The SDLP – too much fashionable pessimism

As noted in comment yesterday, Fionnuala gives the authentic account of the rise and fall of the SDLP, ending with a threnody of prevailing pessimism about its future. Like her and many others of our generation, I knew all the old gang pretty well but have met only a handful of today’s lot, Maginnes, the Attwoods, Hanna, Dallat, Ritchie, McGrady, McDonnell and yes the “hapless”- (unkind and overstated) – Durkan.

They don’t strike me as inferior to a round up of random Sinn Feiners. The difference is that the pioneering generation of the SDLP has long departed, while the old commanders of republicanism are still hanging on and playing out a role. Succession planning in a still largely Stalinist organisation is much, much better compared to the chaotic baronial principle of the old SDLP.

And yet… How are the rising Catholic bourgeoisie voting? Are they like their Protestant equivalents of yesteryear, staying out of the vulgar fray? Many nationalists recoiled viscerally from the physical force tradition in the style of Eddie McGrady for instance. Has that sentiment become entirely irrelevant and has Sinn Fein become just another nationalist party? I still believe that with a 108 member Assembly with those designations – (dubious though they be) – and STV voting which undermines monoliths, the opportunities for an SDLP revival are going a-begging.

But if you’re a rising star in any party you can forget about hob-nobbing with presidents and prime ministers. The job these days is more humdrum, thank God – but still surely worthwhile. Or do you have to be working class to find the slimmed down pay and conditions attractive?

  • “[The SDLP] appealed to Northern Catholics who wanted reform and fairness”

    Poor Fionnula is still blinded by the smokescreen of the Civil Rights campaign. Those who initiated NICRA used rights issues to further their desire for a 32 county Cuban-style republic. The hoped for socialist revolution intended to sweep away the conservative establishments in Belfast and Dublin and it’s more than likely that the Catholic hierarchy would have been in the firing line too.

    Liam O Comain has described how the Catholic hierarchy persuaded John Hume to act against the ‘commie’ threat including the formation of the Derry Citizens Action Committee. Hume has hardly been an exponent of fairness: for him Unionists are merely a tradition on the island, their aspiration counts for nought; he even appeared to run the SDLP the way a bishop would manage a diocese.

    IMO the Redemptorists persuaded Adams that their ‘Brits out’ Stepping Stones policy with the assistance of Vatican leverage would be more effective than the ballot box and Armalite campaign.

    The Irish Catholic hierarchy also moved its focus from the SDLP towards Sinn Fein and the mantle of leadership of the ‘society within a society’ that it spoke for has essentially passed to Sinn Fein.

    However things change and the community control that the Provisional Republican Movement once exercised can just as easily pass on to the dissidents.

  • Nevin,

    Did you forget to take a pill this morning? Your paranoia is starting to act up again.

    Soon you’ll be boring us to tears with your TUAS again.

    🙁

  • Dec

    Nevin will be telling us that Austin currie and Ivan cooper were crypto-Stalinists next

  • Horseman, the SDLP is first and foremost a Nationalist party, not a party for the improvement of the Union as that Fionnula quote would suggest.

    You can find the role played by the Redemptorists in Ed Moloney’s history of the IRA.

    PS Is the paranoia card the strongest in your pack?

  • kensei

    Nevin
    The Irish Catholic hierarchy also moved its focus from the SDLP towards Sinn Fein and the mantle of leadership of the ‘society within a society’ that it spoke for has essentially passed to Sinn Fein.

    It’d didn’t speak for it Nevin. We’ve done this repeatedly and you continue perpetuating a falsehood.

    In any case, I don’t know why I bother, it’s about the same level as Gerry Adam name works out to 666.

  • “will be telling us”

    Don’t hold your breath, Dec 🙂

    Have you any documentation that Currie and Cooper initiated NICRA?

  • Kensei, your tripping over semantics and going tits up on 666. The Irish Catholic hierarchy always speaks out for Nationalism, not Unionism. Sean Brady very clearly identified with the sentiments of a ‘society within a society’ and those Catholics who sought an education outside the Catholic school system were hardly likely to have received the encouragement of their priests.

  • kensei

    Nevin

    Sean Brady very clearly identified with the sentiments of a ‘society within a society’ and those Catholics who sought an education outside the Catholic school system were hardly likely to have received the encouragement of their priests.

    No, he did not identify with the sentiments. He simply stated it happened as a result of the actions of the State. There is a fuckoff world of difference, and you are a bloody liar.

    Do people in England or America who send their child to Catholic schools remove themselves form society, Nevin.

  • Dec

    Have you any documentation that Currie and Cooper initiated NICRA?

    Not on me at the moment. However your line

    Those who initiated NICRA used rights issues to further their desire for a 32 county Cuban-style republic.

    directly disputed the reference to

    Northern Catholics who wanted reform and fairness

    These, to my mind, are not necessarily exclusive statements.

  • Nevin,

    There’s a difference between leadership and rank and file. Moreover, NICRA itself was a broad group and most people on the marches were just normal citizens with no ulterior political agenda.

  • In the midst of such discrimination and a deep sense of alienation from the Northern State, the structures of education, health, parish and community provided by the Catholic Church, made it a very natural alternative source of political and cultural identity for Northern Nationalists. As one commentator explains:

    After partition Northern Nationalists kept a respectful distance from the State and became ‘a society within a society’. The Catholic Church was the key institution in integrating the community and clerical leadership was important. There was an intertwining of Catholicism, Irish culture and political nationalism.

    Kensei, I was going easy on Sean. This ‘society within a society’ was there at the foundation of the state; it didn’t hang around for discrimination to take place. IIRC Catholic schools/teachers sought salary payments from Dublin and quite a few Nationalist controlled councils affiliated to the Dail.

  • Dec, the vast majority of northern Catholics support Nationalist parties ie the end of NI’s membership of the UK not a better UK.

  • 1967, it’s quite likely that a majority of the marchers hadn’t a clue about the ulterior motives of those who initiated NICRA. Some of the agitators within the ranks were certainly intent on provoking a confrontation.

  • Padraig

    The SDLP were a club the powers that was created used to beat Rebels with. Now they are no longer needed.

    Good bye and good luck.

  • Padraig, who is to beat the Rebels now? Sinn Fein? Or is just another Establishment lackey now?

  • Dec

    Dec, the vast majority of northern Catholics support Nationalist parties ie the end of NI’s membership of the UK not a better UK.

    Nevin

    Hold that thought whilst I go teach my Granny to suck eggs. However NICRA was arguing for equality and an end to discrimination* within the UK (however alien that constitutional arrangement was to NICRA supporters.)

    * Oddly enough, examples of the bread and butter so beloved by contemporary Unionism

  • Padraig

    Exactly my point, Nevin.

    Hold that thought. Why would you need the old SDLP to beat the new SDLP {Sinn Fein} ? They are like toilet tissue you use and then flush away.

    I knew the SDLP swan song had come when I saw pictures in the Irish News of Sinn Fein top dos playing kissy kiss with the Bishops.

    Sinn Fein had not so much come out of the closet as gone back into the closet. SO the poor old SDLP were no longer needed as an establishment foil to the CHucks.

    The Church Bishops being the crafty old codgers they are canonised Sinn Fein and washed them in the Holy Water of their benevolent nods. At just that moment they performed at the same time the Last Rights for the Stoop Down Lowers.

    Life is sad. But at the same time toilet paper is always only toilet paper. You use it and then you loose it.

  • But the NICRA charade was a smokescreen, Dec, for the initiators who wanted to sweep away the conservative establishments in Belfast and Dublin. Also, why was discrimination by Unionists bad but that by Nationalists good? A largely Irish Nationalist collective marching under a ‘British Rights for British Citizens’ slogan had a rather hollow local ring to it even if others didn’t spot the irony.

  • Padraig and Dec, I won’t hold all these thoughts; I’m not a lackey 🙂

  • Sean

    Nevin

    Civil rights is inevitably about sweeping away the establishment, for too gain rights the established elite have too lose the right to choose for you

    Democratic rights are about sweeping away autocratic rights

    the right not be owned(ie be a slave or a serf) is to deprive the elite establishment their right to own you

  • Sean, Belfast, Dublin and the Catholic hierarchy got the message but I wonder how many marchers realised what was going on.

  • Dec

    But the NICRA charade was a smokescreen, Dec, for the initiators who wanted to sweep away the conservative establishments in Belfast and Dublin.

    Nevin

    I think you’re tending to get your timelines mixed-up – NICRA was established in 1969 – People’s Democracy didn’t become prominent in the movement until 1968. That being siad I totally refute your central thesis (so beloved of Unionism) that NICRA was the root of all evil and Burntollet, discrimination, Caledon and the Special Powers Act never actually happened

  • John O’Connell

    Nevin

    IMO the Redemptorists persuaded Adams that their ‘Brits out’ Stepping Stones policy with the assistance of Vatican leverage would be more effective than the ballot box and Armalite campaign.

    I beg to differ. The truth is nearer to something like this. Gerry Adams’ name was found to come out at 666 on my numeric alphabet, which I discovered in 1986. This went to Adams through members of Galway Sinn Fein. He asked the Redemptorists what they thought of the coincidence and they advised that he begin talking peace with the British (through the SDLP rather than tarnishing the Church).

    The Redemptorists were clearly implicated in the IRA campaign just by giving Gerry Adams forgiveness, if not all the other possibilities, and they simply did not want to implicate the Catholic Church in the IRA campaign any longer.

    If anybody wants to test the veracity of this claim, simply go and ask them about Gerry Adams’ name coming out at 666 and witness the wall of silence as they fall over each other to make it clear that they do not support Sinn Fein.

    If your theory was correct, why the appointment in 1992, a crucial time for Nationalism, of Dr Cathal Daly as prelate after years of support for strong Nationalism in Cardinal O’Fiaich. And as for Cardinal Brady, he seems to be symbolic of weak leadership rather than strong Nationalism.

    The truth is stranger than fiction.

  • Dec

    NICRA was established in 1969

    Should read ‘1967’

  • Seymour Major

    “the vast majority of northern Catholics support Nationalist parties ie the end of NI’s membership of the UK not a better UK”

    That is factually wrong. It would be much more accurate to say

    “the vast majority of northern Catholics Vote for Nationalist parties but would prefer Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom”

  • The Spectator

    John O’C.

    But surely, John, the number of the beast is now known to be 616?

    Does that make Grizzly only the Neighbour of the Beast?

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,

    ‘The Irish Catholic hierarchy always speaks out for Nationalism, not Unionism’

    Always ? Not true . From approx 1780 to the 1880’s and culminating in the RC Church’s hatchet job Parnell the Irish Catholic Hierarchy favoured the ‘Union ‘ . If you recall ‘Hell was not hot enough for the Fenians etc ‘ . It is true that the lower orders of the Catholic Clergy were more sympathethic to the Irish Nationalist position but the Catholic Hierarchy only changed their official political line when it began to look like the maintenance of that line i.e pro union would lose them their ahem market share of the ‘god ‘ market .

    You can always rely on the RC Church hierarchy to support the winning side or what seems to be the future winning side . They are in that sense not much different from any other Church .

    As I write this I’m listening to a report on the Romanian Orthodox Church. It’s hierarchy are condemning ‘journalists’ who have revealed that certain church vacancies in rural areas can be acquired by applicants- no theological or clerical education required- for a ‘donation ‘ to Christ’s work on earth of a mere ‘3,000 ‘ euros.

    ‘A largely Irish Nationalist collective marching under a ‘British Rights for British Citizens’ slogan had a rather hollow local ring to it’

    Of course to any Unionist of the time it would have . As a result of said marching ‘hollow ring ‘ or no – Irish nationalists no longer have to collectively march to acquire the same rights in NI as their unionist fellow citizens . This is a situation which has not yet ‘sunk’ into the conscious or even sub conscious minds of many unionists of the ‘God is a Unionist’ wing of NI ‘Unionism’.

    NICRA helped to publicise the poorly disguised sectarianism of Unionist one party government . Every single report by British Government investigations of the time can be referred to for those who want ‘proof ‘ that not only was there someting rotten in the State of NI but that ‘reform ‘ was not just necessary but 20 years too late .

  • Dec, armchair and militant socialists were looking at rights options before 1967. Desmond Greaves seems to have been quite an influential figure when it came to linking rights to the national question.

    I hadn’t noticed any Unionists commenting on the socialist aspect of my ‘thesis’. Perhaps they’ll join in later 😉

  • John, Cathal was opposed to the activities of the Provisional Republican Movenment not to Irish Nationalism. He was eventually rolled over by the Redemptorists acting in a political capacity as distinct from a pastoral one and appeared to go along with the Stepping Stones process. Ed Moloney has provided the background detail. You might have noted the photo of Gerry Adams in the pulpit at the Redemptorist’s Clonard Monastery.

  • Greenflag, I made my comment in the context of Northern Ireland which, as you well know, wasn’t around in 1780 😉

    You also seem to be choking in that smokescreen that I referred to earlier. It’s hardly surprising that the ‘rotten’ Dublin establishment went after the ‘commies’ when it realised that both Belfast and Dublin administrations were to be ‘terminated’.

  • Dec

    I hadn’t noticed any Unionists commenting on the socialist aspect of my ‘thesis’. Perhaps they’ll join in later 😉

    Hopefully they’ll share anecdotes about militant insurrectionists such as Con and Patricia McCluskey 🙂

    That is factually wrong. It would be much more accurate to say

    “the vast majority of northern Catholics Vote for Nationalist parties but would prefer Northern Ireland to remain a part of the United Kingdom”

    Seymour
    Can’t wait to hit the link that provides ‘factual’ proof for that notion. Any chance of providing one?

  • Occasional voter

    I think it’s completely fair to assume that the catholic bourgeoisie, as described, would maintain the status quo in the event of a border poll. Achieving a UI is just such a non-issue. Certainly Ritchie banging on about it, as a top 3 party objective turns me off from voting SDLP again. I want them to get exercised about issues that are actually important.

  • You’d wonder how the McCluskey’s got sucked in to such a conspiracy, Dec.

    Those in attendance included the IRA Chief of Staff Cathal Goulding, Roy Johnston, Ciaran Mac an Aili, two Nationalist Party MPs, and Conn and Patricia McCluskey…IRA OCs and republican organisers from the north were also in attendance. .. armchair and militant socialists link above

    They did admit in the Daily Telegraph in August 1993: ‘The Republicans and Marxists took over. They spoiled everything’ [Source Alcock “Understanding Ulster”].

    Perhaps they were politically naive and didn’t appreciate the ramifications of the ‘commie’ enterprise they’d presumably been invited to join.

  • John O’Connell

    The Spectator

    To nail this 616 business once and for all, I would point out that my theory has been around for over 23 years.

    In that time intelligence organisations, like UK and USA, fearful of suffering losses as a result of it have been trying to discredit it. The prediction is that it will result in the US and the UK governments “falling out with one another” in a big way because of a Bosnia situation developing here. That’s where all of a sudden certain Blible experts resurrect a nonsensical position that 99.9999% of the Bibles over the course of history are wrong and one is right, theirs.

    And what about all the other things:-

    Second of all, the number 666 being first, due to another pertinent coincidence his name contains “Adam”, the name of the first man, and from a theological point of view, this adds much to the basis of him being the Antichrist. Adam coincidentally means ‘man’ in Hebrew, and the number of the beast is specifically described as “man’s number” (Rev 13:18).

    These are extraordinary coincidences and not to dismissed by any means by any intelligent observer of matters theological.

    The apostle Paul wrote: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22). Adam therefore symbolises death, and thus the question must be asked, is there significance to the ‘Adam’ in Gerry Adams’ name? Does Gerry Adams, the effective leader of the IRA’s republican movement, symbolise death?

    The descriptions of the beasts in the Book of Revelation are interesting.

    ‘The inhabitants worshipped the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed,’ (Rev 13:12). Coincidentally, Gerry Adams was shot and wounded in 1984, but recovered. Afterwards, he became Sinn Fein president and one of the foremost politicians in Northern Ireland. The use of violence for him is a matter of tactics. That is a matter of fact and record. Gerry Adams has not stepped away from violence. He believes in his own words that “there is a time for peace and a time for war”, mocking the Prince of Peace and equating Christ with the Antichrist, good with evil.

    The first beast, who is said to be the Antichrist, is prophesied to have “seven heads” (Rev 13:1), which is coincidentally the number of heads on the IRA army council, including Gerry Adams’ allegedly.

    “Who can make war against him?” (Rev 13:7). The IRA has been described as ‘the most sophisticated terrorist organisation in the history of mankind’. Their structure makes it impossible for a conventional army to defeat them

    Gerry Adams fulfilled another prophecy during the run-up to the 2007 Assembly election campaign in the North of Ireland. This involved him requesting the use of Clonard Monastery (Roman Catholic) church in West Belfast for a political meeting discussing his party’s policy. He still believed that armed struggle was a legitimate means of resolving differences.

    When Gerry Adams took to the altar of Clonard monastery while his beliefs were in conflict with Christ’s teaching, he was proclaiming himself to be wiser than God and better than Jesus Christ. He was in logic proclaiming himself to be God.

    “[The man of lawlessness or the Antichrist] will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2 Thes 2:3-4)

    How can these things be right if the number is 616? Dream on, kid.

  • John O’Connell

    You might have noted the photo of Gerry Adams in the pulpit at the Redemptorist’s Clonard Monastery.

    I can’t say that I have, but it is not untypical of a bunch of priests trying to curry favour with a West Belfast public who have gone away from God to Gerry Adams solution of the tactical use of human suffering when the time is right.

    I know the public will see them as the frauds they are when the times become more amenable to preaching the correct Christian message that armed struggle is the opponent of Christianity, just as the Zealots were the opponents of Jesus.

  • dosser

    Seymour,

    One of the most recent surveys (http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2006/Political_Attitudes/NIRELAND.html#religion) shows that 22 per cent of Catholics prefer to remain part of the UK.

    If memory serves me right, Catholic support for the Union is dependent on devolution and power sharing.

    Moreover, there is a clear generational gap, with most of the older generation desiring the maintenance of the union compared to those aged between 18-24 who display a greater preference for a unified Ireland.

    Without wishing to read too much into surveys, I think this should be a warning to some of the so-called civic Unionists who wish to end power sharing and integrate Northern Ireland completely into Westminster. Weakening devolution would probably erode what Catholic support there is for the Union thereby strenghthening the hands of secessionists.

  • John McMental

    Buy my books.

    I am Jesus.

    I am the Pennyburn Messiah.

    Buy my books and repent. £17.99 in all good bookshops.

  • John O’Connell

    JMcM

    More harassment.

    Sinn Fein getting annoyed again and sending in the Rotweiler.

  • Seymour Major

    dosser,

    The link you have referred to is the 2006 survey. This is the 2008 survey and it shows that 44% of Catholics prefer to remain in the UK with only 39% wanting a united Ireland.

    http://www.ark.ac.uk/nilt/2008/Political_Attitudes/NIRELND2.html

    Never mind the generation gap, a comparison of the two surveys indicates a trend away from a desire for a united Ireland. Whilst I too would not wish to rely to much upon surveys, the undeniable fact is that Catholics are becoming increasingly content with their constitutional lot and are less inclined to want change than they would have been in previous years.

  • John O’Connell

    SEymour Major

    Forget the surveys. I think it’s fair to say that most Catholics don’t mind living in the UK as it is at the moment in terms of their almost total separation from unionists. What they dislike most about the UK is the unionists and giving in to them would be a step too far.

    The unionists remain an unnatural identity who put everybody off them. That is enough to keep reminding Catholics that they must put an end to this unfortunate place.

  • dosser

    Seymour,

    Thanks for the added survey info. As we can see, the question has been changed regarding constitutional preferences. Before the question of constituional status was posed as an either/or issue. The 2008 survey brings in new variables: such as whether people desire direct rule or devolution. Before this question change, support for Irish unification was rising.

    The 2008 survey, however, proves my point further: Catholic support for remaining in the Union is contingent on the retention of devolved power sharing.

    If devolution was ended, as many civic unionists seem to demand, then it is safe to bet that what catholic support there is for the status quo probably erode. Only 7 per cent of Catholcis want direct rule.

    The point being, that a per cent of Catholics are content with ‘their constituional lot’, as you put it, on condition of their parties being represented in local power sharing.

    That is the lesson you should draw from the evidence.

  • Seymour Major

    John,

    Why should we forget surveys? All data is useful if it is reliable and I see no reason to doubt that it is. It is how you interpret the data that makes it useful or not, as the case may be.

    “The unionists remain an unnatural identity”

    What is an “unnatural” identity? For that matter, what is a natural one?

    I dont deny that unionism is a toxic ideology as far as most Catholics are concerned. I dont believe that unionism will remain a dominant ideology in NI politics. Given that trend, dont be so sure that voting patterns along the religious divide could change in Northern Ireland in years to come.

  • lucifer azazel o`connell

    O` Connell, still wearing the white sheet with the magic underwear!!! you are nothing but a retard.
    But thanks for sacrificing that goat to me last nite.

  • Dosser

    Thank you for your reply,

    The Catholic community needs time to get used to the fact that they will never again be subject to the political abuses of the past. However, once that confidence and trust is built up, Catholics will one day be ready for a different kind of devolution.

    Mark Durkan of the SDLP has already acknowledged this. See for example Liam Clarke’s article from the Sunday Times 14/9/08
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/ireland/article4749287.ece

    Never assume that NI politics is somehow fixed and immutable. What has happened in the last 10 years is a testament to that.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Nevin, 07.58. A complete load of Daily Telegraph Alcock and Brown. Methinks you are stirring and pretending to be obtuse. You are pretending, aren’t you?

  • Seymour Major

    Dosser,

    I have an apology to make to you. I posted my name as “dosser” on item 21. That was me.

    I am obviously getting tired.

    Sorry about that once again

  • John McMental

    truth seeker,

    should you seek the truth then I suggest that you read O’Connell’s entire collection of books post haste. You will find pearls of wisdom such as the Queen being the Whor. of Babylon and how John got randy over a nurse during one of his trips to Gransha (John’s fans await confirmation as to whether or not it was a male or female nurse and as to whether not sponge baths were involved).

    Vote SDLP

    submit word: fuckingharassment

  • 23 August 1993, Daily Telegraph, Pancho, and p57 in Alcock’s book. O Comain attributes a similar motive to Hume for keeping DCAC separate from NICRA. His article on Hume is no longer online.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    As I said, Nevin, DT,Alcock& Brown claptrap and Ó Comáin has been round the houses and now seems to have settled for John O’Connell’s party. Don’t believe all you read. What IRA in 1967?

  • Sean Og

    What an interesting discussion on the SDLP 🙁

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Is that your contribution, a Sheáin?

  • “Don’t believe all you read”

    Thanks, Pancho, I’ll dismiss your feeble ‘claptrap’:)

    The poorly armed IRA of the period. It hadn’t gone away you know 😉

  • Pancho’s Horse

    You remember the border campaign finished in 1962. The astute Faulkner saw there was no IRA and no threat and let his hostages out. Yet, like all the rest of the surrounded unionists, you felt the murderous IRA was there in full strength in 1967. Get a grip.The CRA and associated student movements were, if anything, anti-IRA. I remember, in 1966, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh was jeered when he said that the IRA would rise again and yet you have them as the éminences grises (rouges) in the CRA. No No No.

  • Pancho, perhaps you ought to get a grip – and read some of the contemporary accounts written by armchair and militant socialists 🙂

  • LURIG

    As a Nationalist who has flitted between voting for the SDLP and Sinn Fein over the years I sometimes nearly feel sorry for the Stoops because of unfair criticism……then I wise up, get real then angry when I recall that this is the same party that allowed people like Martin Morgan AND Brian Feeney to walk away. It is the political death of a self imposed 1000 cuts and when it ALL boils down to a choice between Margaret Ritchie OR Allister McDonnell for leader you know the SDLP’s days are numbered. Hume, Mallon and Currie must be downing a stiff drink at that thought and Paddy Devlin must be spinning in his grave. No wonder the detached and power crazy Sinn Fein doesn’t have to do too much to remain Nationalist top dog when faced with this choice!

  • Brian Walker

    At least LURIG discusses the matter in hand.. This is one of most obsessively silly threads I’ve read for a long time – I’m sorry you highjacked it nevin. Now you’ll get cross probably and go on and on… If it’s symptomatic of the political health of the place, God help you all.

  • JoMax

    Lurig

    I am assuming that you don’t know either Feeney or Morgan if you think either was a particular asset to the SDLP, particularly the latter. The phrase “prima donna” springs to mind, also the words “couldn’t”, “organise”, “piss-up”, “in” , “a”, “brewery”. They were part of the all-too-prevalent SDLP culture of refusing to put an organisation in place, particularly in Oldpark, which they represented.

    It’s the SDLP culture that has to change. A lot of bad habits were learnt from Fitt and Devlin-it was all about them-two people who wanted just to have unquestioning followers.

  • Brian, I don’t do cross or envy. I merely filled in a few pieces of the jig-saw that Fionnula left out. If other commenters want to discuss my observations they’re perfectly entitled to do so. If folks had little to say about your eulogy for Fionnula that’s hardly my fault.

  • JoMax, wasn’t Hume one of the main exponents of the culture you describe? It’s my understanding that he treated Mallon very shabbily.

    Back in the day I suggested to the UUP that part of the leadership problem could be put down it’s memberships largely Presbyterian ‘ethos’ ie one person’s view is as valid as any others – too democratic. Might the SDLP be troubled by a similar mainly Catholic ‘ethos’?

  • John O’Connell

    Seymour Major

    What is an “unnatural” identity? For that matter, what is a natural one?

    In terms of the Bible which contains the ultimate truth about identities such as ours, an unnatural identity is one the subsribes to the Old Testament without reference to Jesus Christ or his coming. In other words it is deluded. The unionists tend to be deluded, still trying to underpin the empire while it is the empire that Christ set out to destroy.

    A natural identity is one the recognises that Jesus came, that he had a message and which tries its best to implement that message. Love, forgiveness rather than vengeance, for example.

    You may ask about Sinn Fein and I would have to admit that they are a first generation Old Testament party believing in an eye for an eye, just as the unionists do, but that their constituency keeps them in line much more than the unionists’.