So #TrandyPalitics it is then for the SDLP (see this weirdly compelling parody of Alex Attwood on Twitter for context). Rumours over the weekend that Patsy McGlone would be taking on the Environment portfolio, appear to have been a prelude to his ousting from any remaining power inside the party (and Stormont).
Not only will McGlone not be Minister of Environment, he won’t be holding any chairs or vice chairs (see comment below) at Stormont either (which is a peculiar reward for his committee work on NI Water last year). The SDLP is not in a position to be lopping off the few scraps of talent it has retained through its long political recession: no doubt making more enemies in the process.
According to Darwin’s evolutionary theory, the dinosaurs became extinct large because of their failure to adapt to a sudden change in their environmental conditions. The trouble is that in our mandatory coalition arrangement it is almost impossible to shock old parties into adopting new responses to new situations.
As a result, the SDLP is already being treated as an historic footnote by the wider media, and for good reason. It continues to ignore the fact that its current offering is either switching former voters off, or sending them over to vote (and in some cases even work) for Sinn Fein instead.
“Ideologically pure, but electorally irrelevant” may be its final epitaph.