Seamus Mallon and Brid Rodgers call on Alasdair McDonnell to step down

Alasdair McDonnellJohn Manley has a great scoop in today’s Irish News with comments from the former Deputy First Minister, Seamus Mallon on the leadership of Alasdair McDonnell.  It is no secret that some party members are unhappy with McDonnell but now one of the big beasts of the party has came out to call on him to go.

Speaking to Manley he said that McDonnell should resign “as soon as possible” adding that if he acted decisively it would be good for the party and himself.

Echoing Mallon’s statements the former Agriculture Minister, Brid Rodgers said to the Irish News that a “changing of the guard” was required within the SDLP saying of McDonnell:

My view is that he has to go and I’d rather he went with dignity.

I think Alasdair should think about what’s best for the party as we’ve just come through another election where we saw a further decline in the SDLP vote.

Full story in today’s Irish News but interesting times ahead for the SDLP….

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  • BetsyGray

    Et tu, Brute…?

  • Ulick

    What a cowardly bunch they are in the SDLP. Not having the balls to go toe-to-toe with McDonnell they drag Rogers and Mallon back from the dead to do the dirty work. No good is ever going to come out of that Party. Best thing that could happen now is some of these bright young things (no that doesn’t include you Fearghal) break away and start afresh with their own conservative nationalist Party.

  • Brian O’Neill

    ‘conservative nationalist Party’ Like Fianna Fail you mean? 😉

  • Ulick

    No I was thinking something more like Fine Gael. Wouldn’t be to my particular taste but the nationalist electorate in the north need more choice and there’s definitely a constituency for that kind of Party. A good patriotic blend of Gerry McGeough meets a fiscally conservative Enda Kenny to provide an outlet from all those bright young middle-class careerists.

  • Spike

    they need to get their national identity back. it has been usurped by Sinn Fein and now they look like a middle of the road alternative to Alliance. Rumours abound regarding internal squabbles over direction but this tip-toeing around key issues has cost them dearly and i fear a lack of respect from other parties. Commendable stance on the sectarian election pacts but more needs to be done with greater visibility on the ground. I said it before that they are becoming the wallflowers of government here and if Fianna Fail are serious about contending in 2019 then SDLP are in for some serious problems

  • mjh

    “I’d rather he went with dignity.” – Brid Rodgers

    Where’s the dignity in being chased out via interviews with the press and (from others) anonymous briefings?

    Don’t the SDLP have any “men in grey suits” who would go and speak to the leader face-to-face?

  • Brian O’Neill

    Serious question. What is the difference between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael? I get the whole civil war thing but apart from that what is the difference?

  • Brian O’Neill

    The SDLP have a problem with identity and direction.

    On one side you have a mainly city based Labour wing who want gay rights, pro-choice etc.

    On the other side you have a more rural conservation catholic wing. Trying to keep these two tribes happy is a very difficult task.

    Maybe a split would be the best option. Labour forms in NI and soaks up the Labour wing. Fianna Fail forms in the North and picks up the conservative catholic wing.

  • chrisjones2

  • Robin Keogh

    None

  • Robin Keogh

    They don’t seem to have much of a tooth for electoral politics anymore, with little competitive spark. It is hard to tell them apart from SF when it comes to economic and social issues while they seem to almost be afraid to say the two words ‘United Ireland’ these days. Maybe they feared Alliance on their wing? Or maybe they genuinely hoped to attract cross community votes other than tactical ones? Either way, they need to assert themselves further and attempt to take the lead in Nationalist politics rather than getting dragged around by SF. It will be a sorry day for politics in Ireland if the SDLP allow themselves to melt away completely.

  • Antain Mac Lochlainn

    Problem there is, Brian, that Fianna Fáil aren’t as (socially) Conservative as you’re making out. On the Gay Rights issue, for example, they’re campaigning for a Yes vote in the Same Sex Marriage Referendum. They too have their urban and rural (Country & Western) wings.

    Which Labour Party are you suggesting should form in the North – the Irish or British party? I can’t see much enthusiasm either way.

  • Kev Hughes

    I don’t know if that’s entirely fair Robin though I think it’s really a question of degree and corporate culture. One is paternalistic and feel they’re born to rule, the other are FG.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think there is much demand for a conservative nationalist party, however you are right Patsy McGlone they are not.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Good point Antain, in the North we forget the rest of the world has moved on 😉

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    They’re not afraid to say UI at all. They’re just more realistic about achieving it than SF. They have to know there’s not much capital to be gained by being too zealous about a pipe dream. Nonetheless this greater realism does not seem to extend to recognising the true level of political capital that can be gained from clinging onto its espousal.
    They could carve out a clearer niche for themselves by reframing the debate there. After all, the electorate are becoming increasingly realistic and increasingly relaxed about the constitutional (non) question.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Does there need to be a difference?

  • Brian O’Neill

    I think voters might respond better if they were just honest and said there will be no all Ireland any-time soon. We are stuck with each other lets make NI work.

    There is a huge percentage of Catholics happy enough with the NI status quo. They see it as getting the best of both worlds. You can have an irish passport and identity but you get healthcare, superfast broadband and free amazon deliveries 😉

  • Ulick

    Fine Gael haven’t been caught with their hands in the till… yet.

  • Brian O’Neill

    Indeed. But if they are coming into NI do they not need some kind of brand message of who they are?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Only to get started.

  • WindowLean

    You have to balance those benefits against having to put up with Jim Allister, Gregory Campbell et al!

  • Zig70

    Seamus Mallon has a brass neck, didn’t he start the rot with his hanging of Trimble’s coat tails. Not the first time he has swiped in from the side to damage the party again

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    There you have it: FF’s the party of cute hoors & gombeen men. Sure we have our own equivalent already only ours are of the corrupted calvinist variety.

  • chrisjones2

    The voters seem to disagree

  • chrisjones2

    Who gets the cash?

  • chrisjones2

    I am not so sure its that easy these days. The internet makes Sixmilecross as close to modern liberal values as Ormeau Road ….well almost

  • Kevin Breslin

    If there was a separate demand for a conservative nationalist party outside the broad churches of Sinn Féin and the SDLP, believe me such a party would come into existence.

  • chrisjones2

    “We are not themus”? Soldiers of Destiny is so 30s and redolent of black-shirts and leather riding boots – though it might appeal; to the 50 Shades of Grey Audience

    Tee hee. After writing that I just realized that “50 Shades of Grey Audience” could well be a metaphor for the SDLP electorate

  • chrisjones2

    Dear Lord Brid, you are now 80 and Seamus is 79. There comes a time when you just have to let it go

    It must be a bit like being mauled by Statler and Waldorf

  • Robin Keogh

    But then what credibility would either SF or the SDLP have by deliberately dumping a major platform for their very existence? Hardly a move that would lend itself to credibility. In any event we don’t need either party to tone down the UI gra, regardless we would still have unionism screamimg of the threat at every election. Having an Irish Unity policy should have no effect on the potential to make NI work.

  • tmitch57

    Best comment so far!

  • quiller

    What does the SDLP stand for ? I really do not know. What are the core voters and whom do they want to attract with their policies. Old guard, new guard – does it make any difference ?

  • Granni Trixie

    Ageism alert!

  • Andrew Gallagher

    Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. If you want to make NI work, you need to get Unionists on board with the project. And you’re not going to do that if you keep pushing the line that it’s all just stepping stones to a United Ireland. Gerry set back progress years with his “Trojan horse” comments.

  • Andrew Gallagher

    FG are Whigs and FF Tories. In the 18th century meanings of the words. Or if you prefer, FG are the freeholders and FF the tenant farmers. Ireland never had much of an industrial revolution, so the urban factory workers didn’t become a significant political force like in most other European countries. People talk about the civil war as if it were an unfathomable aberration, but it was the temporary unity of political purpose previously that was the oddity.

  • Robin Keogh

    Andrew, i doubt very much that any leader in unionism could be convinced of the benifits of a UI even if it was made as clear as the nose on your face. The trojan horse comment was and is a fair reflection on attitudes towards unionist homophobia and racism as espoused by the words and actions of unionist pokiticians. On the day of election on bbc even one of the commenators said that the tories didnt need nutters on their benches referring to the DUP.

  • chrisjones2

    Ageism is as ageism does. Saying ‘sod off’ without a clear analysis of why or how things can be better doesn’t wash. It just gives the impression that they are the forlorn hope of an assault on the Leadership[

  • chrisjones2

    If I am elected on a platform that I will make everyone a millionaire tomorrow then post election should I keep up the pretence?

  • chrisjones2

    I agree. But they all feed off each other. That’s the bloody problem

  • Robin Keogh

    Try it and see how it works for u

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Two parties with half a dozen MLAs in the Assembly won’t amount to much. The SDLP is a coalition and it exists for a reason.

    All they need to do is put their heads together and decide what they are for, and where their red lines are.

  • Granni Trixie

    I suppose it depends on how involved or informed These former leaders are.
    Could be they are settling old scores (not a good look) or perhaps acting as a last resort when others have failed to get action and they have nothing to lose. They could also be an extension internal factions.

    I thought there was an unwritten rule that retired Leaders didn’t interfere. Reminds me of a reference to “hurlers in the ditch” which I Imagine refers to people who shout form the sidelines (I am no GAA buff and open to correction).

  • chrisjones2

    I agree.It smells more though of an undercover assault to breach the defences before the wide boys go in with the boot – purely in the interest of the Party of course and not for personal advantage – no, never for that

  • Granni Trixie

    Awwww Yule have me feeling sorry for AMcD.
    More seriously, I’m sure that all political parties have their internal ups and downs but when things spill into the public domain it usually means something is seriously wrong. Better bite the bullet internally before that point is reached.

  • Makhno

    Brian, if you mean FF, picture this:

    Shots of Lemass and O’Neill, Jack Lynch being pelted by Paisley, as little as poss on Charlie (maybe Mara could suggest something), Bertie at the GF negotiations hours after his mother’s funeral, Mehole spouting something righteous.
    And cue music, I suggest Days Like This, or something by Phil Coulter.

  • Noe

    The sdlp are mostly an anti Sinn Fein party, they have never got over being voted into second place and not having the political power they once had.
    In newry armagh the sdlp expected to get 16000 votes they got 12000, 1500 more than 2010.
    Either they got deluded with an expect large swing to them, or they bought into an artificial hype from their candidate?

  • Andrew Gallagher

    Talk about avoiding the question. I didn’t say “unionist leaders”, I said “unionists”. Ordinary unionist voters, in case it wasn’t clear.

    And I’ve no idea what “fair reflection on attitudes towards unionist homophobia” even means. But unless you accept that “equality is a Trojan horse” was widely interpreted as meaning “we’re going to trick those unionist bastards into a united ireland” then you have a cloth ear.

    How’s that unionist outreach project coming along?

  • Micheal Yore

    Lets call a spade a spade – exactly what is needed is a Charlie Haughey.Somebody that acts as well as talks!

  • david crookes

    Funniest comment this year.

  • tmitch57

    Social Democratic and Labour Party.

  • quiller

    Oh, that’s clear – they stand for themselves. Maybe that is why their vote is declining. If they do not know what they stand for other than an explanation of their initials, maybe it is time for them to address their policies.

  • Robin Keogh

    What you are expressing is classic paranoia. The trojan horse comment was meant to mean that equality would be driven into the centre of the consiousness of those that cant adopt it freely themselves, mainly unionist leaders.

  • Reader

    You think SF got the metaphor so grotesquely wrong? The Trojan horse was a tool to capture the city. The horse was of no other importance to its makers.

  • Granni Trixie

    As a rule the SDLP does not appeal to me however I have to say that what you call “hanging onto DTs coat tails” to me was an almost saintly attempt to create new relationships with unionists/unionism and I do admire him for putting country before party in the context of transformation.

  • Andrew Gallagher

    Tweedledum and tweedledee. If a political leader says something and it is almost universally “misinterpreted”, then it is not the audience’s fault but his.

    And it’s hardly paranoid to presume that Gerry believes in a united ireland before all else, considering that he’s been saying it for forty years.

  • chrisjones2

    Great ……I am he …..now can I borrow your bank account details for a moment please. I will give them back. Promise

  • mike

    I like much of Alasdairs approach particularly looking for a positive agenda instead of continuously looking over the shoulder to attack Sin Fein-and realistic with a prosperity agenda which just might engage the official unionists in spite of Tom Elliots kow towing to the Moygashel mob

  • david crookes

    A bit of Nietzsche came into my head a moment ago. Let me quote it and then translate it.

    Nehmen wir den Fall, dass Wagner eine Weiberstimme nöthig hat. Ein ganzer Akt ohne Weiberstimme — das geht nicht! Aber die “Heldinnen” sind im Augenblick alle nicht frei. Was thut Wagner? Er emancipirt das älteste Weib der Welt, die Erda: “Herauf, alte Grossmutter! Sie müssen singen!” Erda singt. Wagner’s Absicht ist erreicht. Sofort schafft er die alte Dame wieder ab. “Wozu kamen Sie eigentlich? Ziehn Sie ab! Schlafen Sie gefälligst weiter!” — In summa: eine Scene voller mythologischer Schauder, bei der der Wagnerianer ahnt…..

    Let’s consider what happens when Wagner needs a female voice. A whole act without a female voice? That won’t work! But all the ‘heroines’ are occupied at the moment. What does Wagner do? He liberates Erda, the oldest woman in the world. ‘Up you get, ancient grandmother! You have to sing!’ Erda sings. As soon as Wagner has achieved his purpose, he sends the old lady straight back to bed. ‘Whatever prompted you to appear? Clear off! Carry on sleeping, if you don’t mind!’ The result is a scene full of mythological terrors, one which arouses foreboding in the Wagnerian…..

    SM and BR, however thrilling and dynamic they may have been in their day, have no more right than Erda to tell a party leader what he ought to do.

  • tmitch57

    No, what is clear is that you are not articulate enough to write what you actually mean. The SDLP has a whole list of various policies that you can find on their website or in their brochures. That these policies sometimes overlap with those of Sinn Fein is simply because the latter party have no shame about stealing the policies of other parties when it suits them, like immediately after the GFA.

  • quiller

    As someone who has voted SDLP – your comments as regards me being articulate or not are pointless. SDLP policies are not connecting with the electorate, particularly not the younger element. Any political party will steal another political party’s clothes. There is nothing new in that. The reality is that the SDLP are not connecting and communicating with the electorate. Other commentators in this article are also pointing out the same facts. Being offensive to me does not invalidate the points I make !

  • Robin Keogh

    Hows the Catholic outreach project coming on?

  • Robin Keogh

    So do all parties who’s policies overlap mean that someonehas stolen them from someone else or are you just a new breed of hyper paranoid?

  • Robin Keogh

    tmitch has a sharp tongue but he is pretty harmless when all is said and done. U are right about the SDLP being directionless at the moment, part of it is being renegade to a very poor second within the nationalist community, they are also a bit trapped regarding many issues in that they depend on unionists tactical voting in some regions to get them acrioss the line, they have no presence in the south which means they have no influence with the governement there, they are divided internally on what to do about the gap between the younger element of the party and the old bigade, many voters feel they bend the knee a bit too much to unionists and London…actually the list goes on and on, they are in trouble but I would not write them off just yet. There is a fair bit of talent there busting to get out.

  • Zig70

    I think that the SDLP need to create a new relationship with unionists. The social democratic left should transcend tribal politics but the SDLP never have been able to find a safe line to walk. That saying creating a new relationship with the UUP by saying nothing when they come out with sectarian statements and policies doesn’t show leadership. You had Taylor on the radio complaining about Catholics in state schools and hardly a peep from the SDLP. That’s not putting country before party. He wasn’t what you would expect for a party that modelled itself on standing up for civil rights.

  • Andrew Gallagher

    No idea, ask the unionists. But “incompetent” springs to mind.

  • quiller

    Fair comments – hopefully they will get leaner and hungrier.

  • tmitch57

    When in the first Assembly election a party that previously had emphasized support for “Brits out,” support for “the boys behind the wire,” etc. suddenly comes out with a whole range of new policies and those policies are suspiciously close to those of its rival, and that same party has for decades engaged in voter personation one might have their suspicions.

  • mgvsmith

    Brid Rodgers and Seamus Mallon were like most old time SDLP politicians, defined by their inability to bring on the next generation in the SDLP when they retired. Hopefully Alasdair McDonnell is trying to do better on that score!