I Have Left SDLP

In the interests of disclosure, I should state that I am no longer a member of SDLP.No big deal. No disagreement over policy and no clash of personality….indeed I don’t actually have a personality.

I have a lot of time for SDLP. They have contributed a lot to Ireland…and I have little doubt that they will do again.  They are extremely decent people (and I am sure that’s the same in Sinn Fein….but obviously not the Alliance Party).

I think being a serious blogger and being amember of a political party is not exactly compatible. I did not rejoin SDLP until August 2011…after an absence of almost thirty years. There was a period from November 2010 when SDLP members were encouraging me to join.

To be honest analysing a Party from the fringe is actually much more interesting than simply KNOWING things from the “inside”. I have always been reluctant to blog about stuff that I actually KNEW thru being at a privileged meeting. But would have been much more happy blogging about information I had as stumbled across or analysed. Sometimes it was difficult to disentangle the stuff I KNOW from the stuff I GUESS (Political analysts are just people who guess a lot…don’t be conned that it is a science!)…so for example I have not been a member of my local Branch for over a year….as I wanted to give my colleagues to speak freely without thinking about me (effectively) intelligence gathering for my own curiosity or with aBlog in mind.

What next? Well I do have plans for 2013 and 2014….and I need todo some groundwork. At the minute there is a 95 per cent chance of everything fitting together.

Id like to take a two week break fromBlogging but it’s too busy. Mid Ulster AND a Papal Election and too many LetsGetAlongerist, Alliance,Conflict Resolutionists, liberal Unionist eejits to be confronted on Slugger O’Toole.

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28 Responses to I Have Left SDLP

  1. factual says:


  2. factual says:

    FJH thought you might like Alex Kane’s piece about Alliance (one long attack on the Alliance pary!):


  3. factual says:


    Are you unhappy with the SDLP?

  4. FJH, on a serious note, I am rather saddened to here of your departure, though the reasons I obviously understand (something of a conflict of interest). I wish them all the best of luck and will drop you an email sure.

    • It might be one of a number of changes.
      No exaggeration to say that Texas was a total game-changer.
      Whether politics itself, or blogging….neither is really important ….unless there is absolute total commitment. When all is said and done, I am on the fringes of both.

      • factual says:

        Does this mean… you have chosen between politics and blogging, that you are to be totally and absolutely committed to blogging, and that you raise your blogging game to a new level?

      • No…it means that Politics is only worthwhile if you are centrally involved.
        Bloggig is itself a bit silly (it is NOT involvement)…it is mere observation…a spectator sport.
        I am 60 years old. My Time is limited. I don’t intend to waste it.

      • factual says:

        60 is quite young to be retired it has to be said… many years ahead on a pension with no responsibilities….it shows you belong to a very lucky generation. My generation will work to 70 at least and as for our pensions……..

      • Serves young people right.
        I want young people to keep me in the style to which I have become accustomed.

      • factual says:

        When I say quite young, I mean very young.

      • Hmm, I wouldn’t say you are entirely on the fringes of blogging tbh, though that depends what definition we give to it.

        You’re definitely a good and welcome observer of what’s happening and your opinions are ones we like to hear even if we don’t always agree. Why’s that? Well, because they’re something based in a wealth of experience, honesty and humility most of all.

  5. bangordub says:

    I am worried. I know you think about stuff (except the importance of blogging).
    I think, obviously without any evidence, that you are a person of principle and strong opinions. I am worried as I fear the SDLP may have been the best vehicle for you to articulate, express and influence the development of those opinions. It would be a pity if that is the case. I trust you have done this for the right reasons, not that it is my business, but I hope others in that party, and I’m not as you know, will talk to you about it.
    All parties are weaker for losing even a single member as TV Mike would do well to learn. Personally, if I was the head of a party I would remember the old business maxim of how much effort is required to retain a “customer” versus how much it costs to gain a new one.

    • Good points.
      I’d need to think thru a response.

    • At heart I am political nerd, geek, anorak.
      People like me belong here or Guido Fawkes,Slugger O’Toole, Poitics.ie.
      The people who dothe real heavy lifting are the people who work in SDLP advice centres, representing people on DisabilityTribunals or filling in forms for Boiler Replacement Scheme.
      I couldn’t do that.
      Nor could I stuff leaflets in envelopes in Cookstown.
      and I couldn’t talk to people on the doorsteps in Magherafelt.Thats what SDLP needs …not a blogger.
      Arguably Ihave a talent for communicating.
      But the corridors at Stormont are full of a lot people like that.
      And the Students Union at QUB has more on a conveyor belt.
      The 30 gap years in between SDLP membership is really too long. Continuity is too broken. They are not a part of my HISTORY.
      I can’t expect to be part of the their FUTURE.

      • All fairly valid points FJH, and this is your life and what you do with your retirement is entirely your own business, however, I do think you down play all too often your opinion’s worth. This is not meant by way of some kind of sycophantic, brown nosing but people come here and converse with you because we find your opinions and thoughts interesting.

        The fact that you rejoined the SDLP after openly voting SF for many years goes to show and provide the SDLP with an insight they would have been all to unwilling to go looking for, a Nat swing voter, one who had left the flock and who could still very reasonably explain why and what they need to do to gain back the higher ground and leadership of Nationalism in general.

        Also, I hope this is not the beginning of you winding things down around here and elsewhere, you would be sorely missed

      • Thanks for this. Appreciated and I will reply to your email soon.
        I am an Accidental Blogger.
        I am not a big fan of BLogging….I have never bought into the idea that blogging, twitter, Facebook will change politics and public discourse. Indeed the evidence to me at least is that it undermines political discourse and leads to a brutish form of populism.
        There is an irony. I was almost happier when this blog was lucky to attract fifteen views in a day. But thanks to commenters such as yourself and a core group of others, readership has multiplied. The indications are that it is read by people who would never publicly admit it.
        This has made me raise my game.
        The blog is taken seriously. And indeed I owe this blog something. …a lot. Stuff I have written here has been picked up elsewhere and it has opened doors for me. …ironically 5,000 miles away. Frankly I need to need to develop things.
        A few people have kindly advised me on a direction and that shows great faith in me….and despite my age and natural laziness, it is something I need to consider.
        To some extent, I am semi-detached in SDLP…being a member gives me access but being a blogger inhibits me. I can’t report all things that I KNOW but would feel happier on the sidelines.
        In a sense …as a member/blogger…I can’t give 100 per cent to both.

      • factual says:

        I hope that this blog goes from strength to strength.

        It deserves to.

        Now that the blog has un-hitched itself from supine obsiesnce to the SDLP, it will be all the stronger, more impartial, and more interesting.

      • I don’t think it’s fair to say that I have shown supine obscience towards SDLP. In fact more committed and intelligent Republican contributors than you have gone on record to state that this blog is run by an independently minded SDLP member.
        Now frankly your own blind obedience…indeed worship of Sinn Fein….is an embarrassment.
        If you can’t behave…this new independent blog can get along just fine without your independent wisdom.
        Now I don’t think I can be more clear.
        Do you get the message?

      • Lionel Hutz says:

        I give my membership fee but I haven’t filled in the form. Am I a member. I’m afraid I’ll get asked to do something, like run around cookstown with Mr McGlone and meet people I know and badger them into voting SDLP. That would be a sure fire way for Patsy to lose all his votes.

        I get the impression politics is something you live and breath or you’re best staying away.

        So I guess I might get where you’re coming from Fitz. Its a shame though because I’m getting a sense that the letsgetalongerists are getting a little bit more confident in the SDLP again. The doctor seems to be losing his grip a little.

        You’re probably better craic on slugger when you’e not a member anyway so I say its good news. Welcome back to the real world old man.

  6. factual says:

    SDLP members speak:

    ” I’m afraid I’ll get asked to do something, like run around cookstown with Mr McGlone and meet people I know and badger them into voting SDLP. That would be a sure fire way for Patsy to lose all his votes. ”

    “representing people on DisabilityTribunals or filling in forms for Boiler Replacement Scheme. I couldn’t do that. Nor could I stuff leaflets in envelopes in Cookstown. and I couldn’t talk to people on the doorsteps in Magherafelt.Thats what SDLP needs …not a blogger.”

    This speaks to a point many commentators have made regarding the north in that the strength of SF is in terms of people willing to put in work on the ground in working class areas such as Short-Strand.

    SF have put people on the ground in Short Strand but SDLP have to wheel in Seamus de Faoite every 5 weeks,

    • Seamas is a very good friend of mine.
      If you know of someone with half his decency, you’re lucky.
      Not for the first time you’ve chosen to misinterpret people.

      Being an advisor in an advice centre is a special talent. And by the way I have represented a few people on Tribunals in more than one capacity.
      I say that my so called talent is blogging and in the great scheme of things is a worthless one.

      I think Lionel was talking a little tongue in cheek.
      Try not to be so literal.

  7. Lionel Hutz says:

    Yeah I might have been a sarcastic there. lol.

    But as “Factual” implicitly suggests that i do not put my work in, I would like to explain a few things.

    Firstly, I do have a bit of an ego. I am too impatient to put what ideas I have down on a blog but I do believe that I could be a decent politician if I wanted to be. I have a doubt about whether I could attract votes because I am at good at playing that game. However, I believe that I can do good and I wan tot.

    I also believe that I am better at doing it as a lawyer than I could ever have been as a politician. I have done more work “on the ground” and elsewhere for the working class people who I by and large represent than I could ever have done in another arena.

    I say that because I have given it serious thought. Everyone has one chance to do the best they can. And my best is in helping people by being their advocate. Thats what I am good at. So that’s what I will do.

    And considering that I earn less than most Shinners, I guess I could call myself a legal activist. I am damn sure I’ve done more good for the working class people than all of the Shinners put together in the last five years. And showing up for a photo op in the Short Strand wont change that.

    The real difference between Sinn Fein and the SDLP is that the former have been able to suggest that “putting people on the ground” is in itself worth something. Its just appearances. What have they actually done?

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