McGuinness: I am calling therefore on the SDLP to withdraw their candidates in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Upper Bann and North Belfast

Just when you think there aren’t any more rabbits in that Sinn Fein hat, Martin McGuinness pulled another one out of it today and just before the SDLP conference. Whilst the SDLP were hoping for a focus on welfare reform and budget cuts, it will now be overshadowed somewhat by an offer from McGuinness for a “Pro-Agreement pact” at Westminster.

Here are his remarks;

For the past two years the political process has been challenged by those who are attempting to turn the clock back. 

There is a need to send out a clear message of support for progressive politics, the Good Friday Agreement and genuine power sharing and partnership government.

With an imaginative approach we could maximise representation of progressive Pro Agreement parties at the next Westminster and Assembly elections and in the process challenge the negative agenda of the anti-agreement unionist axis.

 I am calling therefore on the SDLP to withdraw their candidates in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Upper Bann and North Belfast with the objective of delivering electable pro-Agreement candidates. If the SDLP choose to stand in these constituencies they risk handing these seats to anti-agreement unionists.

This would be a setback for the political process in the North. It would also add further momentum to the British government’s shift towards increasingly partisan support for negative unionism and provide allies and support for a future Tory assault on public services.

 In response Sinn Féin is prepared to withdraw candidates in other constituencies to reciprocate this move from the SDLP. This would clearly assist in the election of progressive pro-agreement candidates.

It is my understanding that McDonnell is set to reject this pact arguing that the SDLP will fight all 18 seats in May. This will be an incredibly interesting few days for the party as the most vulnerable MP in the SDLP party, he must be thinking whether this may not be an offer that is too good to refuse.

Another point of interest, is that not once did McGuinness reference, Nationalism in his statement, rather he is stressing the need for pro-agreement candidates to come together. I wonder does this include Naomi Long though?

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  • There are five parties in the Executive, so which ones aren’t pro-Agreeement? What does that mean anymore?

  • mickfealty

    Erm, this has the smack of ‘an offer you cannot refuse…’ what other than the proverbial horse’s head is in this for the SDLP?

  • mickfealty

    Apologies if I’m missing something vital…

  • Morpheus

    I wonder if it has ever entered SF’s thought process to stand back and allow the SDLP to take as many Westminster seats as possible to maximise the number of pro-Agreement representatives in Westminster rather than have abstentionist MPs?

  • Conor Conneally

    If the SDLP agree to this they might as well call in the Administrators and start selling off the Party Assets as they are admitting the Party is finished as a viable political force.

    McGuinness has a point though, Nationalism has to meet with the cynicism of Unionist Electoral Pacts. And this is probably the best way to do it.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Hopefully, the SDLP will tell Marty to catch himself on! Unionists in areas like F/South Tyrone need to start voting with their heads rather than their hearts. They need to give their vote to the SDLP in the areas that they can’t win. The SDLP will represent them Westminster. They also have no baggage from our troubled past as they were/are opposed to violence. Don’t be listening to Peter and Mike. Listen to the voice in your head that is saying you don’t have the numbers to win certain Westminster seats, and vote SDLP to get representation for your community.

  • NMS

    I would suggest that the correct stance from the SDLP is to support the nomination of Ms. Cahill against them in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and ask the Unionists to withdraw their candidate to give her a clear run as the anti-gangster candidate.

    It is surely more important now that the SDLP stand up against them.

  • This is an attempt by SF to get an issue to dominate SDLP conference at the weekend. Last time after rejecting a Pact the SDLP lost a seat in F/ST. Is this an attempt at something similar? perhaps losing a seat in Upper Bann….
    SF will not lose any votes from looking a pact, but SDLP will lose votes for rejecting one. Iv often wondered wif Unionists want someone to take a seat at westminster why they dont pull out of West Tyrone, Mid-ulster and back the SDLP for the seat

  • Morpheus

    They should add in East Londonderry and see if they can curry Gregwardos yoghurt by taking 1 of his salaries away

  • chrisjones2

    Why are Unionist packs cynical? Nothing separates them as parties but the personalities of the leaders.

    There is however clear water between SF and the SDLP

    The DUP and UUP should counter this with an offer to the SDLP that they will ask all their voters to give their votes to the Stoops where a Unionist cannot win Now that would be real politics – the anti murder coalition

  • Conor Conneally

    I find all electoral pacts cynical as they reduce the democratic process to nothing more than a sectarian headcount.

  • chrisjones2

    If you share policies how is it cynical?

  • chrisjones2

    …and lose all those lovely expenses cheques? Do grow up man

  • mourneman

    This is grand standing. If this was a serious negotiation, the first discussions would have been made in private.
    Political diversion tactics after yesterday.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    South Belfast.

  • Joe_Hoggs

    No sectarian pacts in this case Morph?

  • chrisjones2

    For the past two years the political process has been challenged by those who are attempting to turn the clock back and cover up their history of murder, rape and other crimes

    There is a need to send out a clear message of support for those who did not resort to murder violence and kjangaroo courts, support inclusive politics, the Good Friday Agreement and genuine power sharing and partnership government.

    With an imaginative approach we could maximise representation of honest, non-sectarian,progressive Pro Agreement parties at the next Westminster and Assembly elections and in the process challenge the negative agenda of the anti-agreement republican axis whose lies are being exposed and who cannot make progress

    I am calling therefore on SF to withdraw their candidates in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, Upper Bann and North Belfast with the objective of delivering electable pro-Agreement candidates. If Sinn Fein choose to stand in these constituencies they will hand these seats to themuns over there whose eyes are too close together for comfort.

    This would be a setback for the political process in the North. It would also add further momentum to the British government’s shift towards trying to get people here to sit down together in a spirit of goodwill and find solutions rather than pander to one parties attempt to gain personal political ground in another part of Ireland

    In response the SDLP is prepared to assure the community that it will honestly and openly represent nationalists and work with unionists unlike the sectarian carping of Sinn Fein. This would clearly assist in the election of progressive pro-agreement candidates.

  • Zig70

    2 points. Pacts just come across as sectarian. By all means do it but be political, fall sick and withdraw otherwise the ones who will withdraw are the sdlp voters. The other thing is most nationalists think the unionist position is just canute like. Time will sort it out and there is no sense of urgency otherwise. There is no goal bring offered. Pro agreement parties? when the plan seems to be to run stormont as a basketcase.

  • Morpheus

    Sounds like it Joe, yes. In an Orange V. Green conundrum like this it was only a matter of time before the various shades of green and orange morphed together.

    There’s no guarantee that the SDLP will go for it anyway

  • Conor Conneally

    If you share all the same policies why keep up the charade of pretending to be two separate political parties? If Unionism’s central policy is to keep the Taigs out by any means necessary what does that tell you about Unionism?

  • Morpheus

    Astute point BJ

    The problem with the DUP pulling out of anywhere is that they need as many seats as possible to be of any use to the Tories.

  • chrisjones2


    The ‘Taigs’ problem(as you call them) that they are still a minority and that many ‘Taigs’ as you call them are closet unionists, Just as some Prods may be nationalists

  • chrisjones2

    What is sectarian about an anti murder coalition promotion reconcilliation

  • chrisjones2

    Its all Shinner Speak. Like the Seurocrats (remember them) who created the process and steered the SF faithful into the pen….Baa!!!

    Apparently Republicans cant exercise independent thought and need a bogey man to guarantee their reliability

  • barnshee

    Not a chance Gregory`s vote centres are solid ( angry) prod– he will probably increase his vote.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One of the only reasons I’d ever find myself wishing for a Tory landslide next election! I hear Peter is brassnecking all the incressingly vitriolic internal criticism in the vain of Nicholas Clegg’s old chair!

  • Sergiogiorgio

    An anti murder coalition….against whom exactly? I didnt realise the DUP and UUP were into murder now…..

  • Morpheus

    Dunno – Gregwardo got 12,097 votes – the combined SF/SDLP tally was 12,141 – add in the miffed Irish speakers and he might have a fight on his hands

  • Morpheus

    So Unionist pact good, nationalist pact bad…gotcha

    Say hello to Kermit for me 🙂

  • chrisjones2

    Not what i said at all

  • banana man

    I agree, unionism is very split in East Derry, TUV coming along strong, PUP got a man elected to the new council in Coleraine, and David McClarty elected as an independent in 2011. UUP probably looking to make a statement after losing their representation here altogether in 2011 also. With Flegorys and the DUP’s falling vote and Sinn Feins on the up here it could prove interesting

  • banana man

    Surely McDonnell knows his days are numbered as SDLP leader, this may be his get out jail card if it helps him hold onto South Belfast and that nice double pay packet

  • Morpheus

    Exhibit A: “Republicans can’t exercise independent thought and need a bogeyman to guarantee their reliability”
    Nationalist pact bad.

    Exhibit B: “Why are Unionist packs cynical? Nothing separates them as parties but the personalities of the leaders.”
    Unionist pact good

  • Robin Keogh

    I have long since been of the opinion that both the SDLP and SF should at the very least, work to reduce the antagonism that has grown between them in recent years. I think both parties would benifit from it ultimately. I am not a fan of pacts to be honest, however Unionism has engaged in it for decades, maybe the time has come for Nats to stand together – if you cant beat them, join them

  • Morpheus

    Maybe. But then again maybe not. Table DC2116NI in the last census showed us 3 things:
    1. in the U80s category ‘taigs’ are already the largest group
    2. in the over 80s ‘taigs’ are outnumber 2:1 so on average fewer are dying of old age
    3. at the other end of the spectrum (0-4year) the ‘taig’ birthrate is a third higher

    So maybe in the next census that minority status will be gone if it has not gone already.

    Any idea what the combined support is for political unionism among ‘taigs’? I’ll give you a clue, it rhymes with mero – you think Gregwardos actions at Stormont helped or hindered that?

    Onto your second point everyone knows that just because a person is a ‘taig’ doesn’t mean they will vote for a UI but it is interesting to note that the future of NI is either a UI or an NI where ‘taigs’ are the biggest group. Which do you prefer?

    (And I know ‘taig’ was not your choice of word before you start)

  • mickfealty

    Yes, but in a situation where there’s otherwise no sign of internal momentum within nationalism, this is merely an invitation to the SDLP to cut its own throat (or at least to prepare its own horses head for the early wake call).

    It ought to prompt a rethink on the part of the SDLP, but early signs of them attacking the DUP rather than SF for advancing an sectarian alliance (Alliance, hmm, yes, since when could they be conceivably considered anti Agreement?)

    In a situation where political language has been allowed to be completely drained of tangible meaning, parties like the SDLP will remain on the endangered species list.

  • mickfealty

    Aha, as in “play nice and we’ll call Mairtin off?”

  • Robin Keogh

    Attacking the DUP or SFon alliances will not gain votes. We saw as much in FST last time out. I think the SDLP should at least talk to SF about the various possibilities. If SF stand in south belfast McD will lose his seat for certain. I believe the SDLP have genuine respect for the electorate but their principled position on this issue only damages them electorally and rewards political Unionism which in my view is undeserving of professional political respect. A straight race between green and orange might also mobilise voters to turn out. Alliance and the greens can mop up the votes of those who might not be amused by the exercise. Moreover if SF take the Derry seat, McD will be finished and sadly so too will his party.

  • chrisjones2

    The point is that policy wise the DUP and UUP are virtually identical especially now that the Doc is no more

    The SDLP and SF are not.One is still up to its knees in blood and has a history of supporting 2500 murders by its associates.Now if people want to vote for that history they can but there is green water between them and the constitutional SDLP

    And in the quoyte above you have (consciouslY) selecteively misquoted me

    I said “Apparently Republicans cant exercise independent thought” ie that that seems to be SFs assessment of its own voter base.

  • chrisjones2

    Any idea what the combined support is for political unionism among ‘taigs’?

    So what. The question is how they vote or abstain

  • chrisjones2

    Whose arent?

  • Morpheus

    Yes, they don’t vote political unionism as shown by a combined 0% support. Is the future of the union a hope that ‘taigs’ will abstain?

    You didn’t say what option you prefer.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Cahill probably wouldn’t be eligible for Fermanagh-South Tyrone … probably would be more effective to put her in Louth or West Belfast.

  • Morpheus

    What specific DUP/UUP policies are virtually identical? I can think of one massive one where they are most assuredly not identical.

    When it comes to SF and SDLP policies then I suggest a re-read of their policies if you think there is a big difference between the 2 across the board.

    Your last point is a bit weird – are you trying to say that when republicans have a pact their voter base can’t exercise independent thought but when unionists have a pact their voter base can?

  • mjh

    This is a threat to the SDLP. Undoubtedly they will be punished by nationalist voters in these three constituencies for failing to stand aside. On the other hand they would receive no reward from the voters if they did.

    Indeed they might suffer more from the self-declaration of irrelevance that a withdrawal would represent.

    But this is also an opportunity for the SDLP to articulate a distinctive position – to convince nationalist voters that it is more important to vote for them than simply to pick the strongest nationalist party standing. Older SDLP voters know why they vote SDLP rather than SF. But what has the party done in the last 20 years to convince younger voters? Well now they have the opportunity – courtesy of Sinn Fein, and the platform – the party conference.

  • Gaygael

    I think this is exactly it. And their appeal is not to the SDLP as stated in the opinion piece. This is rather directly to the nationalist electorate. The SDLP have already rejected it, and they can’t do a nationalist deal.
    However, Could they do a pro agreement deal? That is what is interesting and the pointed absence of the use of nationalist and focus on pro agreement (did we ever really get away from 98/2003/2007?)
    They need alliance for that, and I can’t imagine alliance trying to get in on a pact. Especially as east belfast has less than 1500 Nat votes. There was as many green votes at council. Where else could the seriously try and tempt alliance?
    It was the same in FST last time around. The threat is bigger this time with MOM, but i feel it is just that, a threat. He will be a minister in the next assembly. And then will be profile time for an assault at south belfast. Not just yet.

  • NMS

    Kev, West Belfast would be a waste of time, I think I would leave that one to the Trots, not that they have a councillor. But Fermanagh-South Tyrone is winnable. There would also be the delightful irony of a member of the Cahill family beating the Provos – and also all those unionist queueing to vote for a member of the Cahill family.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I think if there were to be a nationalist agreement to stand pro Agreement candidates, these candidates if elected should take their seats in Westminster and argue for its full implementation there.

  • Old Mortality

    Good point, Morpheus.
    The SDLP should make it a condition of any pact that resulting SF winners should take their seats at Westminster.

  • If SF stands mucker the only thing that would happen in South Belfast is that either a Unionist or Alliance would pick up the seat. Of course, that would be the SDLP’s fault.

  • chrisjones2

    Another diversionary announcement to sop up airtime

  • mickfealty

    Now we have a proper context for Adams remarks on BBCNI pouring contempt on Social Democrats…

  • Gaygael

    What did Adams say? Have been away a few days.

  • Gaygael

    It’s a win either way for Sinn Fein. If they stand in south belfast then the doc is in trouble. And if unionists pull a decent unity candidate then he’s toast. The dup themselves could technically sneak through with our a pact if everyone stands.

    Still hope that Anna Lo throws her hat in the ring. Could be fascinating,

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Then Ms Cahill would have to join the SDLP NMS as the Stoop leader has said today that the SDLP will be standing in all 18 constituencies –

    But if she does- from being a dissident to becoming a Stoop- oh- the irony –

  • carl marks

    Any form of a “pan nationalist front” would be as damaging to nationalism as unionists attempts at unified candidates have been to unionism, SF would of course dominate such a alliance and whilst the SDLP is very much a spent force i don’t think that bending over to the shinners will do them (or anybody else) any good,
    Strangely this may give Alliance a leg up since many people will not vote any shade of green just to keep the unionists out.

  • carl marks

    but then that would be rational, can’t see it happening!

  • carl marks

    do the unionists not have a pack with the UDA/UVF and that anti catholic group the OO, maybe you should have considered that before you posted!

  • carl marks

    sorry i left out ,hardly a anti murder coalition.

  • The Lagan

    The combination of 1. unionist pacts and 2. SDLP not reciprocating will result in the death knell for the SDLP.

    I believe that if unionists pacts are successful then nationalists pacts will be inevitable.

    Nationalists could bank S Belfast, N Belfast and FST permanently and take the fight to E Derry and Upper Bann etc..

  • Gopher

    The SDLP steered too close to SF hence this “take over” bid. The SDLP has used the same lingo and vetoed the same bills, SF know unless they pull rabbits from the hat 2015 will be a damp squid, the votes simply arnt there. So the the SDLP becomes the hat and North Belfast becomes the rabbit. The rest is insurance (F&ST,) or smoke and mirrors (Upper Bann). Also I’m sure such the offer will get mono cognitive nationalism finest columnists thoroughly motivated to prove (again) rapture is just a heartbeat away.

  • Morpheus

    Other way around…as SF came in from the extremes they took over the moderate nationalist ground while ineffective SDLP leader after ineffective SDLP leader did little to prevent it

  • Gopher

    Nope the SDLP refused to moderate it’s United Ireland stance which is exactly the same as SF. Forced them into using the exact same lingo on every subject from the Tories to OO. Watch the SDLP run for the cover of a tricolour when the your not “republican” line from SF gets wheeled out. The Nazis did not get the enabling act by moving towards the centre.

  • chrisjones2

    They are all pro £ ….sorr I meant agreement of course

  • chrisjones2

    See comment to RIbin……thats the way the SF attitude to the sheep looks

  • chrisjones2

    Nice try …..

  • tcgriffin

    ‘ I wonder does this include Naomi Long though?’

    Would it really be helpful to Naomi Long, if it did?

  • Starviking

    A very good idea, for otherwise the SDLP would be effectively disenfranchising their voters in seats where they give SF a free run.

  • tmitch57

    I should point out that about two weeks ago I reminded Bitter Green Thumbs that sectarian election pacts were hardly a unionist monopoly. I thank Mr. McGuinness for reminding all the readers of this blog that this is not only a historic phenomenon on the part of nationalists but a contemporary one as well.

  • Morpheus

    Moderate it’s United Ireland stance? Their stance doesn’t get much more moderate .They want it and will peacefully and democratically works towards it.

    You lost it when you mentioned the word Nazi I’m afraid – as a courtesty you really should put that first so readers know to disregard the rest 🙂

  • Gopher

    Nope their binary position on a United Ireland is the same as SF and their lingo on the subject is exactly the same “North of Ireland” etc. That is not a centrist position, over ten times on this site I have asked SDLP posters directly to explain to me the difference apart from a United Ireland with abortion or one without politically between themselves and SF. I am still waiting the reply. Don’t think I called anyone Nazi’s just gave a valid example of how supposed democratic parties voted themselves out of existence by sharing the same goals as them. The SDLP by failing to establish a post agreement vision distinct from SF remain at their “extreme” binary position.

  • Morpheus

    This is getting weird. Of course it’s a binary position, you either want a UI or you don’t – they do and have made it very clear. “Extreme” doesn’t come into it. A party who wants a UI is no more “extreme” than one that doesn’t. If you think it does then I suggest a re-read of the GFA.

    If you want to know the SF and SDLP policies then why wait for someone else to tell you…they are just a few clicks away but hey, I’ll give you a head start


  • Gopher

    “Extreme” does come into it when vote, veto and interview are used in identical fashion the mechanics become one and the same. I am well aware of the euphemism’s used by Nationalism thank you very much and equate to the same thing so my request for someone to explain the difference remains valid. Soon nationalism like unionism will have less than 50% of their (sic) population voting. UI or no is becoming obsolete as an electoral vehicle, I suggest the SDLP reads the runes before SF robs it of the diminishing returns at the “extreme”. Alex Attwoods continued electoral death spiral is a case study of the principle in action.

  • Slater

    Odd that McGuinness leaves out South Belfast from his list.

    Perhaps it is a telling slip and means SF are not going to pull out of that contest, come what may?

  • Morpheus

    1. Again, if you think working towards a UI is ‘extreme’ then I suggest a re-read of The Good Friday Agreement.

    2. You don’t need anyone to explain anything to you any more regarding SF and SDLP policies, you have the links right there – I suggest you use them.

    3. I agree, the SDLP’s USP is all but gone due to ineffective leadership spanning many years – my original point – and they need to find a new one now that SF have come in from the cold.

    4. SF are no longer out in the extremes so having similar views to them doesn’t make the SDLP extreme

  • Gopher

    1/ The Anglo Irish Agreement means all things to all men, a bit like the bible and like the bible those who interpret the text literally (every day, day in day out) do come across a bit extreme and boring. I know you will think differently but then nationalists parties don’t have to worry about your vote.

    2/ Believe me I do like I said nationalism use of euphemism means we have a another minority language on these Islands.

    3/ Leader won’t change a thing they need to move from SF to a less abrasive position re The strange case of Alex Attwood the man who would not shut up.

    4/ You do read the news?

  • tmitch57

    “If Unionism’s central policy is to keep the Taigs out by any means necessary what does that tell you about Unionism?”

    Isn’t McGuinness’s proposed pact simply an attempt to keep the Orangies out by any means necessary? What does that tell you about republicanism? It should be remembered that the first proposed election pact was in 1981 when the SDLP candidate was pressured to stand aside in the Fermanagh and S. Tyrone by-election so that the Shinners could have a clear shot at the seat. It just shows that they haven’t really changed in 30 plus years.

  • Morpheus

    1. Anglo Irish Agreement? I said Good Friday Agreement. Maybe that is where you are going wrong. Here’s a link, just in case:

    2. That’s not even English, try again.

    3. The SDLP don’t have an abrasive position

    4. Yes, thanks for asking

  • Gopher

    1/ My apologies I meant the good Friday agreement, how could I possibly have got that wrong given the frequent and methodical reminders though the fact remains literal interpretation is both extreme and boring.

    2/ My apologies again but without the euphemism’s an explanation of the difference would be welcome

    3/ Maybe not to the enthusiasts

    4/ I’m not sure SF are ready to lose that extreme tag anytime soon going by the recent stories

  • notimetoshine

    Pathetic, sectarian politics is alive and kicking. Pro agreement my arse, nationalist and unionist electoral pacts….oh the joy

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think that is their thought process. That is why they are not asking the SDLP to step down in any of the seats they hold. Realistically, the SDLP have no prospect of making any Westminster gains.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Given that the raison d’etre of the SDLP for the past few decades has been to push SF into politics and make them acceptable to the nationalist middle class, I think you’re on a hiding to nothing here

  • Comrade Stalin

    I believe the SDLP have genuine respect for the electorate but their principled position on this issue only damages them electorally

    Exactly what evidence do you have for this damage ?

    SF have been calling for pacts for a long time – I remember Gerry Kelly calling for a pact in North Belfast in 1997 (back when it would have made no difference). Yet the SDLP are still here and have three fairly solid seats.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The TUV pledged some time ago that they would not stand in any election where doing so could cause a non-unionist to win a seat, and I imagine they will be sticking to that.

    There is absolutely no chance of a combined nationalist candidate taking East Derry. Like barnshee said – angry prods.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The very fact that the two parties are calling for a pact, and that Nesbitt in particular has been calling for a pact, suggest that they agree on a lot more than they disagree.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The cynicism of unionist pacts is because they are sectarian. It’s about keeping “our lot” in.

    If unionists were combining on some grand initiative to reform the country or deliver some kind of breakthrough, then I couldn’t complain. But they’re not. They’re not proposing any kind of combined manifesto. Their stated aim is simply to maximise the number of Prods sitting on the green benches – they have said so themselves.

  • Comrade Stalin

    taigs and prods are both a minority, just in case you hadn’t been keeping up.

  • tmitch57

    Are you somehow claiming that nationalist pacts are not sectarian? How is the proposed SF pact any different from the proposed unionist pact? The basic problem is that 90 plus percent of the electorate thinks primarily in sectarian terms. The PR-STV is ideal for cross-community voting in support of common purposes. But when the GFA was in trouble the vast majority of nationalists couldn’t be persuaded to used their supplementary preferences for UUP candidates rather than SF candidates–at a time when the IRA was opposed to decommissioning and the SDLP leadership was saying that they supported the demand for decommissioning–and the vast majority of UUP voters couldn’t be persuaded to give their lower preferences to SDLP candidates instead of for DUP candidates when the DUP was opposing the GFA.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I worded it badly. I should have said “the proposed unionist pacts” rather than the concept of unionists organizing a pact.

    What I meant was that any pact created for the purpose of preserving a tribal headcount is automatically sectarian. The unionists have been trying to suggest that their pact proposals are constructive as they are seeking to ensure that a representative who takes their seat – but their true motives are revealed by the fact that they are proposing pacts in East and South Belfast which do not have abstentionist MPs.

    I must confess to a slight bias, as I’ve said here before that if I lived in North Belfast I’d seriously consider voting for Gerry Kelly in order to send Nigel Dodds and the DUP a message. A nationalist pact along those lines – ie a message of preserving and promoting agreement and progress by pushing out MPs who embrace obstruction and destabilisation – is not quite as sectarian as a pact designed to maximise the number of Prods.

    I remember the elections in the mid/late 90s and I think some nationalists did transfer, or indeed occasionally lend votes, to constructivist unionist parties including the PUP – at the expense of Alliance. That all fell apart when the mood soured around the time of the GFA and following it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The SDLP is not moderate on a UI. It’s the number one policy priority on their website.

    That said, a major reason why I don’t vote for the SDLP is because they are crap and have no vision. If they did, I wouldn’t care if they were in favour of a UI.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think so too, although it will be a battle of nerves, as SF know that splitting the vote could hand the seat to the unionists, and if that happens the Stoops will rightly pillory them for it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is nothing about the present situation that would lend itself to Alliance agreeing to a pact.

    Personally I’m not interested in a “pro-agreement” pact. Everyone is pro-agreement except the TUV. If you wanted to sell me a pact, it would be a “make the government work and agree compromises at the talks” pact.

  • tmitch57

    “So then, Comrade, hypothetically you would be a principled sectarian voter rather than a run-of-the-mill sectarian voter?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Surely I have already explained this at length.

    There is only one challenger to Nigel Dodds in North Belfast who has a chance, and it’s Gerry Kelly. A voter there, me included, is basically weighing up the choice between voting for a wrecker who encourages loyalist pipe dreams at Twaddell, to an ex-bomber who broadly supports peaceful means in the present and future (despite continuing to commemorate it in the past). That isn’t a sectarian line of thought.