UPDATE-Conall McDevitt leaves a huge void for the SDLP to fill…

Today brought the curtain down on Conall Mc Devitt’s short three and a half year run as an MLA. Always controversial and never boring McDevitt made a real impact on the political life of Northern Ireland.

The derision he endured over his southern roots were constantly used against him with labels like ‘the mouth from the south’ and the infamous moment on the Nolan Show when a woman told him to ‘keep his nose’ out of our business ignoring the fact that he was a northern public representative.

Yet rather than slow him down, the more criticism he appeared to get, the more vocal he appeared to become.

After less than two years as an MLA a poll of nearly 45% of the vote in the SDLP leadership contest is a testament to his broad appeal across the party. If they were honest with themselves how many other of our MLAs after just two years would even think about contesting the leadership of their parties?

To me McDevitt’s approach seemed to be either to crash through or just crash. Ultimately it was the latter. A rapid rise segued to a dramatic downfall in full public gaze.

The silence of many of his colleagues within the SDLP tells its own story.

Compare how the DUP rallied around Nelson McCausland or how Sinn Fein stood behind Conor Murphy, the internal support that McDevitt got was notably lacking.

Alasdair McDonnell’s statement tonight contained more than a touch Marc Anthony burying rather than praising a fallen general..

The South Belfast branch of the SDLP will now have to choose a successor in a highly marginal seat.

My own personal bet is on Balmoral Councillor Claire Hanna (daughter of former MLA Carmel Hanna). Hanna ticks a lot of boxes as she has roots in the constituency and a growing profile within the city.

You may have others? Whoever takes over, McDevitt has left a large void. Watch this space as the SDLP attempt to fill it.

Update-McDevitt confirms via Twitter he will not be returning to public life

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  • Charles_Gould

    CS

    He found that he had erred and he took the ultimate step of resigning, as a way of redeeming his honour. No other MLA has had this level of moral conscience to have seen his error and to, by paying the large price of resigning, “pluck bright honour from the pale faced moon”, to quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV.

    His party leader has pointed out the cost that he has imposed on himself. In my view, he has taken the right steps to seek redemption of his honour.

    Far rather a person of talent, who errs and redeems his honour, than a person of none, whose mind goes not much further than the filling out of forms.

    Conall McDevitt had labour values, he cared passionately about policy issues that could improve peoples lives,particularly the less well off. He cared about issues in international development. He was a man for whom public life was a calling.

    Public life has lost a major figure, he is a loss not just to the SDLP, but to the left, and to the public.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Some SDLP supporters seem to uniquely try to almost deify personalities within the party. One SDLP supporter here a few years ago describe John Hume as some sort of agent of God – and he was being serious.

    Hume is another character who gets a great deal of the credit for things he did not do.

  • Comrade Stalin

    He found that he had erred

    .. and sat on it for three years before doing anything about it.

    as a way of redeeming his honour

    This is not the confessional. You don’t get to erase your sins by admitting and apologizing for them.

    Anyway you said that he had the “highest standards”. This is obviously not correct. Most of the other 108 MLAs have not been found not to have declared their interests, and therefore almost all of them have higher standards than McDevitt.

  • David Crookes

    CS: “Hume is another character who gets a great deal of the credit for things he did not do.”

    Bravo. Amen. Less of the deification.

    Think I spelt that word right.

  • Charles_Gould

    There is a case for saying that a person may be judged by his mistakes, but we all make mistakes, and men of action, men of talent, men of valour, are likely to make more mistakes than cowering men of timidity. As GBS said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” There is also a case for saying that a person may be judged by how he responds to his mistakes. Conal responded with integrity. And in so doing he began the process of redemption.

  • LuvSummer

    CG to… LuvSummer have the press picked up on this?

    I believe so, the media were all through this document in the last week.

    I suspect the McKevitt scandal will roll out in next few weeks but who knows. Its all a matter of public record, best the SDLP deal with it now and move on.

    SouthDownStoop; is there much talk about it in the constituency ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    but we all make mistakes, and men of action, men of talent, men of valour, are likely to make more mistakes than cowering men of timidity.

    What about men who are caughtly acting in such a way that could lead to the impression that they are secretly trying to line their pockets ?

    As GBS said, “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

    How can you be sure he was not deliberately concealing details of his financial dealings in order to line his pockets ?

    Conal responded with integrity. And in so doing he began the process of redemption.

    You appear to be suggesting that people can do whatever they want, and it will all be forgotten about if they apologize and step aside for it.

  • LuvSummer

    CS ..”Most of the other 108 MLAs have not been found not to have declared their interests, and therefore almost all of them have higher standards than McDevitt.”

    And of those who have been found not to have made a declaration, how many resigned? 1

    Is it good enough to say our MLAs are almost all honest people. McDevitt did raise the bar by leaving.

  • LuvSummer

    Repost question to SouthDownStoop

    just incase the question go lost in the thread, can you tell us if there is much local chat about the McKevitt scandal (not McDevitt)

    OMG this could get confusing!

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Comrade,
    the bloke you refer to suffers from severe mental illness, so not the best example you could have used to highlight alleged SDLP vainglory.

  • ayeYerMa

    CS: “You appear to be suggesting that people can do whatever they want, and it will all be forgotten about if they apologize and step aside for it.”

    That sounds a bit like you and SF/IRA, though there seems to be little apologetic about them.

  • paulG

    Charles seems to be under the impression that Labour in the Republic, is a party of the left and Conall’s resignation is a huge loss for the left. The Irish Labour Party is actually a very centrist party, which attracts very little working class vote. It’s main support comes from the states unionised public service emplyees and others who are paid far in excess of that warranted by their efforts. They are largely middle class, as are the Champagne Socialists who lead the party.

    The Public Service voters and Party Leaders are primarily interested in protecting their cushy numbers at the expense of the rich or the poor or the squeezed middle – they really don’t care which.

    Gay marriage, raised earlier on this thread as one of Conalls triumphs, demonstrares a classic Labour tactic of distracting the media with a theoretically controversial issue, close to the hearts of their middle class, dinner party liberal wing, while the families of the masses suffer un-noticed. There will have been more families broken by debt driven suicide, than Lesibian/Gay couples with children available to marry. Multiply that by 10,000 for a sense of the families that merely split apart under the huge financial pressures. – Meanwhile, the idealogues pontificate, while their spin doctors lead the media by the nose.

    Oops, I’ve just summarised Conall’s political career.

    Will he be missed by the poor? Will he fuck!

  • cynic2

    “McDevitt did raise the bar by leaving”

    Perhaps but our ever honest Duppers are expert limbo dancers

  • LuvSummer

    cynic2 , aahhhh now come on, you cant just plant an image like this in my head and then walk away. LOL

    Not just the Duppers tho, watch McDonnell try and squeeze under when the South Down Karen McKevitt issue of not declaring payment to family members is aired.

    McDevitt reminded the public that the SDLP had a strong moral code and core, but the McKevitt issue will show the reality that McDonnell does not subscribe to that code.