Je Suis SDLP

So things have got nasty.

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Overnight the Constituency Office of Alban Magennis, SDLP MLA for North Belfast was attacked. The SDLP Office is actually above a business on the Antrim Road and as you will see, the people who daubed the office door, also left their mark on that business.

The finger points at the Republican Network for Unity, a dissident group largely based in North Belfast. The reason behind the attack is The recent announcement by SDLP that it will support the National Crime Agency (a British FBI-like Agency, which will combat organised crime). The SDLP had been opposed but negotiated to have the NCA overseen by the Policing Board, thus making it locally accountable.

There are a few points here. RNU are opposed to the Peace Process in general. And rather like loyalists atacked Alliance Party offices, in the wake of the Fleg (sic) Decision in December 2012, RNU have attacked SDLP Office.

Republican Dissidents and Loyalist Dissidents. …but the test of course two years ago was that Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness visited Alliance Party offices to show support for the democratic process.Indeed SDLP politicians did likewise.

Of course, this presented a problem for Robinson. His DUP were also highly critical of the Alliance decision and have been ruthlessly trying to take back the East Belfast seat, Robinson lost to Alliance in 2010. Mainstream Unionism had the dilemna of condemning Alliance decisions, while supporting the democratic process against undemocratic loyalist thugs in East Belfast.

Yet there is a parallel in North Belfast. Gerry Kelly and Sinn Féin are trying to take the Westmimster seat in May. To do so, they have to squeeze the SDLP vote. They would want to use the NCA issue and yet they have to condemn SDLP decisions, while supporting the democratic process against undemocratic republican thugs in North Belfast.

Thats how it goes. Republican Dissidents. Loyalist Dissidents. Republican thugs. Loyalist thugs.

Sinn Féin. DUP.

Of course, this is an isolated incident and specific to North Belfast. Nobody has been hurt. No need for an anti-SDLP message board like Slugger O’Toole to run multiple threads. And no need for Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty to produce a new “Je Suis SDLP” placard and stand outside the City Hall in Belfast.

But lets be serious. This is an attempt to intimidate SDLP. Why? Well even the most vocal critics of SDLP might say that the Party is doing quite well recently. They have focussed well on the “Victims” issues, stayed well clear of the DUP-Sinn Féin-Alliance carve up. And the Welfare Cuts issue has undermined Sinn Féin. Important also that better organisation and new faces like Justin McNulty and Daniel McCrossan have given SDLP a confidence that I have not seen in several years.

In some ways, the disgusting attack on the North Belfast office reflects SDLP relevance.

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10 Responses to Je Suis SDLP

  1. Michael ONeill says:

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    From:”Keeping An Eye On the Czar of Russia” Date:Sat, 14 Feb, 2015 at 15:53 Subject:[New post] Je Suis SDLP

    fitzjameshorse posted: “So things have got nasty. Overnight the Constituency Office of Alban Magennis, SDLP MLA for North Belfast was attacked. The SDLP Office is actually above a business on the Antrim Road and as you will see, the people who daubed the office door, also”

  2. Political Tourist says:

    All a bit pointless.
    Back in the day Gerry Fitt had some tasty moments with militant Republicans as have SDLP councillors in Derry.

  3. zig70 says:

    I’d like to see Alban stand down. Not in an obvious way. A slick political move where he sites family issue or even dissident threat and leaves it for a nationalist seat. It would give N Belfast to nationalist a few years before it turns but more importantly it would put pressure on O’millionaire to stand aside and pull the steam from that plan to cripple the SDLP. S Belfast nationalist might not be sf voters but it would be je suis nationalist and the SDLP won’t get a second chance without a better political message. I see sf as toxic to middle class nationalist from a left wing view but thinking about it my wife has me on a lower wage than the industrial one. I’d see myself as left wing just not that left.

    • No I dont believe in Pacts.
      Pacts are always short term and theres always a loser.
      For example in 1970s Fermanagh-South Tyrone had unity candidates and even in 1981 SDLP stood down. It handed an initiative to SF and arguably SDLP will never fully recover.
      Likewise Alliance stood aside in West Belfast for Joe Hendron and as a consequence Alliance can only get 200 votes there now.
      Both were short term decisions.
      And of course all those unionist pacts …the consequence is that DUP were handed initiatives.
      Voters and Members of Political Parties are too different things.
      I honestly think most voters see themselves as unionist and nationalist.
      They will vote for the unionist or nationalist with the best chance. The voters dont really like splitting the vote. But I think Parties have to stand, otherwise they dwindle.

      • zig70 says:

        I’d agree that pacts play badly politically and that the current bulk of voters are nationalist first.The SDLP couldn’t hold their head up if they entered a pact but if they stood aside on a last minute excuse then I think that the nationalist electorate would appreciate the unionists being cleverly outwitted as they would see it. Alban has no chance and the SDLP couldn’t really lose if everyone stays on message. The party workers that put the effort in to canvas and I appreciate it is a big commitment for many would maybe take the hump. However if SF vote splitting unseats the SDLP in S. Belfast then it’s possible that the S. Belfast lot will blame weakness in the SDLP for the loss and they will have lost another core set of voters. I would worry that S. Belfast and the loss of the leaders seat would be an irreversible dwindle for the SDLP. Even though Mairtin O’Mulleoir is a bit twee I do think he could gain wide spread support. Alastair didn’t lose out when SF chose not to run anyone against him last time, though I could maybe argue that the SDLP lost out as I don’t rate him as a leader. Manager maybe.

      • Think of it in terms of 2016.
        West Belfast is effectively a one party state. If SDLP dont stand in 2015, they hand votes to SF and Alliance in 2016, making it really difficult to hold a seat.
        They would only exist in South Belfast and lose votes there too.
        Its complex but I think SDLP are looking at this Election in terms of holding three seats and making gains in 2016.

  4. hoboroad says:

    Will the NCA help fight organised crime here? Or is it just another jobs for the boys government run agency. Remember the promises made about the Assets Recovery Agency it had early success stories followed by almost total silence.
    Remember Unionist politicians bleating about them only going after Loyalist Drug dealers?

  5. hoboroad says:

    George Osborne on how to avoid inheritance tax (09Jan13): http://youtu.be/8qjBec3fpBI

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