Why shouldn’t I vote for SF?

My vote is up for grabs and I’ve even claimed a cigarette from a canvasser will get it. It’s my first election where SF aren’t automatically guaranteed a No.1 and then the rest of them transfers in a way most likely to damage the stoops.

I left SF a few years back and am unhappy with many things like their attitude to the PSNI/RUC, lack of any left policies delivered in Stormont, implementing things like PPP/PFI (Workplace), screwing class-room assistants, failing to deliver an ILA, abolishing academic selection or anything else of substance and criminalising forms of republicanism they reject.

But when it comes down to it, what has that got to do with Europe? I don’t get on with Bairbre but I still respect most of their European team. When it comes to European policies, voting records, partners, positions, groups they bring out and anything that actually has to do with Europe there isn’t a cigarette paper’s worth of difference between what I’d like to see an MEP do in Europe and what SF actually do.

There has been no canvasser round this door from SF yet, I’m probably seen as ‘white’ (SF marking for an absolute no chance of a vote) but if we are voting on Europe, I really should be one of SF’s best chances of a Number One – I do agree with them on Europe.

I’m still more likely to spoil my ballot than anything but if I was voting on the issues it’d be a certainty SF got my vote. I wonder how many others are considering their vote on the basis of anything other than what it is really about?

Maybe I should reconsider.

  • Have you checked out the policies of SDLP, Alliance and the Green Party? Why spoil your ballot when there are three other parties out there that might be able to represent you?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    If you feel that they have deserted their principles at local,Stormont and London levels, then surely your discontent is bound to carry on to Brussels? For example,take Jim Allister. He hasn’t put a foot wrong in Brussels so why not vote for him? A unionist is a unionist etc etc.

  • GGN

    Mark,

    I am constantly being told that ‘this community won’t stand for it’ and that ‘this community is going to rise up againist Sinn Féin’ etc. etc.

    i am perplexed therefore as to why no non Sinn Féin republican group has elected to stand in this election (maybe I am wrong?).

    Can you give us any insight into the thinking here?

    I have been informed that the ‘the people of West Belfast are too brainwashed to see through Sinn Féin’. Is this the reason in your opinion.

    If the ‘people’ and ‘the community’ are not the same then who in God’s name are the Community?

    The Community Sector? An intellectual elite?

    All I can say as to you spoling your vote, which is your right is please don’t, vote for someone.

    Spoiling your vote wont change anything.

    An it certainly won’t ‘send a message to Sinn Féin’ as I am told.

  • Mark McGregor

    You seem to be missing my point. I find it almost impossible to disagree with SF’s positions and work in Europe regardless of how I feel about them locally.

    If I was to make my vote selection on what we are voting on, Europe, I’d be giving them my first preference with a possible two for the Greens and then stopping there.

    Doesn’t seem as if this election is about Europe though and I doubt SF will treat votes garned as solely supporting that aspect of their ‘project’.

  • Mark McGregor

    GGN,

    I have no insights into the views of others. I was disappointed that a wide based Duffy campaign didn’t come about – though that had nothing to do with European issues.

    I note that éirígí agreed electoralism was open to them at their Ard Fheis this weekend and the IRSP have previously declared an intention to stand in future council elections. We will have to wait and see if either ‘piss or get off the pot’.

    We are talking about the current election though and voting on policy and record. Neither of those groups are standing. For a barely reconstructed Connollyite (Marxist), SF’s record in Europe doesn’t carry many black marks.

    So why aren’t I front of the queue?

  • caoimhin

    ‘lack of any left policies delivered in Stormont, implementing things like PPP/PFI (Workplace), screwing class-room assistants, failing to deliver an ILA, abolishing academic selection’

    Mark I agree with the former arguements but could abolishing academic selection not be considered ‘left policies’.

    I think your a little confused. Maybe your vote should wait until next time round.

  • alan56

    Mark

    You could vote for Alban… seems like a decent bloke and he shares some of your aspirations. He would probably do a half decent job in Europe.

  • Mark McGregor

    caoimhin,

    Meant to say ‘failure to abolish academic selection’.

    Alan,

    Alban had his chance, he decided to shoot the breeze and encourage me not to spoil my ballot over any real attempt to sell himself. He was ‘decent’ though, just didn’t sell anything left or republican when he had his opportunity – I doubt he had it to offer.

  • alan56

    Mark

    I agree but if you are really interested in leftist politics then who is there to choose from.
    I cannot see any of the candidates who stand a chance of election espouse genuine leftist policies. You might have to vote on another criteria…. then what is the choice?

  • Mark McGregor

    Alan,

    My point is, and I don’t like it, if you take local stuff out of the equation, SF really do work on the left of European Parliamentary politics.

    I can’t think of a vote they’ve put a foot wrong on.

    That’s my question. I disagree with so much of what they represent in Ireland today but as a socialist I can’t see what else they could have done better in Europe or any electoral alternative to them.

    So I vote on the issue at hand or my problems with them in Ireland?

  • alan56

    Yes Mark, but there is no real sign of delivery of a leftist agenda where SF are in power…here in NI. When a deal has to be done, in this case with the DUP, then pragmatism seems to take priority over any leftist ideals. Can you imagine a scenario at Stormont where the whole thing would be brought down in a battle over left/right issues. I don’t think so

  • Mark McGregor

    Alan,

    That’s the whole point of the blog. Are we voting on Stormont or what they did in Europe?

  • John O’Connell

    Mark, have you ever thought of the possibility that those seeking election would prefer not to have your vote as it might send out a signal that egomaniacs vote for me?

  • alan56

    My view is that you decide by looking at what a party do when they have power and not easy oppositional politics

  • Trade unionist

    “Can you imagine a scenario at Stormont where the whole thing would be brought down in a battle over left/right issues.”

    It would make a big change from it being brought down, brought to a standstill or stagnating on the pure orange vs green basis that we saw in the recent past and which we continue to witness.

  • MacBeth

    Has Sinn Fein stuck it to the Irish language in Europe just like they have stuck it to the language under the Sinn Fein Department of Education?
    I imagine the language does not fit in with their politics of integration on everyone else’s terms, but not for the benefit of the local communities they claim to represent.
    What has Bairbre DeBrun done in recent memory for the Irish language? Maybe I missed something, but I am not aware that she has done a damn thing.

  • ABC

    Who should a dissident Republican (who I recognise eschews violence, before anyone gets all holier-than-thou):

    Hmmm let’s see now:

    1. The Eirigi boys want to tear down Stormont.
    2. They want troops back on the streets.
    3. They want a return to direct rule.

    Sound familiar? A vote for Allister would seem the best way of advancing a dissident Republican agenda to me…..

    cue Archie Purple, Turgon et al. howling like banshees!

  • Mark McGregor

    ABC,

    Those éirígí fellas sound just pure awful. Thank christ I’m nothing to do with with them.

    Or maybe you are bullshitting?

  • ABC

    Maybe I am!! LOL!!

  • Driftwood

    Pity UKIP don’t put Frank Carson up for election here Mark
    He’s your man.

    As for Bairbre, I’m pretty sure she was in many early 1970’s Hammer films, Lesbian Vampire Circus etc..
    Usually a schoolmistress of some sort, I’m sure there’s a website, she wasn’t really an ‘Ingrid Pitt’ type though?

  • looking for a change

    ‘I note that éirígí agreed electoralism was open to them at their Ard Fheis this weekend and the IRSP have previously declared an intention to stand in future council elections. We will have to wait and see if either ‘piss or get off the pot’.’

    I’m getting more interested in éirigí as an alternative to SF after attending a recent event of theirs in Conway Mill. My own opinion, talking to a few people that night to find our exactly where they’re coming from, is that they will follow through on this election decision.

  • Comrade Stalin

    As for Bairbre, I’m pretty sure she was in many early 1970’s Hammer films, Lesbian Vampire Circus etc..
    Usually a schoolmistress of some sort, I’m sure there’s a website, she wasn’t really an ‘Ingrid Pitt’ type though?

    Driftwood, is this an example of UCUNF’s fresh new constructive approach to politics ? Or is it the old Unionist in your seeping through the cracks ?

  • fin

    Mark, republicans have no friends in Ireland

  • Brian MacAodh

    Don’t bother voting at all. Save 30 minutes of your life

  • Danny O’Connor

    Mark,do I detect a note of regret that Duffy didn’t stand.

  • Driftwod

    Comrade Stalin
    I speak only as a Tory (old school) and Hammer film afficiando. No UCUNF (very UN sounding)involvement. But don’t you have any of those old Dario Argento DVD’s? You have to admit the imagery.
    Iris and Diane maybe….But Babs? At least Hattie Jaques had a sense of humour.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    I note, in one candidate’s online manifesto, the following-
    1. EU Funding for social economy
    2. EU Funding for Irish language broadcasting and publications
    3. Modification of Lisbon Treaty.

    Should that not be a challenger for your first pref?

  • Brian MacAodh

    I wish Duffy would have run, just to see what kind of vote he would get.

  • Dave

    True, there isn’t likely to be much support for a candidate who is opposed to British rule. Northern Ireland: 45% catholic, 95% unionist. 😉

  • blinding

    There only so much time any political party can expend on kissing one individuals ass.

    It is made more difficult when that individual is disappearing up his own ass.

    Move along nothing to be gained here.

  • Glen Taisie

    Bairbre is such a brilliant revolutionary,she has asked 2 oral questions in 5 years, Fianna Fail’s Brian Crowley’s record is 103 Labours David Martin came in at 98.

    I haven’t seen anySinn Fein canvassers either previously they would defend the “armed struggle”, Northern Bank,Robert McCartney,Paul Quinn, the Disappeared etc but try them with “You aren’t very good in government” and they go speechlees

  • Doctor Who

    So Mark had Colin Duffy stood in the euro elections, would you be voting for him on the basis that he has a clear and concise policy on europe, or would it be that he and his comrades wish to take us back to the dark days and tear down Stormount.

    Can you also point out the “leftist” principles that Eirigi claim to carry, and how they measure against the attempted murder of pizza delivery men.

  • daisy

    If SF do a good job in Europe, they’re still using a tribal method to canvas people’s votes. Two canvassers called round our way the other evening. I watched as the man pointed out to the woman which houses to go to in our happily mixed development (presumably on the basis of names on the electoral register since I’d never seen either of them before). They came to my door and I told them that their ethnic selection policy ensured that I would not be giving them a vote. I don’t like presumptions being made about me on the basis of my name or perceived religion.

    The DUP were round earlier. They just put a leaflet through my door without stopping to chat, though they did call at certain other houses, presumably deemed safe.

    I think I’ll give the Greens my vote.

  • Marcus

    Mark,

    Getting people in Northern Ireland to vote on bread and butter issues is hard enough never mind getting them to vote on euro policies. Although i think in time people will become more aware of the Euro dimension to most of the legislation we have. Being separated from the Mainland Europe will always hinder peoples interest in European matters.

    If you look to europe then SF’s grouping with the Nordic Green Left Alliance i think would suit your aspirations to the tee. After that the European Greens would go for your second preference.

    Although being a Green Party member I think you would be better voting Green then transfering to SF!

  • Caoimhin

    Daisy,
    Not everyone is on the electoral register, thats probably why they were selecting. You sound like the only one here with ethnic issues.

  • Caoimhin

    Daisy,
    Not everyone is on the electoral register, thats probably why they were selecting. You sound like the only one here with ethnic issues.

  • daisy

    “Not everyone is on the electoral register, thats probably why they were selecting”

    So how did they know which houses to pick? When I challenged them, they admitted that’s what they were doing. They said they’d been insulted previously at a couple of the ‘other’ houses. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but these canvassers weren’t the same as the canvassers at the last election (who also only visited certain houses, with 100% accuracy) so maybe they also keep a record of house owners who might insult them so they shouldn’t visit?

    SF aren’t alone in doing this, they’re just the ones who happened to call at my door.

    “You sound like the only one here with ethnic issues”

    Maybe I am, but I’m a neutral and resent being targeted by perception.

  • oracle

    If Duffy stood he would have polled between 1,500 and 6,500

    Mark,
    You sound like an alcoholic trying to justify one more drink.
    Why can you not see that Europe means nothing to the parties here except as a poll percentage bat to beat the world with.
    Time for you to stand up as an adult Mark and admit that the party and people you put all your beliefs into just took you for a ride…end of!
    Stop degrading yourself like some political barfly looking for a glass to drink from, a bit of political sobriety from time to time never done anyone any harm.

    But you’re supposed to be politically astute Mark you’re supposed to know this already

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]Why shouldn’t I vote for SF?[/i]

    If you have a conscience, that should be a good enough reason.

  • Floater

    Met the Alliance candidate today and had a good chat. Asked him where he stood on the Lisbon treaty and the lack of respect for the Irish “No” vote last year. Said Alliance would seek modifications to the Treaty, didn’t specify what.

  • Barney

    Mark,

    SF and their European group (GUE/NGL) were against the Lisbon Treaty. So how can you reconcile this with your view that you are a socialist and support SF’s work in Europe.

    The Lisbon Treaty would (will) give greater power to the European Parliament, thus pulling more accountability into the European process. As a socialist should this not be viewed as positive?

    Also, Lisbon sought to create more effective decision-making, is this not something that socialists would want to see from Europe?

    Also SF and GUE/NGL ‘want another Europe’ but do not specify how exactly they plan to achieve it (typically SF).

    It seems SF and GUE/NGL strive on the one hand to influence as much as possible the decisions taken by co-decision and on the other hand to expresse their desire for another European Union, different from the Maastricht neo-liberalism. So surely they cannot ride two horses at once?

    I’ll be voting in support of the PES

  • Me

    I’ll be voting for Alban Maginness- he seems like a decent guy and I liked their party political broadcast.

    I’m a republican and have voted Sinn Fein most of my life but feel that they are out of touch and have been performing badly over the last number of years. The DUP are running rings around them!

    Also, I’ve never liked de Brun and she is not a person that I can warm to. Contrary to Marks views, her performance has been poor in the European parliament. Can anyone actually point to something that she has achieved for Northern Ireland?

    I looked over the figures at vote watch.eu and her attendance is not great (79.53 %), ranked 625th out of 700 odd MEPs- thats only 238 out of 299 days in the plenary. Easy money, eh?

    Also her loyalty with her group (GUE/NGL) is not very good (88.42 %), ranked 610th out of 752 MEPs).

    Also, she has not participated in a vote since 2nd April, well over 1 month ago. She has been absent from several since then.

    I wonder where could she be? Maybe Palestine, Colombia? Who knows! For sure her tenure in the European Parliament has been like an episode of ‘Wish You Were Here’!!

  • JollyHermitCrab

    Give a vot to allister. Maybe give me a chance of winning my bet on paddy power.

  • Danny O’Connor

    the parliament meets about 75 days,bairbre goes 60 days a year ,nice little earnrr,if you can get it.
    Mark I am genuinely baffled by your statement that even though you dont get on with her you have respect for most of their European team.

    SF only have 2 MEPs,which only leaves 1 other,and if what I’m hearing is true,that 1 other could be up against it in a dogfight with FF for the last seat.
    You say that you are a socialist then vote for the candidate who is affiliated to the PES and socialist international,Alban Maginness.

  • Danny O’Connor

    PS Mark,It is easy to have no black marks against you,you wont do anything wrong if you never do anything.Bairbre couldn’t tie Hume’s shoes when it comes to exerting influence in Europe,she has been a total disaster,but heh,SF are more pearse than connolly,on the contrary ,Given the chance Alban will regain that influence through his membership of the PES.
    pps have you checked out the groupings that SF have alighed themselves with,that ,is why you shouldn’t even consider voting SF.
    MAGINNESS 1.

  • Cuairteoir

    ME

    A Republican voting for Alban Maginness – I think you’re confused.

  • LittlePoint

    The Greens have backed the Derry postal workers by refusing to have their leaflets delivered by a private company. As far as I know Sinn Fein are quite happy to see the workers bypassed in this way.