THE entire reference to Northern Ireland in the Labour Manifesto:
For the first time, Northern Ireland can look forward to a stable and prosperous future as a result of the Good Friday, St Andrews and Hillsborough Agreements. Supported by unprecedented public funding, we will continue to invest in the institutions of devolution, so that the Unionist and Republican traditions can work together for all the people of Northern Ireland.
Yawn – though I suppose if you’re not looking for votes here, you’d be happy to fob off the pesky natives with 59 words too. The only interesting thing about it is that it refers to the ‘Unionist and Republican’ traditions, disregarding the commonly-used ‘Nationalist’ tradition. The latter is usually associated with the SDLP.
If Northern Ireland is barely on Labour’s radar any more, which isn’t all bad news, the SDLP – Labour’s sister party – is now completely off it.(Yes, I suppose pedants will argue that both nationalist and republican could technically be used by either the SDLP and SF. But the fact remains that the descriptions are political shorthand, used to differentiate between the SDLP and SF. They are also the terms used by the parties themselves.)