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British Labour to Organize in the Six Counties

factual

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British Labour to become official party in NI - The Irish Times - Tue, Feb 17, 2009

Interesting news from the six counties.

British Labour to become official party in NI

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The British Labour Party is organising itself as an official political party in Northern Ireland, it was confirmed today.
The inaugural meeting of a country-wide constituency association is to take place in Belfast next Monday.

Activists have been battling for years to have Northern Ireland treated in the same way as other parts of the UK by Labour.

However it will be some time before any decision is taken to stand for election - but local members have their eyes fixed on the local council elections set for 2011 for a potential first outing.

Queen's University lecturer Boyd Black - who made history last September when he became the first Northern Ireland constituency representative to address a party conference in 100 years when he took the platform at the conference in Manchester - said next week would be a landmark occasion.

"Next Monday we are being formally constituted within the Labour Party organisation - up to now we have been unofficial members. Now we will have a party constitution and have elected officers," he said. "We will as of right have a seat on the National Policy Forum, the body which sits in permanent session and develops policy for the party."

He added: "I think it is a big step forward. It's been a long fight, with the Labour high command - mindful of its links to the SDLP - having to be dragged along.

Some four years ago, it was only the threat of legal action which led to the party agreeing it would accept membership applications from Northern Ireland.

More recently it was the issuing of another writ which led to agreement for formal organisation of a constituency association.

There was a requirement for the association to sign up 200 members and hold them for three months before it could be formally constituted.

The 200-mark was passed last summer, numbers are heading towards 300 and Monday's inaugural meeting is the result, said Mr Black.

"Standing for elections is down the road a bit, we won't be standing in this Parliament or for the European elections. In an ideal world I would like us to contest the local government elections in 2011," he added.

However, what happens is likely to depend on the SDLP.

"For a spell it looked as if the SDLP was going to merge with Fianna Fáil, that would have had implications for us," he said.

He added he suspected the reality was the SDLP would be around as a political force for the next general election with the potential to win three seats in what could be a hung parliament. "We are going to have to tiptoe around all of this," said Mr Black.
It seems they will not however be standing in the Euro elections as that is too soon adn they are looking at the local elections which will not be held unti 2011... I wonder if the SDLP would do a six county arrangement with them just as UUP and Conservatives did?
 
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JCSkinner

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The SDLP is an Irish party. They won't be doing any deals with the Brown government. I predict embarrassment and lost deposits all round for any candidates Noo Labour wish to run. If they can find any, of course.
 

LeftOfCentre

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Its quite clear that the SDLP will be re branding as LABOUR IRELAND over the coming years.

New Labour are too far to the right to do well in the north.
 

st333ve

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With the society of angry 16th century unionist party (TUV) grabbing at the DUP's mandate and with these parties coming over from Britain (for their own selfish reasons) - things arnt looking good for the DUP who could lose a percentage of their vote at the next election.

If SF gets the education matter sorted out by then, they could find themselves in an ideal position considering the fact that they only have the SDLP to contend with.

The next elections in the north will be very interesting as they could be the first unpredictable election ive ever seen.
 

JCSkinner

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Its quite clear that the SDLP will be re branding as LABOUR IRELAND over the coming years.

New Labour are too far to the right to do well in the north.
Agreed on the second point.
As to the first, that's very much a moot point. It wasn't so long ago some leading members were flirting with Fianna Fail.
There remains a social democrat wing and a nationalist wing within the party, and it is by no means assured that they would remain integral outside of the aegis of the SDLP itself, which in any case has no plans whatsoever to do a PDs.
 

factual

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Agreed on the second point.
As to the first, that's very much a moot point. It wasn't so long ago some leading members were flirting with Fianna Fail.
There remains a social democrat wing and a nationalist wing within the party, and it is by no means assured that they would remain integral outside of the aegis of the SDLP itself, which in any case has no plans whatsoever to do a PDs.
I can't see the SDLP wanting to lose their particular brand somehow, which has survived now for the best part of 30 years. (Not as long as Sinn Féin-the oldest party in Ireland which is over 100 years old, mind).
 

JCSkinner

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I can't see the SDLP wanting to lose their particular brand somehow, which has survived now for the best part of 30 years. (Not as long as Sinn Féin-the oldest party in Ireland which is over 100 years old, mind).
Or as old as the Tories, which runs into centuries.
Did you have a point to make, apart from contradicting your own opening post?
 

factual

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Or as old as the Tories, which runs into centuries.
Did you have a point to make, apart from contradicting your own opening post?
My opening point was really a question, to start discussion. That said, the SDLP could do an arramgenemt with British Labour which preserves their party and brand, that is (I understand) what the UUP and British Conservative Party are doing. So it's not necessarily a contradiction in and of itself.
 

JCSkinner

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My opening point was really a question, to start discussion. That said, the SDLP could do an arramgenemt with British Labour which preserves their party and brand, that is (I understand) what the UUP and British Conservative Party are doing. So it's not necessarily a contradiction in and of itself.
In your opening post, you wondered about the possibility of the SDLP entering into an alliance with British Labour, a suggestion you quickly acknowledged was nonsense.
Perhaps I should open a thread or two speculating on Sinn Fein forging links with the Qaddafi regime, FARC guerillas, ETA and other entities involved in terrorism?
Except that would be a blatant attempt to smear a rival party on my part with no supporting evidence.
Oh wait...
 

factual

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In your opening post, you wondered about the possibility of the SDLP entering into an alliance with British Labour, a suggestion you quickly acknowledged was nonsense.
Perhaps I should open a thread or two speculating on Sinn Fein forging links with the Qaddafi regime, FARC guerillas, ETA and other entities involved in terrorism?
Except that would be a blatant attempt to smear a rival party on my part with no supporting evidence.
Oh wait...
JC, why do the SDLP sit on the Government benches in the Westminster House of Commons?
 

lostexpectation

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i came across a northern irish labour party person(branch treasurer) quitting because irish labour wouldn't woudn;t go for elections in the north instead of backing the sdlp, and we still have the three parties down here claiming the sdlp.
 

factual

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There were people biting my head off a year ago for stating that I'd eat my hat if the SDLP merged with Fianna Fail. I must dig out some of those threads for the laugh...
All credit to you TA. I would give you rep except I am always told to "spread it".

What a difference a year makes. And the idea of FF entering the six county electoral fray - to be roundly defeated by SF - is now looking very fanciful indeed.
 

factual

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More coverage in what is being presented as "a move away from sectarianism". Overblown talk?

Labour Party to become offical party in Northern Ireland - Politics, News - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Labour Party to become offical party in Northern Ireland

Tuesday, 17 February 2009



The Labour Party is finally organising itself as an official political party in Northern Ireland, it was confirmed today.
The inaugural meeting of a province-wide constituency association is to take place in Belfast next Monday.
Activists have been battling for years to have Northern Ireland treated in the same way as other parts of the UK by Labour.
However it will be some time before any decision is taken to stand for election - but local members have their eyes fixed on the local council elections set for 2011 for a potential first outing.
Queen's University lecturer Boyd Black - who made history last September when he became the first Northern Ireland constituency representative to address a party conference in 100 years when he took the platform at the conference in Manchester - said next week would be a landmark occasion.
"Next Monday we are being formally constituted within the Labour Party organisation - up to now we have been unofficial members.
"Now we will have a party constitution and have elected officers.
"We will as of right have a seat on the National Policy Forum, the body which sits in permanent session and develops policy for the party," said Mr Black.
He added: "I think it is a big step forward, I am very pleased with that."
It's been a long fight, with the Labour high command - mindful of its links to the SDLP - having to be dragged along.
Some four years ago it was only the threat of legal action which led to the party agreeing it would accept membership applications from Northern Ireland.
More recently it was the issuing of another writ which led to agreement for formal organisation of a constituency association.
There was a requirement for the association to sign up 200 members and hold them for three months before it could be formally constituted.
The 200-mark was passed last summer, numbers are heading towards 300 and Monday's inaugural meeting is the result, said Mr Black.
He added: "Standing for elections is down the road a bit, we won't be standing in this Parliament or for the European elections. In an ideal world I would like us to contest the local government elections in 2011."
However what happens is likely to depend on the SDLP.
"For a spell it looked as if the SDLP was going to merge with Fianna Fail, that would have had implications for us," he said.
He added he suspected the reality was the SDLP would be around as a political force for the next general election with the potential to win three seats in what could be a hung parliament.
"We are going to have to tiptoe around all of this," said Mr Black.
Kevin McAdam, chairman of the ad hoc group which has called itself Labour Members in Northern Ireland, said there was now a great opportunity to move away from the sectarian politics of the past.
Looking forward to the Monday meeting, he said: "It brings to an end the uncertainty of the party's commitment to members in Northern Ireland.
"Since 2003 we have been entitled to membership but now we have the opportunity to play a full role in the party."
He added: "This is a great opportunity to move away from the old sectarian politics that we have so long been used to and engage in the real political debate that matters to all in our community."
 

setanta

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The UK Labour Party is organising in Northern Ireland only very reluctantly and with absolutely no enthusiasm (in contrast to the Tories for example). UK Labour is only organising in the North because of repeated threats of legal action by some prospective members in the North.

The comments by those members about standing candidates in the 2011 local elections are nothing more than spin. While a court can oblige a registered political party to admit members and to treat them as equal with other members for the purposes of internal organisation, a court cannot oblige a political party to contest seats it does not wish to contest.

This is a hollow victory for NI Labour Party members and has come about only as a result of legal threats. It remains the very clear policy of UK Labour that it will not contest elections in Northern Ireland and will defer to its sister PES party there, the SDLP.

On the quesion of why the SDLP sit on the government benches at Westminster. This is because both the SDLP and UK Labour are part of the same international movement (the SI and the PES). So long as the SDLP sits in the UK parliament its MP's will sit alongside their UK Labour colleagues.
 

JCSkinner

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There were people biting my head off a year ago for stating that I'd eat my hat if the SDLP merged with Fianna Fail. I must dig out some of those threads for the laugh...
You and me both.
 

factual

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The UK Labour Party is organising in Northern Ireland only very reluctantly and with absolutely no enthusiasm (in contrast to the Tories for example). UK Labour is only organising in the North because of repeated threats of legal action by some prospective members in the North.

The comments by those members about standing candidates in the 2011 local elections are nothing more than spin. While a court can oblige a registered political party to admit members and to treat them as equal with other members for the purposes of internal organisation, a court cannot oblige a political party to contest seats it does not wish to contest.

This is a hollow victory for NI Labour Party members and has come about only as a result of legal threats. It remains the very clear policy of UK Labour that it will not contest elections in Northern Ireland and will defer to its sister PES party there, the SDLP.

On the quesion of why the SDLP sit on the government benches at Westminster. This is because both the SDLP and UK Labour are part of the same international movement (the SI and the PES). So long as the SDLP sits in the UK parliament its MP's will sit alongside their UK Labour colleagues.
Is the last argument compelling? Just because one is in the PES does not mean one has to sit on governmental benches-it is a non sequitur.

Regarding whether British Labour will stand for elections, time will tell.
 

JCSkinner

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Having seen your kite about an SDLP/Brit Labour alliance plummet like a lead balloon now you offer the prospect of a Brit Labour vote threatening the SDLP?
This sort of nonsense, dear Factual, is why you are considered the best unknowing comedian on this website.
 

factual

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Having seen your kite about an SDLP/Brit Labour alliance plummet like a lead balloon now you offer the prospect of a Brit Labour vote threatening the SDLP?
It might pose as many - if not more - problems for the Alliance Party or the UUP.
 


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