m sure she said to herself a good days work.”

    Yup, she pandered enthusiatically to the paranoia of her base, and the rest of the world didn’t give a toot. Almost Junioresque in its parish pump focus. But not really very admirable.

    “Islay? Come, come Skye surely?”
    Hmmmm, BL. You’re almost always right, and here you’re nearly nearly nearly right. But the Bowmore says no.Hic!

  • Dec

    AAAAAAARGH!!!!!
    exactly the opposite of the point I was making.

    Obviously…

    “And when did I say the Jam were a better band without Weller?
    On this very website, in so many words.”

    At the risk of sending you off on a five hour search for MOPE evidence, no I didnae.

    Actually you did. You were boring the pants off people about new wave music(a movement in which you hilariously included The Jam), mentioned Foxton and Buckler playing a bargain basement gig in town, thankfully (in your opinion) sans Weller.
    Oh and btw, me pointing out you prefer a Weller-less Jam is a MOPE now is it? Zzzz…

  • Observer

    ….but it *is* a dump, like….