Remarks born “of weakness…frustration…desperation

Whilst unionist politicians were, unsurprisingly, quick to voice support for Mark Durkan’s call for power-sharing to end soon, Brian Feeney is not so impressed (subs reqd.)
In a scathing attack on the SDLP leader, the former party councillor lambasts Durkan for “abandoning 38 years of SDLP policy and principle” and accuses him of ignoring “the theoretical underpinning of the Good Friday Agreement, the concept of consociationalism.”
He continues:
“Instead of insisting on political power sharing as of right he is prepared to replace that with daily trips to the court by disgruntled nationalists to appeal to some airy-fairy bill of rights. In short, because he thinks politics cannot work to his liking he would prefer judges. How contemptible. How politically inept.” (my emphasis)

  • DC

    “he is prepared to replace that with daily trips to the court”

    Just where the rest of us go when we have legal concerns then…

    But here, anyway, if we are to accept this compulsory coalition, are Sinn Fein and the DUP prepared not to have their mandates enacted in full as like voluntary coalitions do, where stability is maintained and some issues have to go or be longer fingered so as to keep control of power?

    As it seems it is easier to do zero-sum thus ensuring that nothing gets done.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Durker’s message is too complicated and delivered at the wrong time i.e. in the middle of ongoing negotiations. It is also a message that is very easy to misrepresent – he would be better advised as would the UU to bite their lips until we can all see what has actually been going on at Stormo.

  • Pete Baker
  • Pancho’s Horse

    Could I timidly suggest a rent and rates strike?

  • Quagmire

    Mandatory coalition isn’t working due to DUP intransigence, Voluntary coalition is a non runner from a nationalist/republican perspective, despite Durkan’s inept interventions. Is it any wonder the SDLP are in the shape they are in. Absolutely out of touch with the nationalist electorate is, quite frankly, putting it mildly. I was prepared to give Stormont a fair wind but having witnessed the bigoted behaviour of the neanderthals/back woodsmen of the DUP I think its time to close the place down forever. We just have to look at the bigoted, immature behaviour of our prestigious environment minister recently http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/environment/green-party-slams-dup-ban-on-advisor-from-republic-13968391.html

    Unionists had the chance this time to show that they had moved on and had grown up. I mean the sky would hardly fall in if we had an Irish Language Act, nationalists live here too you know! But nooooo! The DUP are too worried by the likes of Jim Allister instead of concentrating on governing for (ALL) the people who live in this part of Ireland. Ironic thing is that we will probably get an Irish Language Act anyway in the event of direct rule. Unionist intransigence is counter productive in terms of ensuring the longevity and maintainence of the Union and in the end Unionism will be the architect/author of its own demise.

  • Mick Fealty

    Quag,

    I sympathise. Yet if were a betting man, I’d not put money on a collapse. The rules of engagement were essentially agreed on a bipartisan basis: ie between SF and the DUP only.

    If you have ever taught a class of 8th graders (ie 14 year olds) in any country, you’ll know that as soon as you lose their attention, you’re a bit stuffed. Their minds start to wander. Hell, I think I can even vaguely remember being 14 myself.

    That appears to be what’s happening here. The two solutions: close the school, and try to start (yet) another; or get back to work and pick up the rhythm again asap.

  • cynic

    Mandatory coalition isn’t working due to SF intransigence. Is it any wonder given the state SF are in? Absolutely out of touch with the nationalist electorate and misleading them on the deal they negotiated, to put it mildly.

    I was prepared to give Stormont a fair wind but having witnessed the bigoted behaviour of the neanderthals/back woodsmen of SF I think its time to close the place down forever. We just have to look at the immature behaviour of our prestigious Regional Development minister recently in changing all reference to Northern Ireland in a document alreday passed by the Executive.

    Republicans had the chance this time to show that they had moved on and had grown up. I mean the sky would hardly fall in if we didn’t have an Irish Language Act; Unionsists live here too you know! But nooooo! The Shinners are too worried by the dissidents and the extremists in their own ranks instead of concentrating on governing for (ALL) the people who live in this part of Ireland.

    Ironic thing is that the Unionists may agree an Irish Language Act anyway in the event of direct rule and the cementing of even closer ties with the rest of the UK. Nationalist intransigence is counter productive in terms of ensuring any progress towards a UI and, as the last 40 years have shown, the Shinners are architects of the destruction of their own ideal.

  • “You can read what Mark Durkan said here.”

    I prefer it straight from the horse’s mouth, Pete.

    Mark IMO has failed to note that the 50%+1 constitutional ‘tug-of-war’ settlement is inimical to a shared society.

  • cynic

    Could I timidly suggest a rent and rates strike?

    ….errr don’t most SF voters own their own houses now or pay rent to senior figures in the Movemnent, as opposed to the Housing Executive? So guess how long a rent strike will last!

  • cynic

    Brian Feeeny is not so impressed?

    Never!!!

    But can anyone point me to something in the last 10 years or so where he has been impressed?

  • Pete Baker

    The original speech is linked at the earlier post, Nevin.

    The point being to link-up the conversation on the topic.

  • Pete, have you considered the possibility that your selective quote may have unfortunately skewed the earlier discussion?

    Unfortunately, Mark’s speech seems to have been posted to the SDLP site about five days after the event.

  • Quagmire

    You have just proved my point Cynic. I mean if I feel like this and you feel like that then, quite frankly, whats the point? Stormont is a failed entity, always has been and always will be. It, as was the entire northern state-let, was established by way of a sectarian head count. It was at this point, in my opinion, where it all went wrong and indeed was the genesis of our current plight. Once infamously described by Unionism as “a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people” Stormont can function no longer as a normal entity under this guise given the current demographic trends and I honestly believe that Unionism cannot comprehend this fact and is only coming to terms with the new reality. The old Stormont regime was functional, and I use this term very loosely, because demographic trends at that time were conducive to Unionist majority (mis)rule, not to mention the fact that Unionism and the northern state-let was protected by the RUC, now gone thank God, and by London turning a blind eye to the inequities that existed here at that time. Circumstances have now changed, as we all know, and I honestly believe that Unionism is incapable of changing and evolving with the times instead attempting to slow down progress and ignoring the big elephant in the room i.e. nationalism, wishing for the good oul days to return. However those days are over my friend, never to return. When people of a Unionist persuasion talk about the “pravance” or “Our wee country” who I implore are they referring to? Me? I am an Irish Republican, I live here too, I have rights and entitlements just like everyone else and I’m not going anywhere nor ,as Old Maggie once said, am I for turning! Failte go dti an tuaisceart na hEireann nua!

  • DC

    “It, as was the entire northern state-let, was established by way of a sectarian head count. It was at this point, in my opinion, where it all went wrong and indeed was the genesis of our current plight.”

    The problem with Northern Ireland has been of too much politics and not enough economics, the state-let has been backed by SF, apparent advocates of state-crafting seem themselves to be very slow in the uptake of making democratic politics work at state level. If they could only understand that by improving economics and not by trying to prove a constitutional point here and there, which is actually causing disimproving politics, it as a party might be able to assist with a transition into the Republic.

    So while we have an environment of disimproving politics and poor economics is it any wonder that Fianna Fail has held back from welcoming an East Germany type situation. At least the Germans, under the tight concept of ethnic nationalism always believed in blood-link citizenship rather than soil, however bogus that might be socially, it still eased the overall social acceptance of togetherness. But with NI this problem of non-togetherness must be overcome so that the on-one-soil approach can win out.

    Roughly speaking there is a calibrated centrist style approach to politics both in Britain and in Ireland, with refinement to the left and to the right happening on issues but by and large it is fairly centrist. In Northern Ireland, there isn’t anything of the sort; firstly, you have an experiment not just in domestic policy in local control but also an experiment in political reconciliation, if both fails it will hardly curry favour in Britain nor especially in Ireland.

    The state-let isn’t the problem, it is the attitudes which will collapse everything on whatever part of the soil and wherever you hold power that bad attitude will give rise to serious consideration of trying to work out that it remains overall in someone else’s innermost thoughts.

  • cynic

    “You have just proved my point Cynic.”

    Quag

    Dont think I actually have. You approach this from one analysis and I was pointing out that those arguments cut both ways. Neither side is playing the game that they and we (the electorate) signed up to.

    We need some real politics on both sides to make this work. I still think it could work but now doubt the skill and ability and committment of those currently at the top of the key parties.

    The fundamental difference is that you see that as a one sided issue (as do Sinn Fein). I think we both have to make an accommodation with each other. For Republicans, just stopping killing people isnt enough and the snide party politics of deleting all references to Northern ireland (which they sighned up to) has to stop. The DUPs have to recognise the new political reality in NI, stop fighting every issue on ‘national’ grounds and start looking at the real social and ecconomic problems of all our people.

  • barnshee

    “I am an Irish Republican, I live here too, I have rights and entitlements just like everyone else and I’m not going anywhere nor ,as Old Maggie once said, am I for turning! Failte go dti an tuaisceart na hEireann nua! ”

    Nobody asked you to stay-

    http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ltg/projects/jtap/dce/moorbath/

  • Quagmire

    Barnshee would you have me leave? How very Balkan of you. Thanks but no thanks! Your new name shall be Dr Karadzic!

  • Mick Fealty

    Now what was it I said about 14 year olds…?

  • perry

    Can I ask a naive rainy afternoon question?

    What stops unionists from designating as nationalists and just taking us back to majority rule?

    Is there some sort of prove-you’re-a-proper-nationalist test they need to pass or would the real nationalists just side-step them as designate as unionists.

    It’d be fun to watch anyway.

  • runciter

    Still waiting for Chris to explain how SF can justify conspiring with unionists to deny nationalists control of P&J;.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/politics/Sinn-Fein-39denying-SDLP-ministry39.4452290.jp

    So much for SF’s commitment to powersharing, and Chris’ mock outrage at Durkan’s comments.

  • runciter

    The silence is deafening.