Paddy Wilson RIP

A declaration…Paddy Wilson was a friend of my father who occasionally visited our house. Elected to the old Stormont Senate in 1969, he was one of the eight founder members of the SDLP a year later.

The last occasion that he visited our house was a few days before the 1973 Council Elections last May. He tried to get me to vote SDLP but I told him that I was boycotting the election…in line with the call by Fr Dennis Faul who felt that people should show support for the internees.

So on Election Day, I went into the polling station and spoiled my vote. Almost immediately I regretted it. As the results came on TV, SDLP were losing out on some vital last seats.

In early June…maybe forty years ago this week….I joined the SDLP. And was involved in canvassing for SDLP for the upcoming Assembly Elections. I dont think Paddy ever knew that I had joined the Party but at the end of June, Paddy was murdered. His throat was slashed and he had multiple wounds. It was a shocking event. And I wont go into details here. If you want to…look it up. If you comment, please be aware that you are commenting on a friend of my family.

A Victim. A SDLP Victim. And of course other political parties have lost people to violence…a number in Sinn Feins case and (for example) Rev Robert Bradford and Edgar Graham (unionists). The point I would make is that when discussing victims this week in Stormont, it might well have been a good idea to mention that SDLP know a thing or two about victims an they know what it was like to be sitting across the negotiating table from one of the men who cut the throat of a party colleague. As it is anti-nationalist and anti-SDLP websites like Slugger O’Toole were allowed to get away with a particular narrative.

If the SDLP has a fault…and GOD knows it has several….is that it pulls its punches or maybe doesnt even know the strength of its punches. It holds back.

The SDLP is extremely careless about its own History. There is a portrait of Paddy Wilson in the upstairs conference room in SDLP Headquarters. But I wonder if the young people in SDLP Youth even know who it is. Actually they had a meeting tonight and might even have been in that room.

They are intelligent young people. I am most certainly NOT blaming them for not knowing. But what I am doing is blaming the SDLP for not telling them. Wouldnt an induction course for new members including youth members be a good idea.

Bizarrely SDLP will be talking to each other about Decade of Centenaries and ignoring the important anniversary upcoming. Bizarrely SDLP talks about victims being ignored and ignores its own most prominent victim.

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9 Responses to Paddy Wilson RIP

  1. Political Tourist says:

    On the topic of SDLP history, who thought up the name?

    • Oh thats one of those things that is lost in mythology.
      The version that I had in 1973, which is just three years after its foundation..was that Paddy Devlin insisted that LABOUR should be in title and John Hume wanted SOCIAL DEMOCRAT.
      Apparently LSD was suggested and its unclear if this was a joke or an unwitting joke…LSD being both a drug AND currency.
      Most references give six founder members …the Stormont MPs….Fitt (Republican Labour) Devlin (Labour) Currie (Nationalist) and three Civil Righters (Hume, O’Hanlon and Cooper) but there were two Senators Paddy and Claude Wilton (Liberal) a very brave Derry Protestant.
      Getting NDP ( National Democrats and Ben Caraher ) on board was key.

      When compared to the upcoming launch of NI21, it was very low key. I still remember the founders being asked “are you non sectarian?” And I think it was Paddy Devlin who said “no we are anti-sectarian”.

      • factual says:

        Is it true that Alisdair McDonnell joined shortly after foundation from NDP?

      • Al was an early recruit and to be honest I never knew him in 1970s.
        So I cant say for certain.
        The nucleus on NDP were graduates from the country…and most meetings circa 1966 were in bed sits around Queens. I had a cousin from County Armagh who was one of them.
        And there were a few people in the licenced trade..bar owners in Belfast who were members.

  2. factual says:

    Thanks for that about http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Wilton

    He seems a most interesting person. Its a pity that his case is so unusual because if more were willing to think radically like him – not just following ones background – things would be better north of the border.

    • The SDLP might well have played a leading role in History but its very bad with its own.
      Due to house moves etc I lost some good memorabalia and was disappointed SDLP has not kept it.
      The SDLP is very neglectful of its own history and the people who made it.
      Its actually shameful.

  3. mekonged says:

    http://www.spreaker.com/user/michaelgreenwell/for_a_that_26_shamrocks_and_weddings

    FJH, this is from the Scottish Independence Podcast. I’m hoping the above link is their discussion on how Ireland relates to the Independence Referendum. An Sionnach Fionn introduced me to this excellent Podcast. It’d be a good method of advancing Irish Aspirations up North.

    It’d interesting in the Scottish Nat discussion on Ireland that a Presbtyterian contributor from Ireland believes that Northern Unionists hold attachment for an imaginary idea of Britain that last dominated in the era of Cromwell. There’s got to be so many Ulster Protestants alienated from their politicians and maybe even culture. This fissure will come to the fore soon and Irish Nationalism needs again to be inclusive for these contemporary Claude Wiltons.

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