John Manley has an interview with David Ford in today’s Irish News. Much of it what you might expect, but Mr Ford is clearly taking the opportunity to throw out a long line for nationalist voters (traditionally an area of poor returns for the party).
If there was ever a time for them to go fishing for nationalist voters it is probably now when the party’s stock is relatively high after their central part in the flag vote in Belfast.
What he offers is less a pitch and than an analysis of the current difficulties of the SDLP:
The Alliance leader also sees schisms emerging in the SDLP, with one side characterised by its bid to compete with Sinn Fein “for the green vote” and another faction manouevering closer to his own party’ ideology.
“If you look at te difficulties the party leadership is having over the naming of a park in Newry or the case in Dungannon where SDLP councillors failed to support Councillor [Sammy] Brush there is difficulty within the SDLP that they do not know where to position themselves,” he says.
“Their difficulties are nowhere near as extreme as the Ulster Unionists but there are ideological differences within the SDLP that are not being handled in a particularly coherent way.”
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