Are you ready, are you ready for this…

SDLP Cllr Niall Kelly’s blog (one of few Irish political blogs), The Belfast Stoop, has gone into hiatus. Of course he has denied this had anything to do with entries critical of party policy making it into general discourse.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    That’s a shame, I quite enjoyed Niall’s blog. If the party were trying to censor him they were a bit slow on it.. It is quite plausible that he just can’t find the time though, I blogged on Elblogador for a year or so but eventually just never could get around to writing anything new.

  • Mark McGregor

    1967,

    It is a shame. It was good to see an elected rep willing to address hard questions for his own party – hopefully he continues that from within.

    However, I don’t fully buy the time constraints argument. Three or four entries a week is not a major commitment.

    Maybe he just ran out of steam, as a majority of bloggers do, after an enthusiastic start?

    I sincerely hope he didn’t feel compelled to shut up shop as a result of the MSM highlighting sound, legitimate and challenging writing about his own party.

  • Mark

    Or maybe he just realised that he was giving people like you ammunition with which to attack the SDLP.

    I think that you would call this one a hollow blog with no basis or substance.

  • Mark McGregor

    John,

    I suppose you could call it that, if you ignored everything written, the links given and went for blind partisan loyality over discussion of what is in the public domain – something Niall was more than willing to do unlike yourself.

  • jock

    Maybe he felt that he couldn’t compete with the slick Eirigi videos on youtube-then again, maybe not.

  • Mark McGregor

    Jock,

    Google ‘trolling’ and see a mirror.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think any political party tolerates people pissing into the tent; and it’s a pretty stupid idea to start that carry on when you’re beginning your political career.

  • Baz está fresco em Vermont

    It is not stupid, it is just not a career move, SDLP politics, are not exactly ruthless, more like quite petty, or rather a nuisance. It is not a bad party to be in. They can be quite forgiving to their own kind.

  • DC

    “It is not stupid, it is just not a career move, SDLP politics, are not exactly ruthless, more like quite petty, or rather a nuisance. It is not a bad party to be in. They can be quite forgiving to their own kind.”

    I’ve always been fairly impressed with the SDLP youth side of things. The future of the SDLP lies in its name not the colour scheme, only when that party gets back to picking up on the wider social issues and talks about them at the regional NI level in particular will it then be able to move forward successfully.

    Looking over its shoulder didn’t work but there is a large enough cohort in the SDLP youth that do have a certain intellect to push past the sectarian nonsense of divisive culture politics, they should re-work the SDLP vision. A debate on how to reconnect with society would be useful, particulary trying to set realistic economic and cultural transformation while not losing other sections of society off the other end. A social democratic party must stem indifference to society, and much of this has come about because people within and between communities have been cut out of deliberations to appease certain political cohorts to the advantage of a wider peace process.

    It’s time for a reasonable debate on new ideas for a post-conflict Northern Ireland.

  • Dec

    Looking over its shoulder didn’t work but there is a large enough cohort in the SDLP youth that do have a certain intellect to push past the sectarian nonsense of divisive culture politics, they should re-work the SDLP vision.

    So the SDLP should ditch nationalism in order to make them more relevant? We’ll see how that works out at the next election.

  • DC

    The baseline, if we are to be honest, is reliance on Protestants being Protestants and Catholics being Catholics, Protestants wont stop being Protestants and Catholics wont stop being Catholics.

    But what there can be movement on is agreement that we live on a small island which, as per the saying, there is little room for great hatred.

    The governments stopped the killing, now politics should remove the hatred through accommodation based on reconnecting with society here in NI.

    All identity is relational, cutting out a sense of one identity and overplaying the politics of another is not social democratic politics. Throughout the last 10 years the debate has moved on as to what social democracy is and it is a debate the SDLP could well look into. The easy option, the less intellectual one, is to sit back and rely on cultural identity politics, but SF has captured that easy debate. There is a need to become more integrationist, more accommodating but SF cant capture that agenda because it is holed in all the vital areas. It will resist change.

    The reason why the SDLP is not advancing is that it is failing to understand how to bring about appropriate cultural change, it is failing to understand wider society. It is going against the very essence of its party’s name. That’s why it is failing to move the debate forward, for it has become something like Alliance, a bit of an arrested development.

    It orginated out of good values, core values, that whenever you look back at some of the stances taken over the implemention of the GFA by the SDLP it was always on the cards that if it went too green, the values of putting people first fairly not to the advantage of certain particular persons would soon see to it that it would fast become irrelevant. Simply because SF is better equipped for that kind of low grade culture debate. And I say low grade because rationalising ethnic demands as per the imagination of Adams is near impossible to do; I mean who is to say that an Irish language act requires enforcement and that courts should be the specific area of interest. Yes you can argue for it but is it really the best way to start, the best baseline for change? Is it doable without drawing in other complaints and does this help to break out of the old isms of unionism and nationalism???

  • Dec

    The reason why the SDLP is not advancing is that it is failing to understand how to bring about appropriate cultural change, it is failing to understand wider society.

    Could you elaborate on this?

  • DC

    The clue rests with single identity politics and the inequality of that particular inequality, of having one take on identity yet claiming to be a social democratic party.

    It is this lopsidedness that prevents a meeting of minds that would perhaps bring about an Irish language act, for example, one that is actually implementable.

  • Dec

    The clue rests with single identity politics and the inequality of that particular inequality, of having one take on identity yet claiming to be a social democratic party.

    Ah yes – I was afraid you meant that ie meaningless waffle about ‘identity politics’ not reflecting ‘wider society’ – which of course it does. Or do you live somewhere different from the rest of us? Funny how you often get people on here pleading for the SDLP to drop it’s Nationalist politics(or ‘ethos’) yet you never read the equivalent demand being laid at the DUP or UUP’s door.

    The clue to the paucity of your argument revealed in your opening line:

    The baseline, if we are to be honest, is reliance on Protestants being Protestants and Catholics being Catholics, Protestants wont stop being Protestants and Catholics wont stop being Catholics.

  • DC

    Paucity? The paucity rests with the SDLP dressing itself up in nationalism whenever it was never its strongest point, its key strengths were always a bit more intellectual.

    I merely pointed out that if operating under a social democratic banner that that party should be able to attract multiple identities, and it should not discourage others that do not exist within their own particular community. Because there coexists in Northern Ireland many identities. Some are asking for change some aren’t.

    If you are asking for change you need to, as a social party, make sure that indifference to that culture does not happen. This can only be achieved by debating the merits of cultural change and the quality of some of the cultural exchanges vis-a-vis SF and DUP.

    You fail to understand yourself about how to bring about cultural change by failing to take into account who it is you are living with and who it is that might become indifferent to the very culture that is out there already being lived out, the politics of some parties is failing to properly represent that way of life. You cant lose people off the other side or suggest change that brings about continual use of vetoes.Mairead Farrell commeration? Courts as the focus of a new Irish language? 5 months of walkouts.

    Culture is a state of struggle and contestation wherein meanings are continually negotiated. There needs to be an understanding of attitudes for there to be cultural change. Indifference, is perhaps the best outcome to hope for if political parties make unreasonable demands for change in order to appeal to its core vote, hate is the much more worrying thing.

    There is little room for great hatred, but a lot of debating forums in which to try and give an acceptable meaning to Irish and to bring about cultural transformation of NI.

    As had been mentioned before on Slugger that a united Ireland could happen when it doesn’t really matter. I think there is something in the view that indifference should be a concern, because it tends to show up a lack of durability which could be linked to people switching off and changes taking place but no one caring simply because they were never engaged in it. But such people can get by in life alright by ignoring it as the economic aspects are largely met and lives remain largely unaffected by indifference.

    This is why it is important to have realistic and sensible demands for change in order to promote a durable culture and one that helps social cohesion.

  • Comrade Stalin

    DC:

    The reason why the SDLP is not advancing is that it is failing to understand how to bring about appropriate cultural change, it is failing to understand wider society.

    What leads you to believe that an understanding about how to bring about cultural change leads to advancement in Northern Ireland politics ? Can you point to any precedents ?

  • DC

    It is all to do with expectations, largely by nationalists and the associated frustration. Frustration may arise because of the inability to change relations between those in government. Being able to manage change at a political level and bring about suitable recognition of cultural demands is something hasn’t happened here just yet. Then we are back to frustration again, which is not conducive to good relations, etc etc and round and round it goes.

    If we take cultural demands, it can sometimes get mixed up with SF republican *customs*, some argue purposely some not, just like the fall out over that Mairead Farrell thing. Was this part of Irish culture, or was it just party political customs of SF that we were seeing. Regardless all of this sits with other republican demands that can be extremely unhelpful when trying to unpick and consider what is implementable, if you like.

    The barbed approach.