If you don’t ask you don’t get…

Margaret Ritchie caused a bit if a stir this morning in Washington when shecomplained that only Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were to meet President Obama, excluding her and Reg Empey. Her pressure paid off and got some time with him on her own. The reaction ismixed here.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    We can look forward to a pic of Ms Ritchie with President Obama on her election literature.

  • seamus friel

    Prediction. She will be by far the worst leader of the SDLP. She has no idea how to behave. she lacks common sense. She is a car crash waiting to happen. If not supervised by more experienced , more sensible party members she will say something outrageous . Nothing to do with her being a woman, no sexism, it’s just her lack of common sense as a human being. Anyone else if feeling sidelined would have lobbied the US Dept od State in private. I take no pleasure in saying this as a Republican. We have The SDLP in terminal decline and Sinn Fein in government with probably the most corrupt party ever in power in any part of Ireland( and that takes some doing given Fianna Fail’s record!!) and doing all they can to keep the DUP and therefore themselves in power. How the hell did we get to this sad situation???

  • slug


    I get a different message – gutsy and effective.

    She was sidelined – fact.

    She complained where others wouldn’t – fact.

    She gets to meet President of US – fact.

    Seems like a win for her, all round.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s some crystal ball you have, seamus. Or are you just indulging in wishful thinking? Are you a member of the SDLP who supported the “wrong” candidate?

  • Michaelhenry

    where sinn fein go,the stoops want to follow

  • Whatever about Lionel herself and fair play to her but it shoud be the dog-house for the poorly-house-trained-dimunitive-anti-agreement-Reg rather that the White House – as the little fecker would probably try to piss all over the shop like he does from inside the Stormo tent.

    How has he got the nerve to jibber jabber about dysfunctional this that and the other whilst benefititing from dysfucntional jollies and a dysfucntional ministerial post and trying to collapse the whole fecking show just because he hasnt recoevered form a sound arse-kicking from the DUP.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk


    I wouldn’t agree with a fair amount of what Seamus said but anyone who can’t see that the SDLP is in terminal decline is indulging in “wishful thinking”.

    Any sensible person could write volumes about the mistakes Sinn Fein have made. However, the reality is that they are miles ahead of the SDLP and there is absolutely no chance of the SDLP recovering that ground. The fact that the SDLP haven’t made any inroads into the Nationalist vote over the last 12 months really shows how useless they are.

    When I lived in the North, I was a keen SDLP voter but that was when they had Hume and Mallon.

    Once Durkan became leader, it was all downhill. He seemed to think that he was an incredibly clever and charismatic guy – unfortunately for him – he was in a minority of 1.

    It would be hard to get worse but the SDLP have. What sort of party has it’s leader step down and is replaced by someone older! – hardly a sign of fresh ideas and an injection of enthusiasm.

    The only person in the SDLP with any sort of gravitas is Alban McGuinness – a decent and clever man but hardly youthful.

    I’m sure that Margaret Ritchie is a decent woman and clever but let’s face facts – she was the “least worst” option for the SDLP. A “leadership” contest between her and McDonnell really sums up the state of the SDLP.

    The truth is that the SDLP took working class Catholics for granted over many years (although Joe Hendron was a notable exception to this). They wanted the votes but did nothing for the people. Sinn Fein put people on the ground, got involved and blew the SDLP away.

    The only way back for the SDLP would be to get a lot of younger members, come up with some fresh ideas and put in a lot of hard work.

    I can’t see that happening.

    I hope that Margaret Ritchie enjoyed her few minutes with Obama. It’ll certainly be the major “achievement” of her leadership – in fact, it’s likely to be the only one.

  • Justin Case…

    Neither Margaret Ritchie or Reg Empey (and I am leaning towards the UUs come the election) deserved to have been in the first meeting this morning.

    As I think Ken Reid put it this evening; Robbo and Marty are the FM&DFM;, that is the way all these meetings have been in the past.

  • Henry94

    If she had said nothing we wouldn’t be talking about her today. In political terms it was a score for her. But reviving the SDLP may just be an impossible task. In my opinion they should be positioning themselves to unite with a post-Adams Sinn Fein. Unity talks would allow Sinn Fein to get rid of some baggage and bring the SDLP firmly on board with the unity agenda.

  • Damien Okado-Gough


    If it were a new party with a new name and a new constitution stating clearly that political violence as a means to achieving an end to the Union is wrong, then you’d have an excellent point. It would probably also need to state that the IRA’s campaign was wrong.

    I’ve believed for some time that such a party would be best placed to appeal to Protestants who believe that building a new nation on the island is the best option for all the people on the island.

    It would also help to get Sinn Fein members off the hook with Protestants, to some degree, for their association with the IRA’s campaign.

  • wild turkey

    ‘She is a car crash waiting to happen. ‘

    Seamus @ 2

    she always struck me as a car wash waiting to happen, she’s that, uh, exciting and stimulating.

  • LabourNIman

    Headline news – Margaret Ritchie is not a head of state!

    I’m sure that will shock her. Awful behavior from a minister in our so called government. As if Obama would dare say no to a meeting with a irish politician on St Paddys day.

    She was unwelcome before she moaned and unwelcome when she was in the room. I’m sure Obama did a good job of smiling and humoring her rants.. must have been the longest 5 minutes of his life.

  • redhugh78

    Her pressure did not pay off.
    She was always going to meet him at the time she did

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I still think that Ritchie is the wrong choice for SDLP but am prepared to give her time on the basis that people who should know…tell me I am underestimating her.
    The McGrady resignation Uturn was too much cute hoorism for my delicate tastes and I am sure we can look forward to Obama on SDLP election literature.
    I suppose she will be down at Boots in Downpatrick ordering up several prints of “me and my friend Barack Obama”.
    Meanwhile when the official White House photographer shows the proofs of St Patricks Day to pics to President Obama I can only speculate that Obama will wonder if that Irishwoman is Robbos wife or Martys wife.

  • LabourNIman

    “The McGrady resignation Uturn was too much cute hoorism for my delicate tastes and I am sure we can look forward to Obama on SDLP election literature.”

    the thing is you need to have a strong support base, friends etc to pull this kind of action off.. and she doesn’t seem to have many at this point. Poorly timed and planned.

  • DerTer

    I think there’s more wishful thinking and partisan rant here than serious analysis. For what it’s worth, I think she was right to make a fuss about herself and Reg being excluded, but whether it does her any political good is another matter.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    Women are good at getting what they want.

    Ask pretty much any married or partnered man !

  • nick

    Apparently Ritchie told Obama that she is in fact the most famous resident of Downpatrick, not St. Patrick at the President had wrongly assumed.

  • Dunumian

    Reminds of me of a pop song years ago Its my party and I will cry if I want to –
    This whingeing has shown her to be a spoilt selfish brat of a child who threw a tantrum because she couldn’t get into the party
    which she “gatecrashed” after huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf to Joe Public –
    Its not proper etiquette Margaret and the old saying is true it’s manners to wait to you are asked and the reason why is that the SDLP and Ulster Unionists are no longer in the picture and disappeared of the radar screen as far as the US are concerned and in the coming weeks here people are going to give the cute hoor politicians a boot in the proverbials =The whole St Patricks Day shenanigans of Ritchie has shown her to be ego istic and very embarrassing and its true she and her cohorts have abandoned the working class and Sinn Fein along with others have claimed the moral high ground

  • Dunumian

    A contributor has mentioned that this picture of Ritchie & Obama will appear on her literature in the forthcoming General Election –
    When people read her fairy story and her fantasy wish list trying to con the electorate that mughsot will remind the people on the ground of what sort of person that is aspiring to “represent” them – Someone for their own ends and as far as the ordinary people are concerned the old rhyme is true and sums Ritchie to a tee
    see you at the next Election

  • I remember Gerry Adams barging into a ‘photo op’ for David Trimble and Pres. It seemed to cause much mirth among republican leaning folk at the time.

    Whats sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander…