The SDLP’s Justice for the innocent….

I’m sorry to say I did not get to the Justice for the innocent talk organised by the SDLP at their party conference yesterday. It began at 1.15 in the afternoon,in the bunker room and by the time we’d finished interviewing Mr Durkan the discussion was over and we arrived as people were coming out. I knew at once that they were coming from something extremely emotional. There were quite a few women there with tears in their eyes, including the SDLP’s own very hard working Margaret Walsh. As soon as she saw me we embraced and it was possible to physically feel the emotion that had been in that room. I remember the emotional scenes of Paddy Hill and Gerry Conlon being released – watching the screens then it was possible to feel the emotion. That emotion is still there. Yesterday was the first I’d met both men. You feel upon meeting them that a great wrong had been done to them. I’m sorry I missed Raymond McCord, and the Quinn family. Hopefully at some stage they will meet and talk to slugger. All I managed to get was this meaningful message from Gerry Conlon, still the same working class person I read about. Neither Paddy nor Gerry were dressed in suits, and here is what he had to say, especially to west Belfast.

  • Dewi

    Excellent video stuff the last few days – thanks Kath and others.

  • veritas

    excellent hard working Margaret Walsh….is that why she wasn`t re-elected?

    Are you her PR agent?

    The sdlp are very selective when it comes to highlighting injustices…then again I remember the sdlp voting to increase the legal internment/detention to 28 weeks!!!!

  • kathleen

    Veritas, if someone isn’t re-elected does that mean they don’t work hard? Margaret Walsh has worked hard for a long time for her party, her constituency and her people. If you don’t agree with that, thats fine. There are a lot of women out there working at her level and below for various parties everywhere and don’t get recognised or elected. If you have any evidence to prove she didn’t work hard, lets see it.

    Are you her PR agent?

    Is she looking for one? Why don’t you tell us.

  • veritas

    I have nothing against women in politics regardless at your vain attempt at innuendo and misdirection…

    As to Walsh, the question about her “hard work” is one for you to prove, as you have mentioned it on a few of these threads…

    Are you on the ground, have you spoke to people in that area?

    Surely the electorate in that area aren`t stupid and would reflect on ALL candidates presumed qualities or lack there off, before casting their vote?

    As a PR, its you who continually refer to Walsh as hard working, its you who keeps putting Walsh on a pedestal.

  • kathleen

    Are you on the ground, have you spoke to people in that area?

    Yes.

    As to Walsh, the question about her “hard work” is one for you to prove, as you have mentioned it on a few of these threads…

    No it isn’t. Margaret goes back a long time, and been elected. She wouldn’t have lasted long if she was no more than a passenger in her party or community.

    Surely the electorate in that area aren`t stupid and would reflect on ALL candidates presumed qualities or lack there off, before casting their vote?

    Do you speak for them all.

    As a PR, its you who continually refer to Walsh as hard working, its you who keeps putting Walsh on a pedestal.

    If I say someone is hard working does that put them on a pedestal? There are many parties out there that people don’t agree with, that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard at what they do. Disagreement in politics doesn’t mean those opposed to you are wasters. You need to widen your outlook.

  • percy

    lol better luck next time veritas

  • Kathleen

    Do you speak for them all.

    Veritas’s point is very valid, and you do yourself no favours by evading the issue. He or she does not need to ‘speak for all of them’, because they already spoke collectively (in the last local elections) and turfed MW out. Veritas is correct – the “hard working” MW was not very highly thought of by the electorate.

    You keep trying to boost her (this is not the first time) but you are ignoring the democratic will of the people.

  • cynic

    From the vicious handbagging going on in here I am sorry to intrude on what is clearly a private grief / dispute.

    Time to Bring Justice to the Innocent seems a tad out of date doesn’t it. The ‘Maguire 7 ‘were acquitted in 1991 and the Guildford Four acquitted twenty years ago.

  • kathleen

    Get real horseman. Saying Margaret Walsh is hard working is not ignoring the democratic will of the people. Margaret is a mature woman, who has been in the SDLP since the 70’s and you are saying because she hasn’t been elected over and over again, that that is proof she does not work hard.

    That is simply nonsense. A woman of Margarets age still answering phones in the constituency office, is a hard worker. With all that amount of years behind her in the SDLP, one could hardly count her as a mere passenger. From what I know of her she also serves or has served on various boards and committees.

    If ones opinion is that she doesn’t work hard, thats fine. But you cannot base a persons value in their party or constituency because they fail to get elected.

    Its been hard for women in politics here, and shes been there a long time.

    We shall have to disagree on the matter, its my view Margaret is a hard worker.

  • kathleen

    Cynic there is no vicious handbagging going on, but you are right, time to get back to topic.

  • veritas

    You are contradicting your argument now….you say she was elected because of her (in your opinion, yet to be proven)”hard work”.

    Then we can presume that she lost her seat because of the her lack of work!

    As to being on the ground, that again is your opinion, electoral results speak louder..

    again as in your previous post, more innuendo and misdirection…no where is the word waster used or suggested by myself..

    but please continue in your Walsh love in..

  • Kathleen

    Like I said, veritas we shall have to disagree. My comment that Margaret is a hard worker is based on the fact that she is a long standing member of the SDLP in her area,and has been elected and the effort she puts in day to day, even at her age.

  • Kathleen,

    Since MW was elected for the first time in Lower Falls the SDLP vote there has been in constant decline. If she is working hard, then she has nothing much to show for it. “Hard work”, wrongly directed, is simply pointless. If she was any kind of decent politician then she would have learned from her experience how to get re-elected, and her “hard work” would have been seen and rewarded by the electorate. Being out of office means that her political clout is close to zero. Face it, she may be your friend, but she sucks as a politician (and the electorate, who, like customers, are always right, are the best judges of that)!

  • kathleen

    Horseman the total SDLP vote has declined, not only in WB, blaming it on a mature lowly female worker is hardly fair. The party needs to take that blame, not her. You could look at it another way, and say that Margaret actually did well for a woman at that time in NI. Depends on the way you look at it. If her effort is pointless, thats for her to decide. Shes spent a lot of her life on it, so it doesn’t seem to be pointless for her. I believe Gerry Conlon appreciated her efforts….

  • veritas

    Her age and her sex are neither here nor there or are the relevant…

    In a sense its you who have tried to make issues of these as I believe that when its comes to Walsh you have no evidence to the validity of your claim that she is “hard working” apart from your own personal opinion…

    Now you are the person who started this piece and as such anything you post is open to debate…

  • If her effort is pointless, thats for her to decide.

    True. Let’s see if she stands again in 2011.

    You’re too fixated on her age and gender, btw. It makes it sound as if you think she should get special treatment for one or both. She shouldn’t – neither is relevant. Bu with that kind of ‘boosting’ it’s little wonder her vote has declined!

  • veritas

    because Mr Conlon says it does this mean its true, its factual and that his opinion is more “authoritative” than those who dwell in the area she is from?

    But if can provide no evidence, I`ll leave you with your adoration of Walsh…

  • Kathleen

    Her age and her sex are neither here nor there or are the relevant…

    Looks like we disagree there as well…

    In a sense its you who have tried to make issues of these as I believe that when its comes to Walsh you have no evidence to the validity of your claim that she is “hard working” apart from your own personal opinion…

    And I’ve answered as to why I think MW is a hard worker, and you differ and thats fine. But I’m not dancing around the same argument again and again…

    Feel free to continue. 🙂 I shall read your comments with interest.

  • nineteensixtyseven

    “The sdlp are very selective when it comes to highlighting injustices…then again I remember the sdlp voting to increase the legal internment/detention to 28 weeks!!!!”

    I presume you mean 28 days and if you do mean that then you are still wrong. The SDLP voted for the 28 days amendement to the 90 days proposal because they feared that the bill might get through unamended and 90 days would be on the statue books. They then proceded to vote AGAINST the bill as amended because they did not support ANY extension of detention.
    Then when the proposal for 42 days came up the SDLP were there again to vote against it, Mark Durkan making what has been regarded by many MPs present as one of the strongest speeches against that bill.
    For someone called veritas you might want to start speaking the truth.

  • Kathleen

    It makes it sound as if you think she should get special treatment for one or both.

    In politics the electorate speaks end off. In speaking of people and their work – her gender and age are relevant in this case. Mainly because she goes back to an age when women were rare in NI politics. If you cannot distinguish between the two….

    You make it sound like politics is based on a time and motion study. Electoral success is hard work, not elected = didn’t work hard enough. A person can still work hard and fail. On that we shall have to disagree Horseman.

    (I like your blog btw.)

  • Kathleen

    because Mr Conlon says it does this mean its true, its factual and that his opinion is more “authoritative” than those who dwell in the area she is from?

    It means Gerry Conlon appreciated her efforts. The rest of it is your construct.

  • J O’Donovan

    Good post and video. Sr Sarah would have liked it.

  • veritas

    the truth and this PR piece for sdlp don`t go together…

    but please continue with this piece of spin..

  • kathleen

    Veritas has the monopoly on truth. 🙂

    Thanks J O’Donovan. Much appreciated.

  • cynic

    “there is no vicious handbagging going on”

    Oh sorry. To mix metaphors it just looked like two green(ish) tomcats in a box. To be fair though only one really seemed to have the claws out.

    So then, what is the issue? Unrequited love or did Margaret Walsh not gets someone a leg up the housing list in 1993?

  • Kathleen

    Thank you for covering this. I was there and just wish some of those who commented above had been too.

    Conall

  • cynic

    this thread looks like a winge meeting about a fringe meeting

  • Kathleen

    Good points made in this blog.

    I would add that the Truth and the SDLP are inextricably linked, and that there is no Truth to the hollow shallow fantasies of Sinn Fein.

    The SDLP reprsent a broadly Christian Social democratic position of compassion – is there any other Christian position? – whereas our friends in Sinn Fein have taken the broadly Antichristian position even in the peace. Just look at Conor Murphy’s position on the Quinns – it is without compassion.

  • chewnic

    Were all of the SDLP’s Belfast councillors at this Justice For The Innocent meeting? I’m sure that one of them could have brought a unique contribution to proceedings.

  • chewnic

    Now you know why no Sinn Fein councillors, MLAs or MPs were invited.

  • This fringe wasn’t about the SDLP – it was about the need of these families for truth and for justice for the wrongs done to them, by state or paramilitary forces. That is the whole point! Shame on those who tried to make this an issue about Margaret Walsh or anyone else who worked to bring this event about. It would suit more for them to blog calling for the murderers of Paul Quinn to give themselves up.

    http://northbynorthwestblog.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/a-vibrant-sdlp-conference/

  • North by Northwest,

    In all the killings which have occured, say in the last fifty years, in all countries in these islands, political or criminal, how many people have walked into a police station and admitted their guilt? I am sure the answer is very few. To appeal to murderers to give themselves up is plainly a waste of time, so why make such an appeal??

    John O’Connell,

    As a practising satanist myself, I am sick and tired of your constant sectarian, ney RACIST abuse, which seeps out of your pores and is directed against the followers of lucifer!
    If you do not desist from this outpouring of intolerance against my fellow devil whorshippers, I would have no other option than to report you to equality commission!!
    PS. As a gesture of good will, I will send you some of my Dennis Wheatley novels!!

  • Paul

    I suppose you feel that you are unusual in this society as a practising satanist, but if you define Satanism as being the cherishing of the empire – i.e. opposed to Christ – small or great, then you are actually in the majority.

    Are you a unionist or just a trainee satanist?

  • Kathleen, as you suspect, you missed a quite amazing and powerful fringe meeting. I have to say that I have found the discourse in the comments section above extremely disappointing, given the gravity of the subject matter discussed at the meeting.

    Anyway, I have added a bit more background on the meeting itself over at Belfast and Beyond, if anyone is interested, as well as a pointer towards this Wednesday’s much-trailed Eames-Bradley report.

  • North By Northwest

    Shame on those who tried to make this an issue about Margaret Walsh …

    Patrick Corrigan

    I have found the discourse in the comments section above extremely disappointing …

    I make absolutely no apology for being one of those who commented on MW. If Kathleen includes value judgements about her in her Blog entry, then they are part of the topic. It is not off-topic to take issue with anything written in the blog. The fault lies, unfortuntely, with Kathleen, for her sloppy journalism (yes, I know this is not strictly ‘journluism’, but the same rules apply). If she makes her personal admiration for MW part of the story (and she did), then commenters are fully entitled to respond to it.

    This site seriously needs some training for its bloggers. They need to learn to either keep their personal opinions out of the stories, or to accept that those (expressed) feelings become part of the discourse.

  • Kathleen

    Horseman I make no apologies for saying MW is a hard worker, and gave my reasons for it. I’ve no problem including value judgements for others to take issue with. What I do have issue with is tunnel visioned commentators like yourself focusing on one aspect of the entire post and making that central, without looking around at the other issues.

    If you don’t like my blogging, don’t read my posts. If you can do better than I contact Mick and tell him so. Until then my view is that MW is a hard worker and if mick has a problem with me saying that, its in his hands. If you’re looking in….. Or offering to train us bloggers…. Considering your own blog is so top notch…..

    Do try and look around at the rest of the post? What nothing to say on justice for the innocent?

    Thought not. And so Patricks observation about poor commentating is as valid as yours on poor blogging. So your poor blogging comment is a bit like pot and kettle imv.

  • Kathleen

    Patrick I had a look at Belfast and Beyond. You gave excellent coverage of the event. Thanks for the link.

  • Kathleen,

    If you don’t like my blogging, don’t read my posts.

    The same, of course, goes for comments. If you don’t like them, don’t read them!

    Unlike the MSM, this medium is designed to allow reader feed-back. If you don’t like receiving such feedback – on all aspects of your posts – then I suggest you move over to the unresponsive mainstream. If you want feedback and comments only on the issue of justice for the innocent, then please keep your unnecessary (and distracting) value judgements about your friends out of the post! If they’re in the post, then they are part of the story, and until Mick changes the comment facility, I am entirely entitled to comment on them. Your attempts to limit what I can comment on to only what you choose seems to be somewhat censorious. The simple way around the problem is for you to keep unnecessary material out of the posts. Deal with the story only – don’t use the post to try to push MW’s election prospects – it takes away from the story you are, apparently, trying to blog about.

  • Kathleen

    Now you’re contradicting yourself horseman.

    on all aspects of your posts

    That is my point exactly. All aspects of the post, so far at least in this post you have made no comments or feedback on anything else but one aspect which is Margaret Walsh. Then you complain of value judgements by making one of your own about my blogging.

    Let me relieve you of Margaret Walsh being a personal friend. I know Margaret only because she has been so active in this constituency. Thats why I interviewed her, and that is why I say she works hard.

    Now on all aspects of the post, which you clearly want to comment on, or was it only one aspect? Namely tunnel vision. You’ve made a comment and you want to be right, is that it?

  • Kathleen

    don’t use the post to try to push MW’s election prospects

    AFAIK she has retired from active politics, but don’t let that stop you from jumping to wrong conclusions…

  • Kathleen,

    I am under no obligation whatsoever to reply to all aspects of your post if I do not so wish. Please stop trying to tell commenters what they should comment on – it looks a tad dictatorial!

    As for MW’s interest in ‘active politics’, firstly, if she is so “hard working” then she seems to still be pretty active. Or do you think only standing in elections actually matters? And I thought it was the voters of the Lower Falls who ‘retired’ her in 2005. If she had been elected then, then I imgine she would still be a councillor now. So her ‘retirement’ seems to have not been fully her own choice!

    PS If you want to drop the nonsense about MW, then feel free. I’m prepared to argue my side till the cows come home.

    😉

  • Kathleen

    Shes active enough for her age. As I said before its all in the way you look at it.

    Or do you think only standing in elections actually matters?

    I thought it was you who did that?

    And I thought it was the voters of the Lower Falls who ‘retired’ her in 2005.

    No. Retirement calls for other considerations. A person can stand and lose and run again and again. Age can become a factor, as can other family interests for any politician.

    If she had been elected then, then I imgine she would still be a councillor now

    Thats a hypothetical argument.

    PS If you want to drop the nonsense about MW, then feel free.

    I’m in for the long haul..

    I am under no obligation whatsoever to reply to all aspects of your post if I do not so wish. Please stop trying to tell commenters what they should comment on – it looks a tad dictatorial!

    You want to talk about Margaret? Let’s go…

    You are not entitled to give advice 🙂 Only successful people can do that 🙂

    Next!

  • Kathleen

    O dear horseman, please don’t tell me you’ve- err- gone away you know:)

  • please don’t tell me you’ve- err- gone away

    Lunch is my human right, Kathleen! Just to let you know, I may also do some work this afternoon, so you won’t have my undivided attention 😉

    If MW has ‘retired’ from politics, then what is she “hard working” at? Remember your very words: “ … the SDLP’s own very hard working Margaret Walsh…. ” – there you have notions of politics (“the SDLP’s”) and activity (“hard working”). Is she in the SDLP but working hard on her PhD thesis? Or on her garden? If it isn’t politics that she is actively working on, then why mention it at all, still less with her party affiliation in the sentence?

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again – if politics is her thing, she’s bad at it. Being “hard working” is no recommendation if you’re flogging the wrong message. And to get progessively smaller shares of the vote!!! She must really not know what ‘her’ people want, despite all of her efforts. They know what they want, though … it just wasn’t her!

  • Kathleen

    Lunch is my human right, Kathleen! Just to let you know, I may also do some work this afternoon, so you won’t have my undivided attention 😉

    Lunch is my right too, I’ve work to do to, but if I said that you’d be saying I always have an excuse to go somewhere. So lets finish this today? Put off everything, as I will, and we can sort this out.

    If MW has ‘retired’ from politics, then what is she “hard working” at? Remember your very words: ” … the SDLP’s own very hard working Margaret Walsh…. ” – there you have notions of politics (“the SDLP’s”) and activity (“hard working”). Is she in the SDLP but working hard on her PhD thesis? Or on her garden? If it isn’t politics that she is actively working on, then why mention it at all, still less with her party affiliation in the sentence?

    I already told you she answers the phone in the constituency office… I mentioned it, again as I already told you because of her long standing service, that stretches way back into the 70’s…

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again – if politics is her thing, she’s bad at it. Being “hard working” is no recommendation if you’re flogging the wrong message. And to get progessively smaller shares of the vote!!! She must really not know what ‘her’ people want, despite all of her efforts. They know what they want, though … it just wasn’t her!

    That goes for everything. I already said we’d have to disagree on whether she was hard working or not. But you can’t have it both ways…

    Or do you think only standing in elections actually matters?

    No I don’t, but you do. You equate hard work with success in elections, where as I equate hard work with working hard for what you believe in. If a person has principles, and beliefs and work hard at trying to bring them to fruition then hard work isn’t wasted.

    Thats your values.. Success = hard work. So going by your values If I were you I’d dump that blog of yours…. 🙂 (just kidding … ahem. )

    Next!!

  • Kathleen

    HELLO horseman…. 🙂 Your rider hasn’t fallen off has he?

    Where are you?

  • Kathleen

    I’m prepared to argue my side till the cows come home.

    😉

    Cows are almost home horseman!!

  • Put off everything, as I will, and we can sort this out.

    Sorry, but my boss may disagree. You’ll have to make do with the gaps in between other things.

    Your defence of MW looks more and more threadbare with every post. “She answers the phone in the constituency office”, but is ‘retired from politics’? Which is it? Has she retired, or is she still active?

    And we both know tht the power in politics comes from elected office. No councillors, no power. In Lower Falls the SDLP has no councillors, and in Belfast as a whole they are not making any progress (9, 7, 9, 8 councillors in the past four elections). If you really think that MW is happy answering the phones, rather than sitting in City Hall actually doing things, then you don’t understand politics. Being a councillor gives you influence and authority beyond the dreams of a constituency worker. A “hard working” councillor can actually change things and affect people’s lives – a “hard working” constituency worker (in an electoral area without an SDLP councillor) can do so much less.

    If she is “hard working” and gets pleasure from that, then that’s great for her. But it does very little for her party or its principles. And to be honest, if she is so “hard working” but fails as a politician there can be only a few conclusions: either her parties principles are unpopular, or she is unpopular. If it’s the first, then her “hard work” is in vain, and she’s wasting her time. Some politicians, by hard work and perseverance, can turn a minor party into a real force. MW has failed to do that. Hence she is either a bad politician, or the SDLP is really going down the chutes. If the problem is MW herself (i.e. not popular), then both she and the SDLP ought to recognise it and stand her down. It seems she single-handedly killed off the SDLP in the Lower Falls! Amazing achievement.

  • Kathleen

    Your defence of MW looks more and more threadbare with every post. “She answers the phone in the constituency office”, but is ‘retired from politics’? Which is it? Has she retired, or is she still active?

    Now horseman in all seriousness if you can’t tell the difference between answering the phone and being a counsellor then we may as well call it a day. Even if she were doing other work, like sitting on a committee or womens group (and I’ve no knowledge of her activities) that still would not equate her with an elected rep at city hall.

    You made your comments on the mistaken belief I was trying to improve her electoral chances, not so.

    And we both know tht the power in politics comes from elected office. No councillors, no power. In Lower Falls the SDLP has no councillors, and in Belfast as a whole they are not making any progress (9, 7, 9, 8 councillors in the past four elections). If you really think that MW is happy answering the phones, rather than sitting in City Hall actually doing things, then you don’t understand politics. Being a councillor gives you influence and authority beyond the dreams of a constituency worker. A “hard working” councillor can actually change things and affect people’s lives – a “hard working” constituency worker (in an electoral area without an SDLP councillor) can do so much less.

    You’re off again on that hypothetical stuff horse… She looked perfectly happy to me the last time I spoke to her. You can’t make value judgements and point the finger at others for it. Fact is you don’t know her personal happiness factor so your point is nonsense.

    If she is “hard working” and gets pleasure from that, then that’s great for her. But it does very little for her party or its principles. And to be honest, if she is so “hard working” but fails as a politician there can be only a few conclusions: either her parties principles are unpopular, or she is unpopular. If it’s the first, then her “hard work” is in vain, and she’s wasting her time. Some politicians, by hard work and perseverance, can turn a minor party into a real force. MW has failed to do that. Hence she is either a bad politician, or the SDLP is really going down the chutes. If the problem is MW herself (i.e. not popular), then both she and the SDLP ought to recognise it and stand her down. It seems she single-handedly killed off the SDLP in the Lower Falls! Amazing achievement.

    That is brilliant in its absurdity! If she was so unpopular she wouldn’t have lasted over 20 years. Her party’s policies cannot be blamed on her alone.

    Some politicians, by hard work and perseverance, can turn a minor party into a real force. MW has failed to do that. Hence she is either a bad politician, or the SDLP is really going down the chutes.

    You don’t know she failed to do that. The party may have been down the chutes long before this but for her. Until you can seperate out the factors – and you can’t do that without a survey – to back up your argument you’re on thin ice….

    Next!!

  • Not just the voters – now even the SDLP have dumped her. Take a look at her ‘profile’ on the SDLP womens web page:

    http://www.sdlp.ie/womens_magwalsh.php

    She didn’t ‘last over 20 years’, Kathleen. She was elected precisely twice, for a total of 8 years in office. She failed in 1993, and after the voters had seen her in action she was turfed out in 2005. So she got elected in 1997 (when the SDLP got 16.2% of the vote in Lower Falls, and in 2001 (when they slipped to 15.9%). In 2005, with MW as the sole SDLP candidate, the SDLP got 11.9% of the vote and she lost her seat.

    I’m glad she’s happy, but that doesn’t achieve much politically for her, her party, or her electorate.

  • Kathleen

    Not just the voters – now even the SDLP have dumped her. Take a look at her ‘profile’ on the SDLP womens web page

    They haven’t dumped her, she isn’t a councillor… or anything to have a profile on anymore. She answers phones in the office. Does your local rep have a profile on the person who answers the phone in his/her office?

    She didn’t ‘last over 20 years’, Kathleen.

    tisk horseman You’re still equating hard work with electoral success… She’s been a party member and worker for its ideals for over 20 years.. right back to Gerry Fitt. Infact Alban McGuinnes was only coming out of uni and MW was in the SDLP

  • Kathleen

    Next!!

    forgot that 🙂

  • They haven’t dumped her, she isn’t a councillor …

    Ouch! So you are only valuable (or ‘profilable’) to the SDLP if you are an elected representative? What a nasty party! As soon as you fuil, you are relegated to answering the phones, and your years of service are forgotten? No wonder people have turned off the SDLP.

    Are there no other jobs for someone so “hard working”? Can the SDLP not fix her up on some quango or other? The fact that they don’t do so might just hint at something … like that they also don’t rate her too highly?

    Why, if she was “hard working” when Alban McGinness was only a youngster, is she not the SDLP’s candidate for Europe? He, after all, still has a real job!

  • Kathleen

    There you go again with those value arguments. You can’t bring values in because you ruled them out. So

    Ouch! So you are only valuable (or ‘profilable’) to the SDLP if you are an elected representative? What a nasty party! As soon as you fuil, you are relegated to answering the phones, and your years of service are forgotten? No wonder people have turned off the SDLP.

    goes all the way back to that argument. How do you know she isn’t happy answering phones?

    Why, if she was “hard working” when Alban McGinness was only a youngster, is she not the SDLP’s candidate for Europe? He, after all, still has a real job!

    I could argue thats because of her gender, and the same opportunities that were there for educated men weren’t there for uneducated working class woman but then we’d have to widen the argument and you only want to talk about margaret and not focus on her age and?or gender…..

    You ruled that out to, so we can’t talk about Alban according to you, he’s not in the post, and I’m here at your request to focus on Margaret…

    I’m not changing your rules at this stage, too dictorial!!

  • I’d happily talk about MW’s age or gender if you like. I don’t know her age, but by the way you talk about her she sounds ancient! I know plenty of people (in and out of politics) who are over 65 and manage fine, so I think that excuse for her failure might be spurious. Her gender is in no doubt, but there also the argument is pretty spurious. In Lower Falls three of the five councillors elected in 2005 were women, so there is clearly no inbuilt bias. In fact, if anything the bias is against men (50% of the candidates, but only 40% of the seats). MW failed because of something inherent in herself or her party. Since her party scored fairly well overall in Belfast (17.1% of the vote, against 17.4% in 2001), then there was no huge swing against the SDLP … just against MW.

    So if her age is not really a factor (unless you can argue that it held her back), her gender is apparently an advantage, and her party was not in melt-down, why did she manage to lose 751 votes, or 37% of her 2001 total? The overall poll in Lower Falls fell by 16.4% from 2001 to 2005 – MW’s vote fell by 37% !

    The fault must lie with her, not with some lame excuse about age or gender – that’s just a cop-out. The fact that you believe her to be a “hard worker”, while her constituents clearly think that she was useless, makes your opinion questionable. If “hard work” lost her 751 votes, then maybe she should re-think her whole strategy. Or listen to her constituents (maybe this could be part of her re-think?)

  • Correction:

    … the bias is against men (50% of the candidates, but only 40% of the seats). ..

    Only 42.8% of the candidates were men (3 out of seven), but still only 40% of the seats went to men. And I guess men were close to 50% of the electorate, so there is still some inbuilt advantage to women in Lower Falls.

  • Kathleen

    I’d happily talk about MW’s age or gender if you like.

    No. You ruled it out, so its out.

    who are over 65 and manage fine,

    Absolutely. But you can’t make that judgement for her, or judge her hard work on the basis of it. Simply because neither you nor I know of any health family personal reasons that went into her decision if any. It may be she decided she’d had enough, it may be she lucked out in her last try and didn’t feel up to it again, we don’t know the reason, but no more value arguments. You have continually tried to bring them in after ruling them out. You can’t have it both ways.

    So if her age is not really a factor (unless you can argue that it held her back), her gender is apparently an advantage, and her party was not in melt-down, why did she manage to lose 751 votes, or 37% of her 2001 total? The overall poll in Lower Falls fell by 16.4% from 2001 to 2005 – MW’s vote fell by 37% !

    There you go again mixing up stuff. By 2001 things for women in politics had changed. It could be argued that were it not for women like margaret who paved the way it may not have been so good for the others. They may have had stronger teams behind them. But you ruled out the feminist argument. Her gender wasn’t an advantage in the seventies in the lower falls. Neither do we know if she wanted to climb higher in the party. Not without talking to her.

    The fault must lie with her,

    Again we’re back to the same argument. Without a survey you won’t know whether any failure of the SDLP in the lower falls is Margarets fault, or that of party policy. As I said before she may have held it together for them or they’d have been a lost cause long ago….

    You simply don’t know.

    (maybe this could be part of her re-think?)

    What rethink is that?

  • Kathleen

    Considering the SDLP is in meltdown all over its hardly a leap of judgement to say that it is more likely to be the fault of party policy that the fault of one person…

    Plus she didn’t have a huge backup at her disposal. Her support group compared to that of other women candidates in the LF is also a factor outside of her control…

  • What rethink is that?

    The one she would need to do if she still harbours any political ambition.

    You may be right, she may have given up. You know her (I don’t), so why don’t you ask her? She certinly hasn’t given up on political work according to you, but if she is still pursuing it through the failed methods of her past, then I guess she will be damaging the SDLP even more!

    The statistics I have given you in previous posts demonstrate quite clearly that the fault cannot lie entirely with the SDLP. They did not lose 37% of their 2001 vote in 2005. MW did. The voters decided, and she became history. Her party has now also largely dropped her. I’m sorry for the woman – she wanted office in 2005, but failed. She served the SDLP for a generation but was dropped like a stone. The story reflects sadly on her, and badly on her party.

    To get back (eventually) to your initial point. If MW is “very hard working” then she should have either held up her vote, or bucked the SDLP’s trend. She did neither. She probably scored worst out of all the SDLP’s sitting councillors in 2005. What’s the reason? That voters in the Lower Falls turned against a “hard working” committed local councillor? Do you really think so badly of the people of the lower Falls? I don’t – I think that the voters reward hard work, ability, commitment, etc. If they punished MW over and above the mild punishment the SDLP received, it was because either she was not actually a “hard worker” or she was just plain useless.

  • Kathleen

    What rethink is that?

    The one she would need to do if she still harbours any political ambition.

    Do you know if she has any?

    You may be right, she may have given up. You know her (I don’t), so why don’t you ask her? She certinly hasn’t given up on political work according to you, but if she is still pursuing it through the failed methods of her past, then I guess she will be damaging the SDLP even more!

    I hardly think answering phones will damage the SDLP. Nonsense argument.

    The statistics I have given you in previous posts demonstrate quite clearly that the fault cannot lie entirely with the SDLP. They did not lose 37% of their 2001 vote in 2005. MW did. The voters decided, and she became history. Her party has now also largely dropped her. I’m sorry for the woman – she wanted office in 2005, but failed. She served the SDLP for a generation but was dropped like a stone. The story reflects sadly on her, and badly on her party.

    Not so. For example there may have been a lack of other names to go forward, and rather than not contest the seat the party may have decided to ask her to put her name forward. Her heart may not have been in it, and along with that poor support backup would have helped in defeat. You nor I know the ins and outs of the decision back then for her name to go forward. She may have decided that its time for younger people to have their chance. In which case she wouldn’t have been dropped like a stone, but decided to remove herself for what ever reason.

    The statistics I have given you in previous posts demonstrate quite clearly that the fault cannot lie entirely with the SDLP. They did not lose 37% of their 2001 vote in 2005. MW did. The voters decided, and she became history. Her party has now also largely dropped her. I’m sorry for the woman – she wanted office in 2005, but failed. She served the SDLP for a generation but was dropped like a stone. The story reflects sadly on her, and badly on her party.

    They lost all over. They came out of the last general election like the UUP almost in complete meltdown. It was a bitter election, with the DUP and SF looking to see who could be biggest. Efforts to turn out were immense. Thats hardly surprising she lost out, Attwood only got in by hte skin of his teeth as I recall. Lots of factors outside of her control…. You simply cannot blame the failure of an entire party on one person. If she was useles and the party left her there thats not her fault, but theirs.

    That voters in the Lower Falls turned against a “hard working” committed local councillor?

    That phenomenon has happened in general elections the other way about. Blow ins put into office over local hard workers, doesn’t mean the locals didn’t work hard enough, but a brand name can sell..

  • Kathleen

    There is also another problem with judgements based on statistics. You simply don’t know how many of those who failed to turn out for her last election were SDLP supporters. What percentage of the stats you quote is the percentage of turnout? How big or small was turnout when she last stood, and then there is the unknown, who were those who didn’t turn out? Were they mainly SDLP supporters?

    Small things like party’s organising taxis to go to polling booths, is another factor too.

  • Considering the SDLP is in meltdown all over its hardly a leap of judgement to say that it is more likely to be the fault of party policy that the fault of one person…

    The SDLP was not in melt-down. I showed you that.

    Plus she didn’t have a huge backup at her disposal. Her support group compared to that of other women candidates in the LF is also a factor outside of her control…

    “Women candidates” is an irrelevancy. They are candidates pure and simple.

    If she had few supporters, that is a measure of her own failure, not the cause of it. A long-serving, “hard working” councillor who lacks supporters, and loses 751 votes! Um, wake up and smell the coffee, Kathleen.

  • Kathleen

    She probably scored worst out of all the SDLP’s sitting councillors in 2005. What’s the reason?

    Do you have any evidence for that? And again there may have been other councillors from other partys who polled even worse, so what does that say??

    Jumping on the fact that I tried to improve her electoral chances was a blunder on your part, and blaming her for her partys fortunes that have tumbled all over, is your second blunder.

  • Insider

    As a constituent I know that Margaret Walsh is indeed a hard worker, however when doing that work she wasn’t only thinking of personal or party advantage. She does not deserve to be a victim in a public slanging match here.

    The lack of local party support/direction is not entirely Margaret’s fault but should have been the responsibility of those nominated to higher positions of influence in the constituency.

    Indeed maybe she was seen as an Attwood proxy.

  • Kathleen

    Plus she didn’t have a huge backup at her disposal. Her support group compared to that of other women candidates in the LF is also a factor outside of her control…

    “Women candidates” is an irrelevancy. They are candidates pure and simple.

    Agreed but you compared her to other women. However the other candidates of what ever gender had more backup than she had.

  • … Blow ins put into office over local hard workers, doesn’t mean the locals didn’t work hard enough..

    She was the only SDLP candidate in LF in 2005. There were no blow ins. She hsd a clear run and failed. The voters turned against her, not the SDLP (see the other DEAs).

    Small things like party’s organising taxis to go to polling booths, is another factor too.

    And who, precisely gets these things organised? A “hard worker”, that’s who! If she didn’t do the work necessary to get re-elected, then all the “hard work” was in vain. The fact that she was, according to you, “working hard”, but failed to do the basic things necessary to get her vote out means that she was, as I have repeatedly said, useless.

  • Kathleen

    She does not deserve to be a victim in a public slanging match here.

    I absolutely agree with you. Horseman thats two constituents of hers that says she is a hard worker. You were saying she wasn’t one as not one of her constituents.

  • Just to step back for a second, Kathleen, culd you give some examples of her “hard work”? It may help us to understand why she failed so dismally.

  • … thats two constituents of hers that says she is a hard worker …

    I think my 751 trumps your two!

    😉

  • Kathleen

    She was the only SDLP candidate in LF in 2005. There were no blow ins. She hsd a clear run and failed. The voters turned against her, not the SDLP (see the other DEAs).

    There you go again mixing stuff up. I never said there were any blow in but spoke of blowins in general elections in other circumstances.

    And who, precisely gets these things organised? A “hard worker”, that’s who! If she didn’t do the work necessary to get re-elected, then all the “hard work” was in vain. The fact that she was, according to you, “working hard”, but failed to do the basic things necessary to get her vote out means that she was, as I have repeatedly said, useless.

    It’s like insider says, she never worked with personal or party advantage in mind…….

    Thats the difference. You don’t know what you are talking about. Some people are in there to serve others, not themselves. Selfless people, like Margaret.

  • Kathleen

    You never got away from your basic flawed values. Equating hard work with electoral success and nothing else.

    Sad.

  • I never said there were any blow in but spoke of blowins in general elections in other circumstances.

    Um, so what … ? We’re talking about MW. She was only a councillor – General Elections are a complete red herring. MW had no trouble with blow-ins, she just had trouble convincing the voters of LF to elect her again.

    Some people are in there to serve others, not themselves. Selfless people, like Margaret.

    Spare me the adoration. If she had ‘served’ people then they would, presumably, have voted for her. But 751 people who voted for her in 2001 did not do so again in 2005. That is a colossal collapse of confidence. As I have (repeatedly) said, her “hard work” was for nothing if she failed to get re-elected. Is she a social worker? A nurse? No, she was trying to help people via politics, but thanks to her failure to get re-elected (her fault as well as her party’s) she cannot do that now!

    Lots of people “work hard” but fail. In most cases (the IRSP, Eamon McCann, Willie Frazer, …) they are in no doubt whatsoever that they are unpopular, or are swimming against the flow. But relatively few achieve a position (Belfast City Councillor) and manage to lose it so badly. If the whole SDLP had been wiped out, then MW’s failure could be put in that context. But the SDLP did quite OK, and lost only one seat in Belfast … hers! They gained percentage in Pottinger, Victoria, Balmoral and Laganbank, and only lost small support in Castle. Their worst losses were in the Falls and Oldpark. Now I’m sure you think of a reason for that (?), but since MW was most active in LF (where the percentage fall was greatest) she must bear a significant part of the blame. Unless (as I have already said) you are accusing LF voters of being ungrateful bastards, then her “hard work” must have been mis-directed, i.e. politically inept!

  • Kathleen

    Without a poll of the 751 voters you’re surmising. You are saying on bahalf of those people that Margaret Walsh is useless. Thats arrogance. You simply don’t know why they decided otherwise, and until you poll and ask them that argument won’t stand.

    No, she was trying to help people via politics, but thanks to her failure to get re-elected (her fault as well as her party’s) she cannot do that now!

    Why do you say that? I know many ex councillors who freely give out advice and work elsewhere, and still help people. I believe if someone went to her for help she’d give it, or direct them to it.

    And helping people out isn’t a guarantee of electoral success. A person can be helped out via the sdlp and still decide to vote sf or vice versa. You are assuming….. again.

  • glen taisie

    Conor Murphy failed in 2001 to get elected as acouncillor for Newry town, was he rejected by the people or useless?

  • Kathleen

    About your assumptions.

    You assumed I was trying to improve her electoral prospects by saying she was a hard worker.

    Wrong.

    Then you assumed without any personal knowledge of the woman that she wasn’t a hard worker and that is why 700 people didn’t vote for her. On that assumption you went on to be spokesperson for those 700 odd people and say that because they decided to vote differently it was this womans fault. Pure arrogance. I’m beginning to wonder if it is worth debating with someone who argues or tries to argue on that basis.

    You’ve engaged in manplaying with Margaret Walsh, dissing her character publicly on the grounds that saying she was a hard worker was against blogging rules, or your rules….

    Your position is flawed, in regards to Mrw Walsh I should really remove all this man playing, but then you’d scream censorship, and try to give bloggers here advice on hte basis of your successful blog…..

    Amazing.

  • Kathleen

    It’s been over an hour now horseman. Did you hear that bang. Thats the farmer closing the gate.

    Cows are home.

  • chewnic

    Go and get a life, Kathleen, for God’s sake.

  • Fuck sake

    now chewie theres a useless cunt if ever anybody wuz useless! Kathleen u wasted ur efforts. These fuckers r a pack of shit

  • Nigglepoo

    Thanks for this thread it’s been so funny.

    Looks like the SDLP will have to add this dame Walsh to the list of cases next time it runs one of these whingefests.