Editorial from Irish Political Review, February 2007

SDLP 'Blues'

The Irish News is a political newspaper now, as it always has been. It began as an anti-Parnell paper, became Parnellite at the appropriate time as a Redmondite Home Rule paper, was the paper of the Nationalist minority in general when Northern Ireland was established as a means of enacting Partition, and finally became the paper of the SDLP when the SDLP was founded as the constitutional wing of the insurrection in 1970.

But there was nothing final about the SDLP. Having achieved the Good Friday Agreement, it promptly lost its bearings and went into decline. And the Irish News is having difficulty in moving on.

The Agreement was achieved by John Hume acting with the leadership of Sinn Fein, rather than by John Hume as the leader of the SDLP, whose contribution to that development was that it failed to stop him. When the Party was left to its own devices because of Hume's retirement in the moment of apparent victory, it did not know how to exploit a victory that somebody else had gained for it. It tried to settle down within the GFA, imagining it to be a settlement, when the last thing it was was a settlement. And so it went into decline, and Sinn Fein came into its own in the Six Counties eighty years after it did so in the rest of the country.

How might the SDLP regain ground? By outflanking the Provos on the ground of militant nationalism and accusing them of selling the pass? That is what Mark Durkan has been trying to do with little success.

And the Irish News is also trying it, in the latest instance by giving front-page publicity to 'dissident' Republicans who are suggesting (at least in the form in which the Irish News presents their complaints) that the Provos are on the verge of breaking their Ceasefire by trying to intimidate them into compliance with the current requirement of the peace process.

'Constitutional nationalism' has come to a strange pass.


SDLP 'Blues'

Nazis In Ireland & Other Stories.
Brendan Clifford

Reflections On Palestine (Part One).
Conor Lynch

Letters To The Editor.

Editorial Commentary.

Thoughts On Life, Death, And Funerals.
Jack Lane

Dermot Desmond Statement.

A Patriotic Freemason At The Irish Times.
Manus O'Riordan

How The Irish Press Was Financed.
David Alvey

Shorts From The Long Fellow.

Kingdom Of Evil.
B. Michael (Report)

Barnardo And The White Commonwealth.
Eamon Dyas

No Need For A Needle Search In A Hay Stack.
Manus O'Riordan

Kipling, Connolly & The Kaiser (Part One).
Joe Keenan

Institute For Workers' Control (Part Two).
Conor Lynch

Has Sinn Féin Become The SDLP?
Pat Walsh

Venezuela & The Bolivarian Revolution (Part One).
Mark Langhammer

Labour Comment
Edited by Pat Maloney

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