Lessons from Obama for Northern Ireland…

I had been invited to the SDLP Youth Forum to talk on a panel of experts today (Mulley should be there), but because of family circumstances (if the term 38 weeks means anything to you, then you’ll understand why I couldn’t make the flight) I was unable to take advantage of their hospitality. But they’ve asked me to assembled a few thoughts on the matter, which I recorded (late last night). I’ve tried to pitch it broadly enough at any of our local political parties. The session starts at 5pm this evening in Armagh; so here it is a few minutes early for Slugger readers…

  • wild turkey

    ‘if the term 38 weeks means anything to you’

    Hey Mick,

    Good luck and hope everyone is well and everything goes well.

    ‘treat your supporters with respect’ uh, how bout treating the voters with respect?

    I know it is beyond cliche, but in my limited (emphasis on limited) experience of and exposure to the SDLP, what a collection of smug, self-satisfied and uninspiring non-entities. Obviously, the usual caveat applies and this descriptor does not apply to all in the SDLP. But on balance, would I vote for the current SDLP? Like fuck. Why bother with a tray bake sale when whats required is a wholesome and healthy knuckle sandwich.

    ‘Be bold and … be prepared for a culture shock’.
    Why not, maybe the torch is being passed to a new generation. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • josephine

    the sdlp’s problems have nothing to do with their inability to harness the web – their problem is that they’re led by a dingbat who was put there by an egomaniac not to grow the sdlp but to ensure the egomaniac’s legacy was untouched.

  • Josephine


    How so?

    Are you not in agreement with the assertion that an egomaniac tends to use violence to assert himself?

    Are you not in danger of defining a strong personality as something negative?

    An egomaniac tends to want everything for himself despite the protests of others. Who protested against John Hume? Did he want everything for himself? Or only what was due to him?

    Finally it takes one to know one.

  • percy

    SDLP need to merge with a southern party in order to survive and make a difference.
    Why isn’t this happening?
    The Tory/UUP merger gifts them to do this.
    As usual when it comes to Republicanism and actually taking a stand, southern parties and the SDLP run away from the challenge.

  • Mick your virtual appearness was a perfect intro to the to the debate. Mulley did not show but Neill Ward and I enjoyed a capacity crowd and a very energetic debate which Seamus Mallon played a lead roll in.

    The people I met do not fit the description of our first commentator.

    Have blogged on the conference over on O’Conall St. http://www.oconallstreet.com

  • wild turkey

    ‘The people I met do not fit the description of our first commentator. ‘

    Well fair enough Conall. I am decidely not a politician so I make no claims to total truth or instant wisdom. In fact I’ll say something rarely spoken by any NI politician:-‘I could be wrong.’

    Maybe I met different people… or the same people under different circumstances. Perhaps you might allow for that, eh?

    ‘I enjoyed a capacity crowd and a very energetic debate’

    Good. The energy and enjoyment arising from a good debate is heady stuff. But was that debate strictly with the choir or also with the street?

    There is no need to be defensive here cos I am not out to get you or the party…

    but you should be out to get me. Rhetorically like.

    Good luck and happy hunting.

  • Alan

    I caught most of the conference that was live today at lunchtime on tele and as a unionist albeit with a small u, I was impressed by what I heard. I have to admit that I do find a number of prominent members smug especially a couple of female ones but that is a small complaint.

    I wss pleased that Mark Durkin and Alban Magenniss were able to say the name Northern Ireland when they were speaking and were not struck down by a bolt of lightening. Good on them.

    I have never been a big fan of the before and have never given them a vote in 30 years of voting but might consider marking them somewhere on my ballot sheet in the european elections. If I was a nationlist I would vote for them at every election as they are moderate socialists. It a shame us unionists don’t have a party of moderate socialists to vote for instead of the right wing parties we seem to breed.

  • nineteensixtyseven


    I found your comments very heartening. Hopefully some day nationalists and unionists alike will join together and vote for socialism, throwing off the identities that for so long have divided us.

  • borderline

    Reuters reporting 2 middleaged men struck by bolt of lightning in lobby of Armagh hotel.

  • Harry Flashman

    Congratulations Mick, all the best to you and the missus. We’re at week eighteen here.

  • Thanks Harry. For a moment there I thought you were referring to the vid… Al the very best to you guys too!!

  • Gregory

    “the sdlp’s problems have nothing to do with their inability to harness the web – their problem is that they’re led by a dingbat who was put there by an egomaniac not to grow the sdlp but to ensure the egomaniac’s legacy was untouched.”

    They need to connect to voters by being relevant, they’re not really a Catholic party, they can’t out-SF @ being the cordite article.

    Catholicism is no more down on its luck than orthodox (IRB or 1916 style) republicanism.

    The market is there, and has more activists than SF will ever have. It is not a question of it being a Vatican outreach project,

    it is a question, of taking ‘a core vote’ and going forward.

    At this point SF will lose more to apathy than the SDLP will gain by attracting youngsters, so the ‘older’ vote is worth having.


  • Mick > The SDLP Youth fringe event was really successful. Thanks very much for the video piece. I showed the video first then Conall and Neil spoke. There was fantastic turn out – people couldn’t fit in the room – and everyone enjoyed the debate so the plan is to continue it again with another event in the near future.