#SpAdBill controversy proves cross community politics CAN work

Via Jude Collins, a fascinating spat on Nolan this morning between himself and Malachi O’Doherty. For the most part the argument was over the framing of the SpAd Bill, with Malachi confessing his belief that it was an argument better not having.

Effectively, Jude sees it as a double punishment for past

…the Allister-Alasdair bill has hurled us back into the past, where old quarrels are resurrected, spitefulness and discrimination rule the day, and rather than create jobs, the law sees that someone is kicked out of his job.

Malachi sees it as an outcropping of a materialistic argument in which justification of the IRA’s campaign is their prime objective. This from his Facebook page:

It is marvelous that the IRA came to see that they could only expand politically by slotting in with the majority nationalist view that violence was unwarranted. But they still want the record to show that they were justified in a ‘war’.

Towards the ends of the piece he notes two important things, I think.

– One, that the large anti Agreement sentiment with in the unionist population has here coalesced with a strong distrust of the Sinn Fein project within Catholic population to actually get things done.

– Two, that if Jim Allister is the smartest operator in Stormont then others need to watch what he’s done and start learning from him.

In his view both are significant developments within politics which are to be welcomed.

As I noted here just before Christmas, “what’s required is the emergence substantive political actors who are not committed to ‘being’ in the middle, but are capable of ‘acting decisively through’ the middle.”

I confess, I never dreamed it would be the TUV and the SDLP who’d be the first to make that happen…

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