Tears of joy in February 2010 … now turned to tears of sadness?

February 2010 leadership campaign post from Margaret Ritchie - the ink ran in the rain - Note that this photo is under a Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/ - The original photo in better quality lives at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alaninbelfast/4336355274/Can’t believe Mick didn’t use this classic image from the February 2010 leadership election vote at the SDLP party conference to illustrate his earlier post about Margaret Ritchie’s announcement that she is to step down as party leader and also as MLA for South Down.

Apologies to Margaret who I know hates the picture 🙁

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  • Mark McGregor


    You should add a note that image is available for use by the MSM at c£50 a pop!

  • the better quality original lives on Flickrunder a Create Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works license … the ALT text on the copy above should remind folk about that.

    Besides … Slugger’s got a copyright notice at the bottom of each page – who could possibly overlook that!!

  • Rory Carr

    I seem to recall that EK McGrady indeed did not canvass personally. Neither as I recall did Captain Orr but then his seat was guaranteed given the boundary demographics. However he did once during an election campaign give me a lift when I was hitching home from Belfast in a rain shower and he was a very affable fellow even when I explained that I did not yet have the vote and it was unlikely that my parents would support him as we were Catholic and Nationalist. He was quite prematurely Catherine Tate- like on receiving this information (“Am I bovvered?”) but in a pleasant sort of way.

    Powell did indeed canvass quite assidiously. My Aunt Minnie from Castlewellan was shopping in Downpatrick when she spotted Powell leafletting in Market Street.

    “Mr Powell, Mr Powell, ” she cried, “when are we going to get all these black people over?”

    When Powell expressed confusion, Minnie explained:

    “Well you say you want to deport all the black people but we don’t have any to deport, so we’ll have to get some in first, won’t we?”

    Powell’s response was not recorded and is lost to history.

  • Quite funny, Rory, to have an aunt with such a sense of humour.

  • Drumlins Rock

    If it was Dungannon Market Square today it is hard to find the white people, boy have things changed.

    Alan, can I just say maybe Mick has more manners than to put the boot when she is already down and out, 🙂

    Politics is a rough games, she had a go, failed but didn’t a pile of harm either, wish here well and move on, save the attacks for the contenders.

  • Mick Fealty

    YOU have an Aunt Minnie from Castlewellan? God forbid that we should be related Rory!!

    Not sure where you are getting your info on Eddie BTW. I take it you are talking about the latter years?

    I have at least one eye witness account of Margaret’s athletic canvassing style. No one could fault her for energy and commitment.

  • andnowwhat

    Could “energy and commitment” when it has no direction not be called “bluster”?

    There’s some things that quite obvious that the SDLP needed to do to regain ground during Ritchie’s tenure. The blatant back biting of SF would be one. That does not go down well in the nationalist constituency. Remembering their roots as a party would be another issue that may have helped.

  • Just like Sinn Fein accounted for the Irish Parliamentary Party in 1918, the modern-day party has accounted for the SDLP. Such is the march of history.

  • Greenflag

    Margaret was and is a nice lady and in other political arenas probably would have done well enough as a party leader . But she gave the impression that she could’nt bend over far enough to accommodate ‘unionism ‘ and while there has to be some bending -by both sides if the current Assembly is to continue for any length of time it’s the politician who knows when and where to bend and in what circumstances who gets to hang on to the slippery pole .

    BTW She got no thanks from the unionist side of the equation for her ‘bending ‘ but then neither did any previous SDLP leaders going back to Hume -thus the permanent and probably continuing ascendancy of SF in particular among the younger age cohorts in the nationalist communities.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I think it was for the good of Irish Nationalism that the SDLP stood in Fermanagh South Tyrone, Sinn Fein are a bit sensationalist, hopeless and with a few exceptions ineffective (e.g. Connor Murphy and Ciatriona Ruane) at times.

  • Nunoftheabove

    There’s a Hillary Clintonesque self-pity about her.

  • FuturePhysicist

    I don’t really get that, I think a lot of the male politicians have whinged a lot more about themselves in a lot less awkward situations.

    I assume Eammon O’Neill gets back in as MLA, and if Allisdair is the new leader he may finally let Carmel or Bernie take over too.

  • Nunoftheabove


    Don’t get me wrong, some of the chancers have plainly been out to get her from the kick-off and a number of them would leave her for dead in the narcissism stakes. Still, the willingness to show a little pluck wouldn’t be altogether unbecoming.

  • lamhdearg

    i also have an aunt minnie, anyone else?. i dont vote sdlp and wound not vote sdlp if Beyonce was their leader (i like Beyonce’s looks) but margaret come’s across to me as someone who would make a Great primary school head (a more important job in my view) she also had a name irish nats may have linked to someone i would have voted for, but they, at least most of them did not care for.

  • lamhdearg

    Ohh by the way i do not mean to suggest the a lady’s looks are in any way relevant to her ability to do a job, except modeling i suppose, where looks do count for gents and lady’s.

  • If McDonnell does decide to stand down, I hope that Bernie Kelly gets the nod over Claire hanna.
    The latter is certainly being pushed and did herself no harm standing in Strangford for Westminster last year.

    But Bernie Kelly was passed over for Conall McDevitt last year and South Belfast obviously needs a degree of balance between McDonnell-ites and McDevitt-ites so the rank and file have an opportunity to select Bernie Kelly.
    If Bernie is selected, it could mean a co-option in Balmoral DEA which would likely go to Niall Kelly.

    South Down is interesting. Eamonn O’Neill is the obvious choice but effectively they need someone who will be building a reputation for themselves for 2015. And there are no obvious stars in the Newcastle/Downpatrick end of the constituency.
    Step forward ……Claire Hanna.
    Everyones a Winner.

  • Actually a persons looks are very relevant both for Men and Women in Politics.

    The striking thing about last years British Debates was that Cameron, Clegg and Brown were all about the same size.
    And if you look at the American Republican Debates the Men vying to become Commander in Chief were all quite tall.
    The notion of a seemingly weak looking Commander-in Chief being a liability led to denial that FD Roosevelt was wheelchair bound.

    Can a black man become President? Obviously yes.
    A woman? Probably.
    But James Maddison was 5 ft 4 inches……could a man of that height realistically become President? I doubt it.

  • lamhdearg

    not relevant to me, fjh, that is what i meant.

  • South Down Stoop

    Colin McGrath will probably be the co-optee for Ritchie’s Stormont seat. Went from 600-ish votes for Downpatrick Council DEA in 2005 to 1100 this election, still in his twenties. . and most importantly, isn’t hated by the non-Ritchieites of South Down. Which is rare.

  • I had looked up the Downpatrick Councillors and thought for a second about McGrath. The new talent that SDLP seems to want to bring on in South Down seems to lie to the south of the constituency.
    Realistically another Mournes person is not an option as it would unbalance the constituency and probably impact negatively on Karen McKevitt.
    Which makes me think that they are stuck with a reasonably successful councillor or bring in someone from outside.
    And as Claire Hanna fought Strangford and is a Ritchie favourite that might be the way to go. She is also highly capable. Of course it might be difficult to persuade a convention to endorse Ms Hanna and there might be cries of “foul” from senior people in Newcastle/Downpatrick and maybe even a resignation in true SDLP style.

    But I think SDLP actually needs big hitters and probably needs local councillors everywhere to realise their limitations or at least bide their time until they can actually prove themselves.
    What SDLP should be doing is actually “head hunting” people.