So Patsy McGlone is in:
“The SDLP has revolutionised Irish politics. The founding principles of the party are as relevant today as they were during the civil rights campaign. The unity of the people of Ireland, a unity built on trust, along with practical social democracy – being there for people through the good and bad times – lie at the heart of every SDLP member and supporter.
“The way forward for us needs three strategic elements: strong leadership, clarity of message and radically improved grassroots organisation.”
McGlone has been a firm believer in the grass roots up approach in his brief time as deputy leader. But it will take more than hard work and organisation to dig the SDLP out of it’s uncomfortable hole. It needs a message that switches voters from passive to active mode (where most of it’s base is now).
In short, people need a reason to care whether the party lives or dies. It’s too early to tell what McGlone intends from a few short lines on a Presser. But redefining Irish Nationalism in terms of the SDLP’s stated (though too rarely lived up to) pluralist values, is probably not a bad place to start.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty