I don’t have anything particular to note about this interview other than, it’s been a very long time since the SDLP leader gave an interview to anyone. And it shows.
There’s not a lot he can do about the bull in the china shop thing, but just by doing it and getting something of a pro victims party line out he may have helped to steady some nerves both inside and outside the chamber today.
Jude Collins thinks (and he is far from alone amongst those on the hill and off) that the most damaging line was when McDonnell said Paul Kavanagh was “well down the pecking order” of victims.
It certainly won’t appeal to SF’s base. And in no wise can this be spun post hoc as the product of a coherent internal party process. Ex prisoners, whilst often important figures in their own community, do not generally vote for the SDLP (even those who are disenchanted with SF).
But you do have to wonder whether they may have stumbled into an popular position which entails them doing the difficult (evident from the crooked path they took to this point), but perhaps, in the public mind at least, the right thing, if not by all victims of the troubles, then a significantly large majority of them.
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