Margaret Ritchie Rules out Merger

Cruimh

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SDLP rejects party mergers

The SDLP remains committed to a united Ireland but will not merge with fellow nationalist parties to achieve it, Margaret Ritchie made clear today.
In her first speech to party conference as leader, the South Down MP nailed any suggestion of a political alliance on either side of the border.
One interesting comment -

any merger with a major southern party would effectively mean the end of the SDLP and I believe with that, crucially, the disappearance of the unique brand values we bring to Irish politics. So we have ruled it out for now.
Aside from wondering what unique brand values are - I remember the Libs in Britain saying much the same thing in the past.
 


Scipio

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If mergers were on the table, surely the logical thing to do would be to merge with the Irish Labour Party.
In any case, it looks like the SDLP are desperately trying to stay relevant, and while doubtful, I hope they do.

A Northern Ireland dominated by SF and the DUP more than it already is would be insufferable.
 

Cruimh

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One thing though Scipio - both the SDLP and SF have very much played up the role of cross border bodies in promoting unification - if the SDLP don't have a voice in both camps then their relevance to unification would be reduced surely ?

Labour - aren't they left of centre and secular ? I couldn't see that merger .....
 

Scipio

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One thing though Scipio - both the SDLP and SF have very much played up the role of cross border bodies in promoting unification - if the SDLP don't have a voice in both camps then their relevance to unification would be reduced surely ?
If anything, it would improve their relevance, especially given that SF harp on the fact that they're the only "All-Ireland" party.

Labour - aren't they left of centre and secular ? I couldn't see that merger .....
In the long run, I'd say that's the direction the SDLP needs to head in. A Catholic middle-class party will always have a niche, but any hopes of taking on SF and branching out to include liberal Protestant voters look fairly forlorn as of now.
 

Iarmhi Gael

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Happened to be in the Ramada this morning and decided to call into the SDLP conference for 10-15 mins. Very large turnout, awful lot of young faces and of all things poppy wearing. Had my 8 year with me who has enough pencils and free stuff to do him for a lifetime

Martin Mansergh was there from FF, while the lovely Miriam O'Callaghan gave a speech on John Hume.
 

harryshounds

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Happened to be in the Ramada this morning and decided to call into the SDLP conference for 10-15 mins. Very large turnout, awful lot of young faces and of all things poppy wearing. Had my 8 year with me who has enough pencils and free stuff to do him for a lifetime

Martin Mansergh was there from FF, while the lovely Miriam O'Callaghan gave a speech on John Hume.
manseragh
poppies
o callaghan(rte)..................................nuff said.
 

TrueBlue84

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“Standing around waving flags, resenting Northern Ireland and its institutions and hoping somehow to wake up some morning and find Ireland united is not a strategy.”

She hit the nail on the head with that one.


Ms Ritchie also urged moderate unionists at Stormont to help rebuild the modern ground that had been undermined by the rise of Sinn Féin and the DUP.


That is a bit rich considering she wont break away and form an opposition with the UUP
 

DerryBee

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Whilst many may regard Margaret Ritchie as a capable politician I fear that given her performance thus far she will be a poor leader for the SDLP. I have met various supporters of the SDLP in Derry, including both nationalists and moderate unionists, who have been greatly disillusioned by the rhetoric and various policies adopted by the SDLP in recent years. This disillusionment and subsequent indifference towards the SDLP has seemingly increased since the election of Margaret Ritchie as the new party leader. Irrespective of the fact that Ritchie may have good intentions, I feel that she lacks the personality and necessary political skills through which to lead the SDLP and reverse the dwindling fortunes of the party.

Many of my friends who have previously voted the SDLP have openly voiced their dismay at Ritchie’s leadership and have suggested that in the future they may switch their vote to the Alliance Party: this is a theme common amongst some of my friends who are moderate unionists and would rather place their vote in the Alliance than the SDLP. Perhaps this is unfair and premature given the fact that Ritchie has only been leader of the party for a few months. In my opinion I think that Ritchie has been undermined by a variety of factors including a failure to pronounce substantive policies; to impose her personality upon the party, and the fact that she is undeniably a poor orator and communicator: her interview skills and speech techniques both in the Commons and the Assembly seem to suggest an element of unnatural ‘rehearsal’, which I personally find quite off-putting. I have a number of problems with Ritchie’s leadership: first and foremost, I find that Ritchie is quite fond of pronouncing criticisms of the Stormont Executive and other parties such as the DUP and Sinn Fein even when both have produced stable government in Northern Ireland in recent years (there is nothing wrong with criticism but criticism for criticisms sake is infuriating!); she has a tendency to overreact to events such as the recent education debate and she seems to constantly hark back to the ‘glory days’ of the SDLP in a somewhat sanctimonious manner without effectively articulating what the future of the party should be.

I think that the SDLP has a history of which it should be proud, but I do honestly feel that until the party stops living in the past and self-righteously referencing its previous achievements and trying to ram its sanctimonious rhetoric down people’s throats it cannot move forward effectively: a compromise in this regard must be found. The number of times I have watched SDLP members at Stormont unnecessarily criticising the DUP and Sinn Fein so as to appear an effective ‘opposition’ and saying ‘if it hadn’t of been for us…’ or ‘we did the heavy lifting’ etc is simply mind-boggling and has to stop because it is not impressive or constructive. As Peter Robinson once said, the SDLP and the UUP may have done the heavy lifting in regards to the Good Friday Agreement but both parties got ruptured in the process: and I fear that in relation to both parties, neither will progress in the future until they stop living in the past and initiative a top to bottom transformation.

Anyway...:oops: :oops:
 

vinoboy

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Useful insight , like the UUP the SDLP is struggling to find it's niche and no longer has the big hitters of old ,Gerry Fitt ,John Hume etc.Same as UUP .Personally ,still think there isa market for the SDLP as their core voters will not go near SF .Perhaps SDLP and UUP should merge as a centre right party ,there is a lot of respect amongst many unionists for individual SDLP councillors.They are on a looser trying to out green SF ,waste of their time and talent .
 

SlabMurphy

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The stoopy's are becoming more and more of an irrelevance. Not that long ago some of them were making hints about joining with Fianna Fail !!!!!!
 

damon

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Ms Ritchie also urged moderate unionists at Stormont to help rebuild the modern ground that had been undermined by the rise of Sinn Féin and the DUP.

That is a bit rich considering she wont break away and form an opposition with the UUP
I don't get that. How can a party who's number one aim is a United Ireland join with the UUP?

There's no way that the mostly honorable SDLP could ever join with Sinn Fein in my opinion.
SF are the people who tried to destroy the north east part of Ireland. And who still talk psychobabble today.
 

Molly Maguire

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I don't get that. How can a party who's number one aim is a United Ireland join with the UUP?

There's no way that the mostly honorable SDLP could ever join with Sinn Fein in my opinion.
SF are the people who tried to destroy the north east part of Ireland. And who still talk psychobabble today.
The SDLP views on a UI are there for window dressing, they can hardly say to the public, " talking about a UI at the present moment is all a bit silly but should the UK ever join the Euro an UI might well happen very rapidly soon after".

The SDLP have enough of a voter base to wander along politically for another 20 years or so, at least until the present provo leadership are gone.

Then who knows.........
 

physicist

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The stoopy's are becoming more and more of an irrelevance. Not that long ago some of them were making hints about joining with Fianna Fail !!!!!!
As opposed to Gerry McHugh who was so fed up with Sinn Féin that he actually did.
 

Northern Voice

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I saw something on Slugger O'Toole about Margaret Ritchie's speech - apparently she mentioned the words 'Sinn Fein' more than 'economy'. Good to see the SDLP have their priorities right..
 

physicist

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I saw something on Slugger O'Toole about Margaret Ritchie's speech - apparently she mentioned the words 'Sinn Fein' more than 'economy'. Good to see the SDLP have their priorities right..
This may shock you but the Assembly doesn't have "economic powers" for want of a better phrase e.g. Parties have argued for a whole list of unfeasible solutions to the Northern Ireland economy: Reducing corporation tax (illegal in EU terms unless done UK wide) and "Special Economic Zone" status (illegal in EU terms again and counterproductive), generating an export economy (in the face of massive capital expenditure cuts and reduced inward investment), Selective VAT reductions (against Tory Policy to destroy a vital "deficit reducing" arm) and other promises beyond this Assembly's juristion, power or culpability.

The reality is that this election will simply be a cut and charge exercise.
 

picador

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I saw something on Slugger O'Toole about Margaret Ritchie's speech - apparently she mentioned the words 'Sinn Fein' more than 'economy'. Good to see the SDLP have their priorities right..
Their main - some would say only - selling point is that they are NOT Sinn Féin.
 

physicist

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Their main - some would say only - selling point is that they are NOT Sinn Féin.
Wow, I'd imagine Sinn Féin have never resorted to agitpropaganda, it'd be a major bombshell on this forum if someone told me differently. :shock2:
 

flavirostris

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So what was all that stuff about FF merging with the SDLP "any day now".

Were the FF'ers just blowing smoke up people's asses
 

Molly Maguire

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A Catholic middle-class party
Doubt the SDLP leadership is any more or less middle class than the provos.

Political leaderships by their very nature tend to be middle class.

The working class are too busy earning a living to have time to chatter all day.
 


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