Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A different beginning on offer

Comments on earlier posts have debated whether or not Northern Ireland has a Labour Party and just what the Social Democratic and Labour Party stands for, along with calls for a whole hearted effort in the province from the Conservatives and for Blair's Labour Party to drop their "Brits only" approach. Today I noticed on Slugger O'Toole that there are calls for Fianna Fáil to organise in Northern Ireland and some of these calls are coming from SDLP figures.

With regards Fianna Fáil organising, it is an entirely natural position to adopt for a party that wants to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic. In the past the Republic's Labour Party, Official Sinn Féin/the Workers' Party and Democratic Left (now merged into the Republic's Labour Party) have all organised and stood in the province, as does (provisional) Sinn Féin now. But it would help to settle the border question by referendum. If the province votes against a United Ireland (as all polls and studies suggest) then Fianna Fáil could remain in the province in line with the Republic's Constitution's declaration of affinity with the entire Irish nation. Perhaps it could lead to other parties from the Republic organising, undermining Sinn Féin. Indeed wouldn't having Michael McDowell rather than Martin McGuiness as the representative of nationalists in taking decision on policing prove more acceptable across the communities? Providing that the parties accept the settlement on the border question and the right of the electorate to decide it, it could prove a workable long term solution.

As for the SDLP, is this another admission by senior figures that the party has lost the plot? Also note that they highlighted on Fianna Fáil - a party that stands for, erm, erm, erm... (Does anyone actually know? Does Bertie Ahern?!) Well certainly not the Republic's Labour Party!

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