Couple of items which strain the credence of the casual reader…

Eh? Couple of odd things coming up today and yesterday. One is the startling revelation that Jim Shannon is an Irish speaker. (We’ve sent the Slugger verification bots off to check the truth or otherwise of that one).

What the Gaeilgeoir Strangford MP actually has to say on the subject is less surprising:

Strangford candidate Jim Shannon, who himself is an Irish speaker, said he did not see the need for a cultural language act, adding that both Ulster-Scots and the Irish language are “thriving just fine” without legislation.

In other news, Sinn Fein has announced one of their by now routine changes to the historical record with their “leader in the north” announcing:

“When the Westminster election campaign was announced I took the initiative to invite other party leaders to explore the possibilities of a progressive pact to maximise the anti-Brexit, anti Tory vote and pro-rights and pro-equality vote.

“Other parties were unable to take up this offer.

And she’s not alone. John O’Dowd is reported in An Phoblacht:

He said that Sinn Féin had opened up the discussion for a progressive alliance “but the SDLP came up with nothing reasonable”.

So is Eastwood the ‘de facto’ leader of Sinn Fein now? Or it was such a good idea that Sinn Fein had to nick it and make it their own? Or was it really them who had it first?

Looking back through our archives it’s not clear who had the idea first, but Eastwood was certainly first to run with it in public. Indeed, he’d already got a refusal from Naomi, and an understanding from Steven by the time Sinn Fein began to move.

It didn’t last, of course. The idea of being in a coalition with Sinn Fein was too much for the blood of other would-be partners. But, as I noted at the time, retaining ownership of that narrative was always going to be a problem for the SDLP:

What he (Colum) will struggle with this is exactly this kind of spoiler counter-narrative and the media’s overwhelming focus on the DUP and SF (the Irish News managed to omit Colum from their picture on this story in favour of Michelle and John O’Dowd).

And two weeks later the struggle continues…

  • james

    The key problem with Sinn Fein repeatedly, in essence, telling lies is that
    a. In the short term, their supporters don’t seem to mind, and
    b. In the longer term, because of the mindless repitition – and the mindless gullibility of many SF supporters – SF somehow manage to inject their ‘fake facts’ into the national psyche.

  • mickfealty

    You’d want to check your version with the official one above Jonto.

  • Gaygael

    Bare faced lies from the SF leader?

  • mickfealty

    At risk of further altering the record you missed the bit about the SDLP offer to stand down in favour of independent candidates on the proviso that they fight Brexit by taking their seats. An offer conspicuously refused by SF.

  • mickfealty

    There’s the reveal. Back to the usual sterile SF v DUP stand off.

  • Neil

    Looking back through our archives it’s not clear who had the idea first

    Links to

    Both Unionist parties have already signalled their willingness to enter talks to agree the terms for an expected electoral pact, but expect speculation to develop about the prospect of a Brexit pact for the non-unionist parties.

    Already, Sinn Fein’s Declan Kearney and John O’Dowd have signalled support for such a position, and intriguingly the SDLP Foyle MP, Mark Durkan, did not close the door on such a proposal on The Nolan Show this morning

    Bit of a reach there. Trying to make out like SF are re writing this particular footnote to a footnote to a non event in our history when you clearly haven’t got an ounce of proof that this is true, and you admit as much in your post. File under fake news I think.

  • mickfealty

    Just read that first line back to yourself, preferably out loud?

  • Neil


    Looking back through our archives it’s not clear who had the idea first?

    Preceded by this?

    In other news, Sinn Fein has announced one of their by now routine changes to the historical record

    Am I reading you wrong, or are you saying roughly, it’s unclear who had the idea first, but SF are rewriting history, (as is routine) by saying it was them?

  • Nordie Northsider

    To some extent Jim Shannon is as much an Irish speaker as he is a speaker of Ulster-Scots: if we’re equating regional accent with language.

  • mickfealty

    Spit it out Neil? You’re saying it was a unionist idea enthusiastically endorsed by SF? Why do you think I said it wasn’t clear?

  • Neil

    I’m saying, in plain English that should be fairly easy to understand that you seem to be suggesting that the SDLP came up with the anti Brexit pact and that SF are re writing history by suggesting it was them, however you also seem to be saying it’s unclear who came up with the idea.

    What Unionists speculate upon with regard to nationalist pacts is neither here nor there.

  • mickfealty

    I’m saying it is unclear whose idea it was (which you have kindly confirmed by digging in the links provided). The rest should speak for itself.

  • Neil

    So as suspected this: In other news, Sinn Fein has announced one of their by now routine changes to the historical record is a little dig with no basis in fact. Okey dokey. Cheers.

  • mickfealty

    Eh, how? The piece is pretty open about the timeline. Where are you reading that Michelle initiated the process? And opened the bidding?

  • WindowLean

    I suppose Neil’s point is that if it is unclear whose idea it was first, then we cannot say that it wasn’t SF’s and therefore can’t accuse them of re-writing history??

  • mickfealty

    That’s his gambit certainly. But since that much was already conceded in the OP, I suspect he’s trying to put folk off from reading any further.

  • Barneyt

    It really matters little who came up with the notion. The rainbow coalition of the left of centre was never going to work. It’s possible only for the SDLP and sf to pact up, just as the two similar unionist parties can. The natural anti brexit pact should form in the middle with the UUP, Alliance, SDLP and greens. Of course the uup took a different more tribal direction and killed that notion. Such a codlition could perhaps have made a dent in some constituencies and they are all prepared to take their would-be united protest to the same Westminster forum.

  • mickfealty

    Only insofar as we should care when our politicians are not being square with us. It may seem trivial, but wait till it comes to pretending you’re not cutting a health program when it turns out you already have. It’s important to set sober expectations.

  • Neil

    No, first of all I’m almost sorry for commenting for the simple reason that this non existent pact is so inconsequential it’s barely worth discussing. Second I’m flattered but I very much doubt anything I say here has any impact on anyone else whatsoever.

    You make the allegation, rewriting of history, I say prove it, you say prove me wrong. That ain’t how it works. Someone makes an allegation then the burden is on them to provide proof.

    But as you ask, I read Michelle initiated things just up there^ where you typed it. I then read that despite your rewriting of history jibe that in fact you didn’t know who initiated it either so the jibe itself is an unsubstantiated dig, my only point in post one above, and it’s an accurate one. Anyway, enough time spent on this topic I feel. Thanks for the chat.

  • mickfealty

    How did Michelle initiate things? By having her spokesmen confirm they would take the DUP up on their offer of doing something at the time? If she had done there surely there would have been some evidence written about it at the time?

  • mickfealty

    Just putting this statement from Colum Eastwood, here:

    This election is about Brexit. Theresa May is seeking a mandate for a hard Brexit, a hard border and even harsher austerity.

    If she wants to reinforce the referendum result then let’s do that. Let’s send the strongest team of pro-Europe MPs to Westminster to represent the will of our people and take on the Tories.

    We need MPs who will take a stand against the Tory elite. That means taking your seat and voting against them.

    The SDLP has the longest and the strongest pro-Europe record of any party on these islands. Europe is in our political DNA.

    We are in the strongest position to make a difference as part of a strong coalition of SNP, Labour, Plaid Cymru and Green MPs.

    The choice in June is clear – it’s pro Brexit MPs, absentee MPs, or a strong anti-Brexit coalition. On June 8th, vote to take on the Tories. Vote SDLP.

  • Neil

    Oh I know less about the inner workings of SF, I suspect, than anyone else. I choose to take what’s been said at face value, you don’t. Fair enough. I suppose as in all these things the level of cynicism someone approaches a subject with depends on their feelings towards the subject in the first place.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Jim is Irish, he is a speaker.

  • james

    As mentioned previously, supporters of SF seem unwilling to hold them to any standards whatsoever – which is quite a dangerous (and hypocritical) state of affairs.

    I believe there have been hundreds of issues and allegations which would have finished the career of a normal politician – but simply roll off the backs of the Sinn Fein cult leader.

    Example: Adams tells a rape victim that victims often actually come to enjoy being abused? Consequence for political career? Nada.

    Republicanism simply doesn’t seem to have a moral compass.

  • mickfealty

    There’s healthy scepticism too.

  • Shinner O’Toole

    Just Putting this Statement From Michelle O’Neill, here:

    “This election was called by the British Prime Minister Theresa May for all the wrong reasons. It is only in the self-interests of the Tory party who have no regard whatsoever for the people of the North, our interests or our future.

    “But it is again another opportunity for the people to have their say.

    “An opportunity to reject Brexit.

    “To reject a hard border.

    “To reject the freedom of movement.

    “To reject barriers to agriculture and trade.

    “To reject Tory cuts.

    “This is an opportunity to reject Theresa May and her local allies in the DUP and the UUP who want to hold this society back.

    “It is possible for the north to stay in the EU through designated special status and our senior leadership have been on a diplomatic offensive arguing this case among the EU27 who will determine the British exit terms from the EU.

    “We can make it absolutely clear that we want unity and prosperity on this island with no borders – hard or soft.

    “We made history together in the March Assembly election because we rallied the people and they responded to our call.

    “This can be another ground-breaking election for Sinn Féin.

  • Shinner O’Toole

    Now come on, you are hardly expecting the truth from a Dennis O’Brien Gimp.

  • Shinner O’Toole

    Nope, he has just called you out on a bare faced Lie.