Sinn Fein offer for Nationalist Pact spurned

Gerry Adams’ offer of a potential nationalist pact with the SDLP, involving Fermanagh South Tyrone and South Belfast, has been rejected by the SDLP, with Margaret Ritchie ruling out such a pact. I discussed the potential for this offer in a piece published last week. What is clear is that making the offer will have been an important step for many nationalists, not least those in Fermanagh South Tyrone who may feel particularly aggrieved at the SDLP decision to oppose such a step in the face of a unified unionist candidate. Of course, time will tell….

  • socaire

    What could have been 1 seat each is now 0 seats each. High principles certainly pay off.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I can certainly understand Sinn Féin (and broader nationalist) disappointment.
    The likely outcome is two lost seats.
    I have not had a close look at your own stats for FST, Mr Donnelly but Id guess they are in line with my own stats presented a few weeks ago when McKinney was selected.

    But I think the “blame game” should be directed at those NOT standing in FST (DUP & UUP) rather than the SDLP.
    In supporting off and on Unity candidates (with Republican credentials McManus and maguire and later Sands) the SDLP weakened its position in FST.
    There is of course a crucial difference between SF and SDLP (going to Westminster). In my own personal view Westminster ATTENDANCE is over-rated
    but it is significant.

    The maths in FST are against SF holding the seat.
    The SDLP is unlikely to slip below 5,000 votes in FST.
    But there is all to play for in South Belfast.
    Especially if there is two or even three “unionists” and the Catholic (I put it as crudely as that) electorate in South Belfast is probably the most sophisticated in the 18 constituencies and Id anticiapate Anna Lo and Alex Maskey claiming they were squeezed in this election.
    While the “voters” see the SDLP and SF as BROADLY allies and they are clearly not ENEMIES, they ARE RIVALS.

    At this stage it looks unlikely that BOTH seats will be held.
    For Ritchie and the SDLP the best case scenario is that SF lose FST and the SDLP holds SB.
    The worst case is that both are lost……but its bearable as SB was “against the head”.

    For SF the best case is that SDLP lose SB, thus taking some of the focus away from FST.
    Worst case is that they lose FST and SDLP holds three seats.
    To some extent Adams is getting his retaliation in first. The SDLP looks like the bad guys resisting nationalist unity.
    But its slightly bogus.
    A SF supported SDLP man in SB may not be attractive to Alliance types. And Im not sure that SF could actually deliver enough of Maskeys votes to McDonnell.

  • ardmaj55

    FJH I wonder why the parties publicly call for these pacts and incur the allegation of sectarianism, when they could probably advise their voters privately on the doorstep. The voters will spontaneously and tactically vote for the bigger party in a given constituency. I think many of the SDLP voters in FST will lend SF their votes this time [and ditto for the SB votersin the other direction. we’ll soon find out though…

  • Alias

    It’ll be interesting then to see if SDLP voters share their party’s ‘high principles’ or if they will swing in behind the Shinner candidate rather than have a unionist about the place.

    Ignoring the constitutional issue is difficult when the two tribes have different policies on it, but it is hoped that by incessantly squealing derogative such as “sectarian” and “separatist” at those who vote for a particular according to its policy on that issue then the issue will become less relevant, thereby resolving to the status quo – which, incidentally, is the ‘sectarian’ position where the British nation is sovereign and the Irish nation is not.

  • union mack

    I’m of the opinion that the voters that have stuck with the SDLP over the last 7 years have done so because they did not feel able to vote for SF. Why else would they have stuck with them through the fumbling and incompetence of the Durkan era? In that light, I think it’s likely that they will hold on to a significant vote in FST, enough to see Connor win by maybe 1,000 votes, not much more. In South Belfast, there is a different outcome. Alliance will put little effort into Anna Lo’s campaign as she has no chance of winning, but instead will concentrate on Long’s (outside) chance in Belfast East. Those Alliance types who voted McDonnell in last time will do so again. Expect Lo’s 12% of first preferences in the assembly election to drop back to around 6% in this election. McDonnell will likely maintain his share of the vote (despite his relatively poor record, and dislikeability), and expect Unionism fairly evenly split between a good UCU candidate in Paula Bradshaw, and Jimmy Spratt. McDonnell is likely to increase his majority, and would make a pact between SF and the SDLP pointless. It’s almost a guarantee that McDonnell will win, as unionism is not coalescing around the DUP like it did in 2005

  • british citizen

    Hypocrisy and naked sectarianism from Perversional Sinn Fein – yet again.

  • Mark McGregor

    Chris,

    Making the offer as Maskey’s posters were plastered over South Belfast doesn’t make it seem as anything other than one for the optics.

  • Chris Donnelly

    FJH
    In the 1992 Westminster General Election, the SDLP outpolled Sinn Fein.

    That suggests the line intimating that the party’s decision to withdraw when facing Bobby Sands does not explain the SDLP’s predicament in the constituency from the late 1990s onwards.

    True, the SDLP rely on a broader coalition base in South Belfast to retain the seat, but by spurning the offer they once again endorse the narrative that they are not an effective Irish nationalist alternative to Sinn Fein.

    Also, don’t underestimate the local desire amongst nationalists to avoid ‘losing’ the seat in FST, and an adverse reaction towards needless vote splitting can spill into other constituencies, affecting the SDLP vote beyond the FST boundaries.

    Of course, I stand to be corrected, come results time, but I know where I’d be putting my money.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mark
    Posters can always be taken down in the event of such a deal. In fact, given that they were likely erected by SF workers, a light breeze’ll probably bring them down within the week anyway……(ouch eh?!?)

  • slug

    It’s true that the UCUs have so much better of a candidate than the DUP in this constituncy.

    Bradshaw is articulate, stylish, youthful and is approaching the contest with some vigour. Spratt is limited. I see he does not get Ministerial positions in the Assembly despite DUP sharing these round widely.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    union mack,
    I tend to agree that AP will be putting more effort into East Belfast. The figures again mirror my own in a previous thread.
    ardmaj
    theres a difference between the “committed” party vote and the “soft” vote and youre right that most nationalist voters in FST will see Gildernew as the only credible nationalist winner and likewise in South Belfast nationalists will vote for McDonnell.
    To some extent both parties can be excused for thinking of their Assembly quota and cant pass up the free publicity and profile.
    But a nod is as good as a wink….SF in FST, McDonnell in SB and as long as both candidates recognise that a certain amount of loan voting has happened. Although I can see McDonnell going on record to thank AP supporters I cant see him thanking SF types but rather gloating at their percentage fall.

    But for both SDLP voters and SF voters theres a hard core who would rather die than vote for “terrorists” and “stoops”.

  • brendan

    Last Thursday Michelle Gildernew said the unionist pact in FST amounted to, “the old agenda of division and inequality” and said it was a backward step.

    Does she agree now with Gerry Adams that there should be a nationalist pact??

  • union mack

    SF always cry inequality when there is the potential that they won’t have their way. She agrees with Adams as much as the next shinner

  • british citizen

    Any reason why Alliance voters in South Belfast would prefer to vote for the SDLP rather than Paula Bradshaw of UCUNF?

    She’s hardly a George Seawright.

  • Mark McGregor

    Chris,

    If that’s a pop at my postering skills….*shakes fist* and recalls Donnelly was never up for the 4am November outings.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr Donnelly,
    1983 Owen Carron beat Rosemary Flanagan by 2:1
    1986 Carron beat Austin Currie by 5:4
    1987 Paul Corrigan beat Flanagan by 7:5
    1992 youre right SDLP outpolled SF marginally
    1997 Gerry McHugh beat SDLP marginally
    2001 Gildernew beat SDLP roughly 2:1
    2005 Gildernew beat SDLP nearly 3:1

    SDLP standing aside of course pre-dates Bobby Sands but McManus and Maguire were both more republican than SDLP. A certain initiative was handed to SF there. And there is a spillover into Mid Ulster where again there have been “Unity candidates”.
    If the SDLP is to reassrt itself at Stormont level. Just TWO seats in all of FST, MU and WT…..it NEEDS to stand.

  • union mack

    british citizen

    see the vigour with which Chief Stooge David Ford (and any other Alliance member who can get within touching distance of a microphone) have been attacking Reg Empey, UCUNF, the Rodney Connor consensus, Parsley, the Conservatives…

    Alliance rely on soft nationalist votes in East Antrim, North Down and Strangford for their MLA’s scraping home. They’re not likely to start attacking the SDLP in the wholescale fashion they have attacked the above

  • articles

    Many nationalists believe SF to be morally, intellectually, and ideologically bankrupt from the top down. That is the core SDLP constituency. That is why the SDLP should be against joining forces on any issue with SF. That is why the SDLP should be offering a principled alternative for republicans and nationalists.

    That SF and SDLP elected representatives will go through the same lobby on many occasions is a side issue, the SDLP process of reaching that decision must be demonstrably morally superior. To misquote Wilson the SDLP must be a moral crusade or it is nothing.

  • socaire

    ‘nothing’ is OK.

  • Brid Rodgers

    What staggering hypocrasy from Sinn Fein! They tell us they want a deal with the SDLP in FST in the interest of nationalists. No word of nationalist interests when they colluded with DUP to ensure SDLP would be denied an additional minister in the Executive which is their entitlement under the D’Hondt system agreed in the Good Friday Agreement. As a result the balance in the Executive is tilted more heavily in favour of unionists. No word of nationalist interests when they deliberately excluded SDLP from the Committee on parades and acquiesced while their colleagues in the DUP briefed the Orange Order on the outcome of the committee’s deliberations while keeping SDLP MLAs in the dark. Its pretty obvious that its selfish party interests and not nationalist interests that motivate them.
    M T Patterson

  • socaire

    Which one are you? No.20

  • Coll Ciotach

    My flabber is gasted.

    McKinney has said that this is between those who wish to support Westminster participation against those who do not. That was a mad line. He is saying it is everyone against SF. He is aligning himself to the unionist bloc. The SDLP may as well merge with the alliance party.

    This will not go down well with nationalists. They see two seats being given to Unionism.

    The SDLP are wreckers. They will be severely punished for this.

  • union mack

    the seats will only be given to unionism by the electorate, not the SDLP. It won’t make a jot of difference to their levels of support

  • old school

    Sinn Fein have described the SDLP as the “Stoop Down Low Party” for decades.
    Some posters on other sites even query why the “Stoops” won’t stand aside.
    Now that the SDLP prefer to stand rather than stoop, sinn Fein is aghast.
    Get over it ffs.
    All the candidates, SF, SDLP and Unionist all agree on the National Question anyway (Unionist veto) so what the big deal who wins?

  • granni trixie

    Union Mack and others: why on earth do you think that “Alliance types” will vote for McDonnell when they have Anna Lo to vote for?

    The question is: will SDLP voters vote for him?.

  • Alias

    “Many nationalists believe SF to be morally, intellectually, and ideologically bankrupt from the top down. That is the core SDLP constituency. That is why the SDLP should be against joining forces on any issue with SF. That is why the SDLP should be offering a principled alternative for republicans and nationalists.”

    If the Shinners are intellectually and ideologically bankrupt, then that might have something to do with their theft of SDLP policies and constitutional positions. If they are morally bankrupt, then why did the SDLP sponsor their political progress? The two ethnoreligious parties are now interchangable, with the only difference being personality-based.

  • aquifer

    Because he can get in and Anna cannot?

  • slug

    “If they are morally bankrupt, then why did the SDLP sponsor their political progress?”

    To encourage them in a less bankrupt direction?

  • Alias

    “All the candidates, SF, SDLP and Unionist all agree on the National Question anyway (Unionist veto) so what the big deal who wins? ” – old school

    True, I guess. They’re all unionist parties in that they all agreed that the union was legitimate and that their right to self-determination that existed in opposition to it was illegitimate.

    However, the British nation wants to retain its sovereignty over the British state, thereby remaining as a sovereign nation, whereas the Irish nation in that region wants to extend its non-sovereign status to the Irish nation in Ireland and also to the British nation in that region.

    So they still have different positions on the issue of national rights. The British nation wants to keeps its national rights, whereas the two Irish ethnoreligious parties wants them to follow its example and give up their national rights so that both nations can become non-sovereign, sharing one state between them. 😉

    “To encourage them in a less bankrupt direction?” -slug

    I don’t believe in concepts of redemption. A psychopath doesn’t stop being a psychopath just because he gets elected. But I shouldn’t blame the SDLP for ‘reforming’ Rosemary West types, since the strategy of injecting the murder gangs into the political process predated the Hume-Adams talks.

  • slug

    “A psychopath doesn’t stop being a psychopath just because he gets elected.”

    No but the point of democracy is that they are less harmful there.

  • LabourNIman

    possible the only smart move ritchie has made since becoming leader. About time she made one.

    SF ignore the fact that a totally different electorate vote SDLP and would continually shove it in the SDLP’s face after the election saying we got your votes so we speak for nationalism.

    Plus, I just love Adams getting rejected.

  • John East Belfast

    Coll Ciotach

    “McKinney has said that this is between those who wish to support Westminster participation against those who do not. That was a mad line. He is saying it is everyone against SF. He is aligning himself to the unionist bloc”

    I know you dont agree with it but can you not take a step back for a moment and start seeing SF from the point of view of others ?

    It is SF v the non abstentionist parties who arent led by people who express pride in being associated with people and actions that brought untold misery to this part of the world for the best part of 30 years.

    SF are not just like any other constitutional pary – I am not denying they have moved – but it will take at least one generation before their ditched baggage is well out of sight – by that time they will have ceased to exist anyway.

    If Irish Nationalism in Northern Ireland wishes to win the hearts and minds of Protestants then that can only come via a party like the SDLP. SF with its militant baggage and Marxist ideology needs confined to the dust bin of history – just like the 26 county electorate will do.

    The SDLP are right to have nothing to do with SF as the SDLP brand of Irish nationalism is its only future

  • Alias

    slug, even if you fill the Assembly with psychopaths, you’d only get 108 of them off the streets. You’d be better off electing quality folks to have power over you than folks who are only wired to do others harm, and who have no concept of a common good. While it is understandable that folks should confuse their parliament with a lunatic asylum, it’s not good practice to start dumping them there.

    Anyway, they aren’t pursuing their old goals by political means – they’re pursuing an entirely different set of goals. It’s part of the British State’s confidence trick to have their voters think they only changed the means to an end rather than the end itself.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bradshaw is articulate, stylish, youthful and is approaching the contest with some vigour.

    You’re going to keep parroting this sycophantic rubbish no matter what I say. But .. stylish ?

    Usually politicians complain when people try to run a campaign along the lines of personality rather than substance. You seem to relish campaigning along the lines of personality. Mind you that’s probably because the candidates have no substance whatsoever.

    british citizen:

    Any reason why Alliance voters in South Belfast would prefer to vote for the SDLP rather than Paula Bradshaw of UCUNF? She’s hardly a George Seawright.

    (1) The UUP voted to block the devolution of policing and justice powers. The SDLP did not;

    (2) The UUP has already signed up to one sectarian voting pact and is has indicated its willingness to sign up to another one. The SDLP hasn’t;

    (3) The UUP is linked to the Orange Order and has recently shown a willingness to allow the Order to dictate it’s decisions. The SDLP doesn’t have that problem;

    (4) The UUP is linked to the Tories. Most of us don’t care for the Tories, that’s why we all voted against them when they were here.

    So that’s four reasons off the top of my head.

    [Why is Brid Rogers signing her name as MT Patterson ? I’m very confused.]

    union mack :

    Alliance rely on soft nationalist votes in East Antrim, North Down and Strangford for their MLA’s scraping home. They’re not likely to start attacking the SDLP in the wholescale fashion they have attacked the above

    I can answer this one straight off. The UUP are being attacked because of the way they are running the campaign. They are all over the place. Attacking them is easy because they apparently seem to be intent on exposing themselves to ridicule.

    There’s not so much opportunity to slag off the SDLP. In my opinion, they’re pretty good parliamentarians and are generally well meaning. They’re not aligned with the Tory toffs, they’re not trying to arrange sectarian vote-rigging in marginal seats, they’re not engaged in Assembly stunts aimed at blocking the peace process. Sure, they come out with some stupid crap from time to time, and there’s often a tinge of sectarianism on hand, especially when Sinn Fein are nearby.

    I mean, look at the UCUNF thing. The stupid name. The “we’re non sectarian new politics” schtick which they immediately follow up by going off on a corner huddle with the Orange Order. The laughing stock they made of Theresa May. The hilarity which ensued over the way that Sir Reg Empey snatched the South Antrim candidacy by publicly shafting one of his own candidates. The comedy brought to us by the UCUNF selection panel overriding the local constituency selection meetings. The fact that they have no representation in Westminster for the first time since partition. The loss of an MLA in a insane piece of bad organization which will likely throw away what would have been the UUP’s safest seat. The sycophancy of UCUNF’s daft commentators here on Slugger. The idea that putting up personalities such as a professional Freddie Mercury impersonator will lead to victory.

    UCUNF is a non stop gag-reel; they’re a joke party. How can you not have fun with it ? UUP voters will be embarrassed to put their name anywhere near this ridiculous farce.

  • BurnTollet

    I was born and raised a moderate nationalist. My parents took part in the civil rights marches and campaigns of the 60’s and 70’s and yet I maybe now going to be represented by a Tory supporting candidate. I’m saddened to think that I would rather not vote or even lend my vote to another party to stop this happening.

  • John East Belfast

    Comrade

    I think former Alliance Party voters will vote for Paula Bradshaw because

    1. Deep down they are unionists and if they thought that they could find a unionist they could vote for they would do so – that is my current experience on the doorsteps of East Belfast and the reaction I am getting from Alliance types towards Trevor Ringland.

    I always ask them if they think the Alliance Party can be trusted with protecting the Union and they all say no – infact several have asked me what the AP policy towards the Union is and I am obliged to tell them you dont have one.

    2. They know Paula might win and most importantly if she does then she will be in the same party as the national ruling government. I dont buy your view that all South Belfast middle class Aliance voters are anti Tory Lib Dems.

    Basically I ask them what is the Alliance Party actually for which I regret to inform you they dont know.

  • Coll Ciotach

    JEB – I really do not care about what way the unionists think about how I vote and what deductions they make. But I do know and recognise the attitudes shown by the Unionists in this affair – OO rule in an OO state.

    I cannot see how I can win unionists over to nationalism by being a unionist or voting for someone aligned to them.

    I am a middle class nationalist. I would probably be profiled as an classic SDLP vote. Yet their attitude stinks.

    If my only choice is SF due to the crack pottedness of SDLP then so be it.

    I am definitely not a marxist, but neither can I support this stupidity.

    I am against a whole raft of their policies.

    In social policy I would be closer to the DUP in all honesty.

    However, nation first. And this is what the SDLP do not put first.

    Let me tell you – this is more about the securing of Ritchie’s seat in South Down, as I have said before she has lost a lot of votes over boundary changes to Stangford. She relies on a lot of Unionists tacticly voting. There is a fear that she will not get these as she annoyed them with her denigration of the OO and the UDA/Community group carry on.

    Now also remember that McGrady had a personal vote and now people may review that given he is gone.

    The fallout of the treatment of Terry Andrews will also hit.

    So I say that she is sucking up to the Unionists in the hope of persuading them to let bygones be bygones and hoping they tacticly vote to keep SF out.

    SB and FST are red herrings. This is all about Margaret and her winning. Do not expect any principled stand from the SDLP.

    Now it will be interesting to watch Big Al. Will he be tempted to land her in it? He has form regarding principles. His acceptance of the Deputy Mayorship in ’95?. His principled stand on that occasion, acting it seems against party rules, means that he can be relied upon. Here is a present primarily to Al but also to McKinney and all the SDLP. The choice of brand is also significant and meant.

    http://www.postershop.com/Warhol-Andy/Warhol-Andy-Campbells-Soup-7900576.html

  • Jimmy Sands

    If the stoops are to be the only major party to oppose sectarian headcounts then fair play to them. And if the provos really do regard Prod MPs as the ultimate horror then they always have the option of standing down in both seats.

  • british citizen

    “(1) The UUP voted to block the devolution of policing and justice powers. The SDLP did not;

    (2) The UUP has already signed up to one sectarian voting pact and is has indicated its willingness to sign up to another one. The SDLP hasn’t;

    (3) The UUP is linked to the Orange Order and has recently shown a willingness to allow the Order to dictate it’s decisions. The SDLP doesn’t have that problem;

    (4) The UUP is linked to the Tories. Most of us don’t care for the Tories, that’s why we all voted against them when they were here.

    So that’s four reasons off the top of my head.”

    Posted by Comrade Stalin on Apr 13, 2010 @ 10:59 PM

    1 – The UUP voted not to devolve P&J AT THE PRESENT TIME because Stormont can’t handle anything more important than the height of people’s hedges. A genuine, correct position.

    2 – The F/ST situation is NOT SECTARIAN. If the work shy Sinn Fein MP was a protestant we would have the exact same situation. It’s about the people of that constituency having representation. If Perversional Sinn Fein don’t want to represent the people of the area then they shouldn’t stand.

    3 – The OO does not dictate UUP policy. There is a small amount of overlapping membership but that’s it. Do you honestly think OO members will tolerate being told who or what party to vote for by the leadership? It’s not a cult. People will vote how they please.

    4 – I’d much rather be voting for a party which – fingers crossed – will be running the country in a few weeks time. A bit better than the usual green/orange fights we’re used to here.

    But, what has any of this got to do with South Belfast’s Alliance voters?
    Why would they care what’s going on in the other side of the country?
    Why would they care if their party gained a ministerial post instead of the SDLP?

    If they don’t want to vote for Anna Lo then it says more about the Alliance Party and it’s chosen candidate.

  • british citizen

    “I was born and raised a moderate nationalist. My parents took part in the civil rights marches and campaigns of the 60’s and 70’s and yet I maybe now going to be represented by a Tory supporting candidate. I’m saddened to think that I would rather not vote or even lend my vote to another party to stop this happening.”

    Posted by BurnTollet on Apr 13, 2010 @ 11:43 PM

    How do you think the hundreds of widows, orphans and disabled victims of the IRA in Fermanagh and South Tyrone feel having an IRA cheerleader as their MP???

  • bigchiefally

    Good on the SDLP. First time I have thought that in a long while. They seem to have been attempting to out-SF SF for years, and looking at their election results this strategy is clearly not working.

    I wonder, is there any scope within NI for a liberal party, who are very keen on a united ireland but do not have this as their sole aim and are keen and able to work for their constituents within whatever jurisdiction they reside in?

  • granni trixie

    John East Belfast:Dont worry,Allinace supporters know exactly why the party exists (or “what its for” as you have it)which is that in the context of a society presumed to be divided into two distinct identities,it welcomes people in all their complexity (which goes beyond the cultural/religious divide). The advantage of Alliance is that you have a model of consensus politics – working through problems to find solutions with people with diverse points of view.

    A part like Alliance would not have survived if it did not prove relevant to what people need.

    Some of you seem to be tying yourselves in knots to work out who Alliance voters will vote for – save your energy eg in the East, they will be voting for Naomi and in the South B.,for Anna Lo.

  • Macanna

    As a nationalist I think ritchie has made a big mistake here. Losing a nationalist seat in this manner will not go down well even with her own supporters.If she had agreed to the deal with the proviso that sinn fein take their seats,or at least the seat in fst, she would have come out on top when sinn fein rejected the offer.

  • daisy

    Why didn’t SF offer to stand down in FST if the SDLP stood down in S Belfast, I wonder?

    Good on Margaret for standing up to them – they know that if the SDLP agreed to the pact they would most likely lose S Belfast if up against a united unionist candidate.

    Are any ‘soft’ unionists likely throw the SDLP a vote in protest at the unionist pacts? There must be some who are disgusted at the blatant sectarianism and tribalism, surely.

  • bigchiefally

    Daisy – I doubt there will be many unionists who are going to punish UU or DUP for trying to get rid of a SF MP.

    A few more might feel disquiet if the same thing happened against a SDLP man but I doubt huge numbers.

    Personally, I admire the SDLP for their decision but overall I really see no problem with any of it, we have a one issue election, so if all anyone cares about is “UK or United Ireland” then it makes sense for both sides to align into 2 blocks.

  • Greenflag

    The ‘Unionist Parties ‘ are not gloating yet but come May 7th they will. All the more so if Cameron’s Conservatives sneak into power with a small majority dependent on UCUNF and DUP votes .

    As Cameron surveys the post electoral ‘Union’
    he’ll note that Northern Ireland has returned 12 Unionists and 2 ‘nationalists ‘ while SF’s 4 will not be seen due to their abstentionist policy.

    So for all practical purposes whatever there is of a pro ‘Irish’ voice at Westminster will be outnumbered 6 to 1 by the Unionist ‘voice’. And if Cameron becomes PM then one would have to be a right fool to think that the ‘Unionist’ voice at Westminster would not try to use it’s ‘power’ to persuade the Cameroonians of the need to ‘change’ the ‘mandatory’ power sharing structure that NI is governed by for something ‘more’ British.

    It seems that SDLP and SF will both lose out to Unionism. This will be counterproductive for the forces of ‘constitutional’ nationalism across those areas of Northern Ireland where the ‘non constitutional’ elements are raising their profiles .

    Even worse for Irish ‘nationalists’ of the constitutional kind is that a large number of voters in FST may not even turn out to vote believing that a ‘divided’ vote among nationalists automatically means a Unionist victory if Unionism puts forward an agreed candidate . And in SB even fewer Maskey voters will bother to vote SDLP .

    Well done ‘Unionism’ and it’s not often in fact I don’t believe ever has Greenflag complemented any Unionist party or parties on their political sagacity and their increasing flexibility at throwing out ‘baggage’ principles in return for more certain political representation is a wonder to behold .

  • heatherb

    Did anyone find it strange that while the SDLP leader was on TV poo pooing the pact and stating that they weren’t abstentionist, that the attendance of their only Belfast MP is one of the worst and that the other two are not that good.

    Both of the other two parties are in the same boat. Sorry only 1 as Lady H has left the UUP. Maybe as another researcher can look into them all. If not I’ll take time tomorrow and see then if I can get a flight back home (ICELAND forgiving) I’ll post here.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I dont think DAILY attendance is all that important as a lot of the duties of an MP are in their own constituency.
    And I have absolutely no problem with the SF policy of abstentionism……..or the SDLP/UUP/DUp policy of going to Westminster.

    Whatever the Mandate. And as the Housing Executive, government bodies etc will answer correspondence from abstentionist Mps theres no great problem.
    It would be a bizarre situation if Gerry Adams resigned his Stormont seat and made representations on behalf of a constituent to say the Dept of Education and Ms Ruane wrote back saying “sorry Gerry youre an abstentionist MP and I cant correspond with you”.
    Or if Shaun Woodward did the same on a matter of “UK” interest.
    After all he would reply to David Ford or Dawn Purves.

    Ritchie did seem a bit vague on “double jobbing”. Empey resigning from Stormont is a matter for him. Abstentionism is bad. So is Double Jobbing…..but ok for a Party Leader……….like her in fact.
    That wasnt exactly convincing.