Tories taunt Labour with a prospective coalition partner they may themselves have to deal with…

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 16.10.15This may be something to savour in the months to come. It’s the Conservatives latest anti Labour campaign ahead of May’s General Election in which they picture Ed Miliband in a triple coalition with the SNP and Sinn Fein.

Two problems with it that I can see. One, the Sinn Fein story is, apparently, complete and utter balls. Two, it could be a massive hostage to fortune if the Conservatives end up looking to Alex Salmond to shore up the next administration.

In Ireland, which has had to handle coalition government for generations, political parties have had to develop a sideways approach to electioneering (and politics) which Westminster’s FPTP two party hegemony does not readily facilitate. Never say never. And never openly taunt your opponent with something you may eventually have to do yourself..

As for the story of Sinn Fein taking their seats, there has been oddly feverish speculation in London about that for months now.

Maybe someone in Sinn Fein has just been teasing? Or may be they (possibly correctly) think that taking their seats would be an effective way to obliterate yet another distinction between themselves and the SDLP.

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

  • chrisjones2

    Those three make Putin look peachy

    So what do SF do its they are actually partners in Government in Westminster? Re-annex Ireland!!!! That would even get the Prod vote out for them

  • Tacapall

    “Maybe someone in Sinn Fein has just been teasing”

    Maybe others also read the hastily removed Martin O Millionaire tweet about being in Westminster soon. There’s no such thing as never in politics and Sinn Fein is no different than any other political party they will scream no from one side of their mouths while whispering yes from the other. Like you said above Mick, the Tories are no different, they would happily accept Sinn Fein or SNP support, as long as they could hide the truth from the electorate.

  • sean treacy

    John,I can assure you they will not take their seats for the simple reason that there is absolutely nothing to be gained by doing so.

  • Ian James Parsley

    Really bad from the Conservatives. Outright and disgraceful scaremongering. They know it can’t and won’t happen.

    If you’re confident enough in your record, you shouldn’t need to hoodwink voters.

  • Old Mortality

    DUP right-wing extremists!
    I can recall after the last general election, the newly-elected DUP member for Strangford telling listeners of The World Tonight that Northern Ireland was a “public- sector type economy” and so couldn’t be doing with cuts in public spending. Nobody who expresses such an opinion could be properly described as right-wing.

  • “Maybe someone in Sinn Fein has just been teasing?”


    UTV’s Ken Reid was pointing to this post by Gary Gibbon at the Channel 4 blog yesterday (27 Jan)

    Sinn Féin

    They don’t take up their seats in Westminster. But intriguingly I hear that hasn’t stopped Labour shadow cabinet members wooing them and testing the waters to see if they could be persuaded to sit in the Commons if it helped to keep the Tories out of power.

    Pat Doherty MP tells me he is regularly badgered by Labour shadow cabinet members on the question and he says he consistently replies that the republicans won’t shift their position. [added emphasis]

  • Cue Bono

    I think this is highly likely to be a piece of cunning Conservative scaremongering, but it does raise a number of points.

    Would there ever be a scenario where the Conservatives might need the SNP in order to shore up their vote? Surely if thngs were that tight the SNP would be in bed with the Labour Party and they would be in government?

    There can be absolutely no doubt that there are plenty of loony lefties in the Labour Party who would be delighted to be in bed with Sinn Fein. Even at the height of the Provo murder campaign they were cosying up to them, and as recent times have shown, when the more right wing Blairites were in power they bent over backwards to appease IRA terrorists. That scenario is not unthinkable, but it would be the nail in the Labour coffin as far as the British public is concerned.

    What of the Sinners taking their seats in Westminster then? They are a ‘leader for life’ party administered by a tiny cabal who are closely linked and subordinate to the Provo Army Council. They have sold their followers a ceasefire, decommissioning of their weapons, acceptance of the Crown Forces in Northern Ireland and leadership positions in the administration of British rule in this part of Ireland.

    The folowers do what they are told. If Gerry tells them that taking seats in Westminster is all part of his cunning plan to deliver a united Ireland any day now then that is what they will be all over this site telling us. Surrendering another key plank in their republican belief system will be sold here as another deadly blow to the Union, but more importantly of course, another deadly strike against Unionists (Prods). The Sinner cult will do what they are told with enthusiasm and confidence and enjoy doing it.

  • Cue Bono

    Almost as bad as the Labour lies about the NHS then Ian?

  • chrisjones2

    He could easily do it. United under the Crown

  • kalista63

    Certainly sounds like the Tories know something and it’s not something they like the look of.

    It also shows their, as if it were needed, complete ignorance of politics here.

  • Ian James Parsley

    Yes. Good call.

    This election campaign is already truly awful. Can’t wait for 8 May, from a GB angle!

  • Ian James Parsley

    Not sure the media do themselves any credit either by making up a story which clearly doesn’t exist.

  • Cue Bono

    If Milliband gets in he owes Farage a hell of a lot of pints.

  • Barneyt

    It’s one thing having Sf in government in the north and south of Ireland… But doing the LondonDublin thing will allow them to negotiate an Irish settlement…with themselves. Of course I’m being tongue in cheek….but indicating a willingness to take their Westminster seats would further normalise them in the ROI. Interesting.

  • aber1991

    “SF need to get themselves into the position where they dont care what SDLP think or do….and despite the protestaions of their keyboard warriors, they are not at that point.”

    I think that, for nearly 20 years, Sinn Fein have not cared what the SDLP think or do.

  • Robin Keogh

    Wouldnt it be a scream if after the next Dublin elections SF were in power in Dublin, London and Belfast. Now that would be some story x

  • Cue Bono

    It would be highly amusing alright. Who would they blame for the cuts?

  • Robin Keogh

    It would really depend on who the SNP preferred to get into bed with. I honestly could never imagine a Tory/SNP gov.

    Many Labour MPs were very sympathetic to Sinn Fein and the nationalist minority when they suffered cultural, economic and sectarian terrorism at the hands of the ruling Unionist dictatorship which caused the conflict. So i agree, its probably more likely that labour could do a deal with SF.

    Also, i would imagine that most parties in Britain probably admire the way republicans destroyed the old Stormont, got Dublins nose into Belfast, achieved power sharing and stuck the RUC back into the sewer from which they came. All topped up when Queen Liz paid her respects at the memorial to IRA volunteers.

    The best of all reasons for labour to team up with SF is probably the fact that SF is so united around a common goal, devoted to the greater good and committed to equality and justice for all. Labour might learn a few things on how to create a truly great open, honest and skilled political family.

  • Robin Keogh

    Brussels ?

  • Cue Bono

    That would be a turn around.

  • mac tire

    Cue, when all the screaming is over, I reckon he’ll owe Nicola Sturgeon more than Farage.

  • Cue Bono

    Farage is splitting the conservative vote. He is the man who will get Milliband into Downing Street.

  • mac tire

    Indeed Farage will make an impact (probably not seat-wise but, as you say, by splitting). Labour will still rely on coalition partners – and the likely candidates are a seemingly unstoppable SNP. I believe the SNP will make a greater impact with their potential strength than Farage’s splitting.

  • Cue Bono

    Well I’ll try again since my earlier contribution was censored.

    1. Yes you are correct about the SNP. They will always go with Labour over the Tories.

    2. You are correct that the Looney Left identifies with republican terrorists.

    3. You are probably unaware that the most effective British Secretary of State in dealing with PIRA terrorism was Roy Mason. Of the Labour Party. He killed and imprisoned a lot of Provos. (Brought in the SAS)

    4. British parties regard republicans SF as the political wing of the terrorists who murdered their citizens. Outside the Looney Left they do not admire them in any way whatsoever.

    5. The one thing that Labour and SF do have in common is their inability to understand economics. If either get into power they are guaranteed to mess up the economy.

  • Cue Bono

    The good news is that the SNP gains come at the expense of Scottish labour MP’s seats. There is a fair old chance that the SNP will get the Tories in.

  • mac tire

    I agree. SNP will seemingly take from Labour in Scotland. But I still think Labour will get enough elsewhere (just about, mind you) to get into government with SNP help.
    In saying that, Cue bono, things could change very quickly. It’s THAT type of election – and all the more interesting for it.

  • David Crookes

    Indeed, Cue Bono. Since Mr Adams has got off both with his treatment of brother Liam and his handling of Miss Cahill’s case, we can be pretty sure that when he tells the faithful about his Fiddler-on-the-Roof dream, they will say, ‘The Fuehrer is always right.’
    Most parties have voters. SF has votaries. If the party’s elected representatives in Northern Ireland had any spine, they would have told Mr Adams to stay away from the Stormont House talks.
    But SF is a no-show-without-Punch party. If Mr Punch tells his votaries that he has become Judy, they will believe him.
    Whatever the case, election night is going to be the quare oul crack.

  • the rich get richer

    Sometimes people can be a bit too smart for their own good. If the Tories are behind this then they are in that category.

    I would imagine that the Tories will drop this photo vey quickly. Its probably why it has been put out so early in the campaign. Plenty of time to be forgotten .

  • Cue Bono

    I think that as we get closer to the election the British people will take a long hard look at Milliband and cast their minds back to what he and Balls/Brown did to the economy. At the minute the British economy is on a roll, unemployment is dropping like a stone, youth employent is on the up and people are generally in a much better place than they have been for quite some time. It would be absolutely moronic to put all of that at risk by taking a chance on a man with a proven track record of economic incompetence. A man who struggles to eat a bacon sandwich ffs.

    Having said all that Farage could let him in by the back door. If that happened then we woud be in a position were the country was being run by a left wing government despite the majority of people casting their votes for right wing candidates.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Too SMART … they know Gerry is an elected official in Louth, an area that hasn’t had an MP in over 80 years?

  • Kevin Breslin

    In Ireland, which has had to handle coalition government for generations, political parties have had to develop a sideways approach to electioneering (and politics) which Westminster’s FPTP two party hegemony does not readily facilitate. Never say never. And never openly taunt your opponent with something you may eventually have to do yourself..

    That’s only true in 26/32 counties, nothing stopping Westminster adopting Stormont’s war-coalition model.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Like Redmond’s Irish Parliamentary Party and Carson’s Unionists during the First World War?

    Tell me how did that work out for them?

  • Robin Keogh

    I try not to compare politival cultures that are almost a century part, normally not a good comparison.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Merely saying that story has been told. Sinn Féin had a lot more power in Ireland 80 years ago and not only was Ireland divided, so was Sinn Féin.

  • Robin Keogh

    They are not divided now

  • Cue Bono

    Well there are different versions of Sinn Fein. Republican SF, Provisional SF etc, but you are right about the Provo version. They are not divided because no one outside of the leadership cabal is allowed to think independently. The party line is produced and signed off by the Dear Leader and everyone tows the line.

    That is why when something happens, which is beyond their control, they lock themselves down into radio silence until the AC and Dear Leader tell them what to say. It is hilarious to watch at times, but the subject matters do tend to be deadly serious.

  • Robin Keogh

    The problem for you here Cue is that what you percieve as reality is actually an invention in your head. I accept that you cant see it, far easier to believe that half a million people on this island are mere robots who are progammed to behave according to the buttons being pressed. This narrative suits those who are both afraid and in awe at how an organisation can grow so quickly mobilised around similar principles and goals and produce public representatives who are intelligent, approachable and capable. This compared to the fractured spine of political Unionism. The Death of Unionist supremecy and the advance of British indifference to the Union where NI is concerned must be painful to one such as yourself, but there is no going back and if all u have to hang onto is a delusional belief that Republicans are somesort of inbred drones, to keep alive ur sense of Unionist superiority – it will have no impact on the growing confidence of post conflict nationalism on this island. So Drone on my man, if it makes you happy.

  • Cue Bono

    Ein Volk, Ein Reich etc, etc, etc.

    Embarrassing. Can you tell me Robin of one case of open disagreement within Sinn Fein? You can’t simply because it is not tolerated. You are issued with the party line and you will follow it slavishly. On one occasion we had the amusing sight of a Provo propaganda rag criticising the Dear Leader’s perormance in west Belfast. The very next week it was forced to print a retraction. A couple of Spads who disagreed with the Dear Leader’s stance (since embarrassingly changed) on welfare reform were forced to resign in absolute silence. One launched a legal challenge, but it was quietly settled and hushed up.

    The fact that SF is a political cult made up of drones who do what they are told has nothing to do with any sense of Unionist supremacy. It is simply an indisputable fact. SF are not a normal political party. Are you really claiming that they have half a million members?

  • Alan N/Ards

    “stuck the RUC back to the sewer from which they came”
    Pretty awful comment there, Robin. Did you know any members of the RUC? I had the privilege of knowing a number who were assassinated by the provos. They were decent, hardworking individuals, whose children were heartbroken by cowardly republicans. I actually thought that you were a peace loving, forward thinking individual. Maybe the mask has slipped.

  • Robin Keogh

    Alan, I am a peace lover but I have no problem defending myself when necessarry be it physically or on here. Thankfully I have never been in the former position. And yes I have known one RUC officer who left the organisation years ago because of its rotten core. I am fully aware that there were plenty of decent RUC men and women and I understand that the comment above might not be a glowing example of what i feel my true character is, however that Cue Bono lad just knows how to offend and insult in a way that sometimes is hard not to rise to.
    The RUC were disbanded and replaced for a reason despite many able officers in its ranks, but the level of corruption and anti Catholic behaviour had risen to the point where very few Catholics could trust or support them. The sewer analogy refers to that section of the RUC that were no more than terrorists backed by the state. For those decent individuals I have nothing but good wished towards.

  • Cue Bono

    Well I might have known that it was all my fault but the truth is Robin that your mask slipped. You are on here as the presentable face of Sinnerdom, but scratch the surface and you are no different from the rest of them. I noticed that very early on.

    The RUC were not disbanded. The full title of the PSNI is the Police Service of Northern Ireland Incorporating the Royal Ulster Constabulary George Cross. That George Cross was bestowed upon them by a grateful nation because of the gallantry that they displayed in combating terrorism at great persoal loss to themselves. The name was changed in order to appease republicans and ease their way through the surrender and disarming of the Provisional IRA.

    The RUC incidentaly was one of the least corrupt police forces in the world. Certainly with nowhere near the sort of corruption levels that were seen in the Metropolitan Police, the NYPD or the Garda.

    Oh and btw power sharing was available in 1972, but the Provos violently opposed it.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Robin, I have had to the chance to talk to a couple of former republican prisoners, at different times. One was from West Belfast and the other guy was from Derry/Londonderry. Both of them explained to me and the group that I was with, why they had joined up. They had been idealists when they joined but, had become disillusioned by the sectarian killings carried out by republicans. The West Belfast republican named Kingsmill, Bayardo Bar and La Mon as the most sickening for him as a republican. He was in prison when they happened and he was opposed to sectarianism of any kind. The other guy had a similar story. Both of them turned their back on violence and moved on with their lives. Are you saying that the sewer analogy also applies to these republicans who committed sectarian acts against protestants?
    Would you like to comment on the sectarian abuse that was directed against a protestant GAA player at a game in the republic the other week. Do you believe that the GAA are not treating sectarian abuse as being of the same level as racial abuse? Racial abuse, brought a player a six month playing ban, while sectarian abuse against a protestant player brought a two game ban.

  • Robin Keogh

    Sadly Alan there are many shocking stories of murder and mayhem in the annals of all conflict scenarios. Far wiser men than me could do a beter job exchanging such stories, particularly given that i never grew up in a society torn by civil strife. Sectarianism is repulsive to me and i have no problem in seeing tresspasers prosecuted. And you are correct in the GAA example. I dont know the details but a two game ban on someone engaged in sectarian bullying seems pretty lenient to me.

  • Tacapall

    “The RUC incidentaly was one of the least corrupt police forces in the world. Certainly with nowhere near the sort of corruption levels that were seen in the Metropolitan Police, the NYPD or the Garda”

    Hahahahahahahahaha you can be funny when you want to be Cue the B Specials became the UDR and the UDR became the RIR for exactly the same reasons why the RUC became the PSNI perhaps you’ve never heard of the Glenanne gang or that Jimmy Saville was awarded some title by Mrs Windsor so was Robert Mugabe im sure there are loads of others like Fred Goodwin, Lester Piggot etc just brcause some old parasite decides to award someone a title doesn’t mean they are pillars of virtue.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Robin, I was reading my daughters daily devotions to her tonight. My wife and I take it in turns. By the way, I’m not trying to smart here. The book is called Veggie tales devos for girls. Tonight’s verse was Matthew 12:34. ” For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speak”. There is “a tip for the day” on the page. Today’s was ” Words have the power to encourage or discourage others. So watch what you say” It would be good if all of us, myself included, were careful of what we said on this site.
    As you said, you haven’t lived through a civil war. Be thankful for that. There are a lot of stories of hurt in this place. They include loyalists, republicans, police, army and civilians. A lot of that hurt is still red raw.

  • tmitch57

    I think you mean 1974–Sunningale, which began on Jan. 1, 1974.

  • Cue Bono

    My apologies.

  • Cue Bono

    The Queen issues medals at the request of the government, so it was the Labour Party which recognised the gallantry of the RUC. The Glenanne gang were an aberration and they were of course arrested by the RUC and imprisoned.

  • Tacapall

    The same Labour Party full of loonies and lefties who you accuse in another post of bending over backwards to appease terrorists, obviously they were supported by a grateful nation.

    When was Chief Superintendent Harry Breen arrested and imprisoned ?

  • Jag

    I’ve only seen three Tory election posters recently, but they’ve all been negative, attacking Labour rather than promoting their own offering. The bookies say it’s even-stevens between Labour and Conservatives. If the Shinners really could tip the balance, it would make political sense for them to be courting Labour.

  • Cue Bono

    Tony Bair’s Nu Labour was not looney leftie. That is how they managed to get elected. Chief Superintendent Harry Breen was murdered by a sectarian Provo murder gang in south Armagh. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to suggest that he had anything to do with the Glenanne gang. I’ve read Cadswolloper’s book and it is full of hysterical nonsense and the witterings of convicted murderers with an axe to grind.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sinead wasn’t even let in either when she said the leadership should resign.

  • carl marks

    here’s a post a placed in another thread,

    We do a lot of whataboutry on Slugger, here’s a bit of whatiffery,

    Let’s assume that SF decide to take there seats now assuming that SF,SDLP,PC all retain there present number of seats then we have 11 nationalist members add to this 20 SNP seats ( conservative estimate) we have a potential bloc of at least 31 Nationalist MP’s at the next parliament! (without SF 26).

    with the redoubtable Alex Salmond most likely the leader of the SNP at Westminster is it not entirely possible that Alex ( arguably the most capable politician in both these Islands) might forge such a Alliance,possibly making the next government the most pro devolution/independence possible.

    By the way i am just counting the main nationalist parties, not independents and the conservative members who could be described as English nationalists

    Now would that maybe tempt the Shinner’s to take their seats, I think that abstentionism is starting to appear ridiculous even to themselves, after all they are in Europe, the Dial, Stormont and as for the whole oath thing i dare say if they decide to take their seats then some compromise could be reached.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Looking forward to the Labour backlash.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The Tories really are class aren’t they. I’m off to play bingo and drink beer.