Colum Eastwood nominated to stand against Big Al for leader of the SDLP…

It’s all going on with the SDLP today. Here’s the UTV report:

Nominations closed at 5pm on Friday and sources close to Colum Eastwood have told UTV he has yet to make a decision, but will be consulting his colleagues.

It will be next week before it is known if both will accept their nomination.

Meanwhile Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly and South Belfast MLA Fearghal McKinney have been put forward for deputy leader.

There have been rumbles against McDonnell since the May elections. Some opponents guess that up to ten of the party’s eleven duh, fourteen MLA’s are planning privately opposed to the party leader.

Intriguingly one of those closest to McDonnell, Fearghal McKinney is challenging Dolores Kelly the long time deputy leader.

It may well suit McDonnell whose people are saying that they’ve had a strongly positive reaction to his blunt choice of words in Glengormley yesterday, to draw out his opponents in a big political fight.

  • the rich get richer

    We do need to get rid of all the old Guard from all the parties.

    They have had long enough and deserve a rest (For Us) ! !

  • the rich get richer

    Perhaps McDonnell decide to stir the pot. He would have to be naive not to consider that he would be recorded !

  • Kevin Breslin

    At least give the UK Labour leadership a chance! 😉

  • Dan

    Colum Eastwood who carried the coffin of the IRA terrorist?..that one?
    Wonderful.
    Outreach, non-sectarian sdlp style.

  • Ernekid

    It’s long past time for them to ditch Big Grey Al. When the political histories of this period are written I reckon that McDonnell will get more than a passing mention. He’s proven to be pretty ineffective in his role.

  • Sharpie

    People here (in this Country, state, province, statelet) would do well to recognise that every leader we have is a very close reflection of who we are as a people. Big Al lives in the city but could be the biggest stereotype of a big oul farmer who got a job in the Ministry. Each of them is a parody of what we are. There’s little point in having an allergic reaction to any of them because there is a bit of you staring back out of the telly at you.

    It’s when you put them on the international stage and they do OK, not amazing but far from stupid, there they play with a straight bat but at home it is just ok, indeed it is necessary, to play the local hero (insert your stereotypical view here) because for some bloody unknown reason we become backward (often embittered) sheep when we step off the plane in Belfast.

  • Zig70

    I’ve some admiration for Alasdair ability to win leadership of a political party. It’s no mean feat especially when you don’t have ‘it’. Maybe it is just a sign of the times that we are all looking for some Mourinho type and Alasdair may have been able to sway those he had direct ability to influence in the party but he didn’t with the broader populace. I’d be keen to see a change of guard.

  • David Crookes

    Are we about to witness the triumph of Entellus? I reckon that Dr McDonnell is acting very shrewdly. Having become aware that his leadership may be challenged, he dumps his minders, and comes out with a strongly memorable line.

    Apart from being memorable, the line harmonizes with a thoughtful interview which Lord Trimble gave recently. In the course of that interview LT pointed to the presence of incorrigibly nasty negativity both in the unionist political class, and in the middle-class unionist electorate.

    There is still a lot of hatred about, and hatred exults in chaos. On my own side of the fence, many people who lived through the Troubles yearn for a return to chaos, which is what we shall get if Stormont collapses.

    On the other side of the fence, lunatic falsehoods of the HITLER IS BLONDE variety are held up as Platonic ‘noble lies’, necessary for the survival of the peace process.

    Dr McDonnell has denounced the squalid leeches who continue to flourish on both sides of the fence. I salute him. Maybe a doctor is the best person to deal with leeches.

    As for the SDLP, it should back a leader who tells the truth, instead of hoping that some young liberal jargonaut will come along and make everything wonderful.

  • submariner

    Dan so what?the first minister also carried the coffin of a dead terrorist

  • Lorcs1

    I think he gave a pretty fair and realistic account of the current state of NI politics.

  • Gopher

    I would take a differing view David, I dont know what circles you run in but hatred is the furthest thing from most peoples mind. I would consider finding new friends. The Dr and the SDLP have been devoid of policy and mimiced SF since the before the ceasefire. In the absence of policy play the secterian card. The DUP are not the biggest party through hatred though hatred is a dynamic of that party they are the biggest party because people heard Chris Hazard speak on the economy and you cant get a sheet of paper between them and the SDLP or the Alliance Party on it. Public purse nationalism. As for the UUP they are only starting to stop mimic the DUP and have a shortage of competent personel to elect.

    The bottom line is since before the ceasefire the other parties have won every single election for the DUP. The blame lies squarely there.

    If the other parties would show competence or attempt to demonstrably defend ordinary peoples positions like Naomi valiantly attempted despite her parties bullying of small harmless firms perhaps they would fair better. Can the good Dr say Northern Ireland or alternate Derry or Londonderry without thought I am nearly certain the contender wont be capable of that.

    “backwards to the past”

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks, Gopher. I still reckon that Dr McDonnell’s pronouncement will refresh a lot of people on both sides of the fence. not least because he has directed his fire at two separate problems.

  • Gopher

    Words are cheap, actions are needed, not wallowing in self pity. Thats why the SDLP are where they are today and that why they will be in an even worse position in the future

  • Kevin Breslin

    And sometimes a Roberto Di Matteo comes around and does what Jose Mourinho never does. My own feeling is that the odds are clearly against Eastwood, this would be a learning curve for him and should probably take it. I don’t think it is a matter of age or experience, he had more electoral experience than a much older Conall McDevitt or Claire Hanna, he’s roughly a similar age to Stephen Agnew, I believe he also worked on Alex Attwood’s European campaign, so he has some experience in team building. The big issue is that he will have to face every issue that McDonnell has had to face in the SDLP rather than some media “beauty contest” as you say it’s no mean feat to win the leadership of any party, it gets much harder for whoever wins.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Apparently dying is a sectarian act now. Good grief, or should that be bad grief!

  • There have been rumbles since the day and hour he was elected Leader. Can the SDLP be led, ever.

  • Granni Trixie

    AMcD qualities do not seem apparent to the outside world but I’m assuming he has some to command loyalty from the many who voted him into position of Leader. To those outside the sdlp tent he defnately needs replacing by someone more articulate and not gaff prone. I dont think however thAt the guy from Derry challenging the Leader will be the one to replace him. Are there are any Big Beasts behind the scenes …is he a stalking horse?