Sunday, September 13, 2009

‘Normalising politics’ revisited

Back in April 2007, one of my first posts on South Belfast Diary was ‘‘Normalising’ politics in Northern Ireland?’, in which I speculated about the choices that might be available to the electorate in 2012. With our MLAs back at work, and with a feeling of change in the air, it seems like a good time to have another look at this.

As I said then, and still believe, we have no way of knowing how our political system might evolve:

On the one hand, normal politics in NI is what we’ve got at the moment: it’s normal for us, and it has evolved in the way it has in response to local conditions. On the other hand, if party political options do change in the next five years or so, there’s no particular reason to assume that the new pattern will be the same as anywhere else, because our society isn’t.
So what are the trends today, and where might they leave us in 2012?

Unionism/ loyalism
The bonkers wing of unionism is alive and well in the new Traditional Unionist Voice (motto: don’t work with anyone else, anytime, anywhere) and in the behaviour of some DUP MLAs – homophobia, creationism, global warming denial, we’ve seen them all. But in general the DUP are ‘still here, still the same’, as I said in 2007. Peter Robinson’s remarks on voluntary coalition were an interesting and successful attempt at agenda-setting, and many DUP politicians are competent and impressive.

Rather than go for being the unionist party with the liberal social agenda, which would have filled an electoral niche and probably suited many of their members, the UUP formed a ‘link’ with the British Conservative party. In 2007 I predicted a full merger, which I suppose may still come about. The ‘Ulster Conservatives and Unionists’ retained the a seat in the European elections, but it remains to be seen whether the new arrangement can compensate for the lacklustre performance of local representatives.

The PUP have continued to be squeezed out of a meaningful role. Despite recent moves towards loyalist decommissioning, the ‘progressive loyalism’ project seems to have stalled. Most PUP members would probably be happy in a fully functioning Labour Party, if we had one.

The ‘middle ground’
As Northern Ireland settles down into an uneasy peace, the key question for Alliance and the Greens must be why they seem unable to attract larger numbers of voters away from traditional allegiances. A couple of years ago, I thought Alliance might try to link up more closely with the British Liberal Democrats - I didn't actually realise that they already have links with the LibDems (and, indeed, that there's a branch of the LibDems here in NI). The idea of a link with Fine Gael was way off beam, though. In terms of what they actually do, Alliance just keep on doing it in the hope that they might pick up a few more votes eventually.

The Greens, with their connections both to the South and to the British jurisdictions, did much better than last time in the European elections, but again they aren’t making a strong enough breakthrough at all levels of our politics. So the voting options here in the middle will remain the same in 2012 – unless the defection of Ian Parsley is a sign that the Greens and Alliance, rather than the sectarian parties, would become weaker if parties from Britain and the Republic decided to move into electoral politics in NI.

Which brings us to the two Labour parties. A couple of years ago, I was hopeful that Labour candidates would by now be preparing to contest the next council elections. But Irish Labour is out of the picture and British Labour is also trying to fudge the issue. The root of the problem is that both Dublin and London are blocking alternatives because they fail to understand why the SDLP are not a suitable democratic socialist party for the whole electorate. I don’t see that changing by 2012.

Nationalism/ republicanism

In 2007 I was sure that the SDLP would merge with Fianna Fáil. But the Celtic Tiger died, Brian Cowen lost interest, and it looked as if the SDLP had turned more towards Irish Labour. Then, surprisingly, a fortnight ago, Fianna Fáil met in the North again, although they have made it clear they don’t intend to contest elections or seek a formal connection with the SDLP. So the SDLP continues to survive as a separate party, despite all the speculation of the past few years. They have a fine collection of policies on social issues, which they consistently fail to put across due to the poor presentation skills of their politicians and, it appears, some muddled briefing. But if you really want to vote for them, it looks like you’ll still be able to in 2012.

There’s very little to say about Sinn Féin. They’ve been around for a long time and aren’t going away any time soon. There are tensions in the South, with their culchie members keen for them to become a Fianna Fáil Mark 2, but up here they remain successful electorally. They even win when running an egregious election campaign for an institution they don’t believe in.

So there you have it. I could have added in a few far left parties; it’s important to note the absence of the far right, despite persistent rumours of their attempts to start up here; and also we should be aware of the perhaps surprisingly low number of independent candidates. Formal political links with parties from other jurisdictions remain rare, and we still only have one all-Ireland party.

In April 2007, the Assembly and Executive were just about to reconvene. House prices were high, unemployment comparatively low, and most of us had never heard of Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or a young senator called Barack Obama. The world has changed considerably since then, and we have more change coming in the shape of the Cameron government and continuing severe economic problems in the Republic. But NI carries on pretty much regardless. It will be interesting to see how our politicians cope with the challenges of the next few years, and, indeed, whether the Executive can survive them.

55 comments:

Colm said...

Jenny, you seem (to me) to imply that there is / might be a space for a local Labour Party.

I agree. But where are the others who might so agree?

There does not seem to be an appetite for the hard work of actually doing it.

Jenny Muir said...

Colm, do you mean a Northern Ireland Labour Party or either the British or Irish Labour Parties operating within NI?

Given the situation with the British and Irish parties, an autonomous NI LP with links to both Dublin and London would get around this problem of who makes the decision about the scope of operations. However, Dublin and London might very well reject contact due to their relationship with the SDLP, and it would be hard for an NILP to be seen as cross community in these circumstances (which, of course, was what eventually happened last time there was an NILP). The party woudl also have to join the Socialist International and the PES, and in both cases there might be problems given the number of other 'Labour' parties operating in the jurisdiction.

I think there are lots of people prepared to put work into some kind of Labour party, but at the moment they are scattered between Irish Labour, British Labour and the SDLP, plus in none of these because they are understandably confused!

Colm said...

Yes, Jenny, I do mean a Northern Ireland Labour Party.

I think the other national parties, British Labour and the Irish Labour Party have shown that they DEFINITELY will not organise seriously. (And definitively)

But these other individuals 'scattered between Irish Labour, British Labour and the SDLP,' you mention; they are those who seem not to have the appetite for the fight. They are in a comfy zone, where they can feel that they are 'doing their best'; or 'what else can we do?'; or ...?

The Politics of Contentment.

Colm said...

I should have included, that the 'scattered individuals' (of socialist inclination) are probably also found in UUP, DUP, Alliance and Sinn Fein

Jenny Muir said...

Colm, it's not impossible, but very very difficult. I did write a long answer, but the short one is that such as party would have to:

- attract a critical mass of members from existing LPs, the SDLP, the PUP, other parties as you say, and from others
- negotiate links with Dublin and London which would have to run parallel with the SDLP at least in the short term
- join the SI and PES, again hopefully without opposition
- negotiate trades union support
- from the word go emphasise the 'part of both, excluded from neither' element, making it very clear that the party regards itself as 'other' in terms of community designation
- emphasise lessons have been learend from the previous NILP and that the context this time is different
- battle the inevitable far left infiltration

As I say, not impossible, but a long-term project which requires considerable existing political influence and resources.

Colm said...

Ah, well;

re your comment: "As I say, not impossible, but a long-term project which requires considerable existing political influence and resources."

I contend that there is not the appetite; where is evidence otherwise?

Any project needs to be commenced with; excessive planning and strategising achieve little other than delay.

Mistakes are inevitable, but are not remotely as 'terminal', as the current situation. Perhaps younger people will take up this struggle, because, certainly, their elders have shown themselves weak, exhausted, and maybe even lazy.

"No plan will survive the first 30 minutes of war" I dunno who said that, but it might have been Helmuth von Moltke or Liddell-Hart. Referring to WW1

I think it is completely accurate, as a statement of all of life. Business, politics, international affairs, relationships. The capacity to plan, is more important than 'The Plan'

Garibaldy said...

I can't see a re-emergence of an NI Labour Party. Too many of the people who would need to be involved have long-standing links and allegiances to other formations. On top of which, there is the reality that sectarian politics remains utterly, utterly dominant, and progressive politics very, very weak.

Let's not forget that there was no left candidate in the Euro election. As we now can see very clearly, Parsley was a Tory (and as a whole Alliance has moved to the right), and the Greens have shown down south that they are not a fundamentally left formation.

It's a depressing time. But at least I have the consolation of being a member of a party that corresponds with my politics. For those further to the centre but still clearly left, it must be still more depressing.

I think that there might be a necessity for traditional Labour people to consider whether the fact that it is only those to their left who can be relied upon to pursue traditional left goals means they ought to get involved in working more closely with the further left parties, despite whatever differences there are on certain issues.

Jenny Muir said...

Colm - it might be young people who end up taking this forward, on the other hand maybe when some of us retire we'll have the time, and perhaps better contacts! It's certainly the case that working cuts into time available now for political activity, I find. That's why any new party is going to need enough cash to employ someone pretty soon, I think.

Garibaldy - which party are you in, then?

Colm said...

On your comment, Garibaldy, that "can't see a re-emergence of an NI Labour Party. Too many of the people who would need to be involved have long-standing links and allegiances to other formations"

Well, why?

Why do these people who have no stomach for the struggle, 'have to be involved'?

I recall the old Leninist comment. 'Better fewer, but better' The people who will, eventually, change Northern Ireland, are probably not currently involved in politics; or if they are, it is at a junior level.

Personally, having tried for some while to interest people in NILP, well, I have to recognise an unrewarding struggle. If someone wants to actually DO something, then I would be on for that.

Interminable discussion, I am well and truly fed up with.

Garibaldy said...

Jenny,

I'm in The WP. Your point about finance is crucial, both to sustaining any party and setting up a new one. I agree too about the importance of not writing older people off, and mistaking being busy with a lack of commitment. The need is for the left to manage whatever resources it has intelligently.

Colm,

There is a lot of disillusionment among the left, and it's easy to see why. A lot of people have put decades of work in, and instead of things getting better for the left, they have got worse since about 1989. I regret that that is how a lot of people feel, but I don't blame them for it. I think the fact that the Irish and British labour parties are uninterested further demoralised a lot of people. We will have to see if we can re-invigorate them. Things such as the water charges MIGHT offer an opportunity.

Jenny Muir said...

Colm - I completely understand your fed upness about lack of commitment. Mine is rather more about not having a political home due to the failure of the Labour Parties of these islands to listen to what their members want in NI.

Garibaldy - I thought perhaps you were in the WP. THis point about lack of resources is important, but of course I've also had the experience of sitting in a room with people who were shall we say somewhat underoccupied elsewhere in their lives but still didn't seem able to put their hands up when jobs needed to be done. But every party has these.

So where to now, guys?

Garibaldy said...

Yeah there are always people who don't want to actually do that much. Although at least that's understandable if they've done it for a few decades in the past.

Where to is the golden question. I do think that the answer is to build the maximum left unity possible. We are so weak and disorganised, and the Executive is facing so little opposition, that I don't see any other way to go.

At this point, it's hardly like revolution is on the agenda. The defence of the traditional positions of social democracy (or what is left of them) is something we can all unite around. Like I said earlier, water charges are one thing, the transfer system, integrated education, opposing cuts etc. There's no reason for us not to cooperate as best we can. I think pretty much every organisation on the left recognises this; time to do it.

The WP Northern Regional Conference due next month will be discussing these issues I'm sure, and is always open to people from every party.

Colm said...

Garibaldy, I also have been part of the Worker's Party, in it's various manifestations, from ~1973 to 1992 (Democratic Left, 'The Split')

Calling for 'maximum left unity', is understandable, but without clearness of goal, is impossible. It's a truism (of business and government) that it is easier to build a new organisation than to reform a sclerotic one.

I agree on 'traditional positions of social democracy', but do not feel that those political objectives are barely relevant. But in any case, the positions of Social Democracy that are now relevant are not such as 'water charges', at least not in the naive way those have been opposed (providing profile for otherwise marginal politicos. All of them, inluding the so-called 'large parties) but in awareness of a wider European and world struggle, and consequent opposition to 'cuts', as you offer, in the knowledge that what is happening is a 'Shock Doctrine' (Naomi Klein)
kind of series of events. In the awareness that cuts are (or may be) about re-distribution upwards, economically, and are economically damaging, unless they are very well founded.

And the other fundamental SD position has to be systematically 'Green', both to provide a healthy and sustainable environment for us, 'the people'; and to provide economic stimulus, of an entirely constructive kind. A stimulus which results in long term material benefit, and reduced material cost.

(Just listening to Gerry Kelly on radio, S Nolan programme. God I hate that fucker. Arrogant, self-satisfied, comfortable in his egoism. Have to turn it off, to think)

Jenny Muir said...

Sounds like there needs to be a Left 'alliance' (but can't use that word) of some kind, including non-members of other parties, that can put forward and campaign for agreed positions. Robin Wilson's Platform for Change is trying to do this, I think, but he is interested in a broader grouping including the UUP/ Tories and SDLP, so not really 'left'.

The alternative is, as Garibaldy says, that some of us might start to look outside the mainstream a little more, although the WP policies look eminently sensible to me, probably should have included them in this post.

Garibaldy said...

Colm,

To take your last point first. I think Gerry Kelly has that effect on everybody, including many of his own supporters. Alex Attwood tends to bring on the same reaction.

I agree entirely about the need for the left to be green. It's too important an issue to be left to the greens, who have demonstrated in many places that they are ultimately an impediment to left politics when they are in a separate formation.

Agree too on the need for clear goals for maximum left unity. That's why I mentioned things like the water charges. Concrete issues on which people can unite with a clear goal, and on which people who aren't in a formation can get involved in.

I totally take your broader point about a right-wing counter attack on an international scale, and the need to respond in that manner. i see the concrete issues as a way of making that message more relevant to people.

Jenny,

I agree it's too early to talk of any alliance (which is why I think Colm is right that clear goals are needed). There is also the issue of sectarianism. We need a united community approach, which means cooperating with those not on the left but non-sectarian; but at the same time Labour must not wait. Maybe a committee for progressive politics or something could allow individuals and formations to mix, and tip toes beyond the mainstream.

Colm said...

RE "Maybe a committee for progressive politics or something could allow individuals and formations to mix, and tip toes beyond the mainstream."

Sorry, spent 5- 6 years doing that. No longer.

I have to say, having looked at the WP site, and policies, e.g statement on Lisbon, that I have to include the WP as part of the sclerotic mess that is NI politics.

I'm finding green engineering more fun; I think it will be younger, new, people who will achieve change.

However, if y'all want to actually start this 'New Departure', I could see myself having a small part in it.

Remember, easier to build anew, than to reform the old, in organisational terms.

Garibaldy said...

Colm,

I'm in a party that whatever its weakness I feel is the right place for me. I agree with you that parties are the only effective way for the left to operate, or at least an essential way. I am however interested in trying to engage as many people as possible in left politics. I could simply say everyone should join The WP, but that is unlikely to get us very far. We need an alternative.

I take it that was yourself over on my own blog about Lisbon, so I;m not surprised to see you disagree with The WP about that. I think though you are wrong to say that it is easier to build anew. One of the problems with the left has been the readiness to keep starting new parties which fail to gain any traction, while damaging the parent organisations and the left as a whole. The prime example in the Irish context is the DLs, who were swallowed up exactly as predicted.

Colm said...

I've spent nearly 40 years in, in some sense, NI politics. Always on the Left, most of it in the WP.

I have put up with the frustration of deeply conservative policies masquerading as 'left'. Not only in the WP, but it's still a prime example.

These are of course, only my opinions, and others analyse the world differently.

I think the whole of NI politics, with the POSSIBLE exception of the Greens, is bullshit. (Though they certainly have their limitations.) It is a triumph for such as (Frank) Kitson and his spook type manipulations. SF-IRA is the most obvious example, but others are also influenced by that gang of SIS.

(Oh, and yes that was me on your blog. No hard feelings, only business- politics- whatever)

Colm said...

A further thought struck me, and that is that most of 1st world politics also fits that profile. Of being bullshit. For similar reasons.

Sometimes they are called SIS, sometimes the Murdoch media, another time the Berlusconi media empire, etc. See Chomsky and the need for excellence of propaganda, in a democracy.

Garibaldy said...

You're more than welcome to comment at the blog anytime Colm. The frank exchange of views is what this whole business is about.

Obviously we can agree to disagree on whether The WP has deeply conservative politics pretending to be left ones. I'd be more sceptical about the Greens than you. I think unfortunately that the influence of Kitson type groups is often not needed in NI, so screwed up is our society, though I'm sure there are agents active in every party.

Jenny Muir said...

Blimey, don't either of you have work to do? I like the idea of a committee for progressive politics, and Colm you must have a little faith.

Might see one or both of you at the launch of the Stickies book at the QUB bookshop on Friday???

Colm said...

Faith? Faith?

I've used it all up. Anyway, I never liked 'faith'. The Catholic Church was always particularly strong on 'faith'. I prefer reason.

Yeah, look forward to seeing you on Friday, Jenny. Half expecting to see a number of old comrades there.

Garibaldy said...

I'll not be going to the booklaunch, but I'm sure it'll be an interesting event. I wouldn't be surprised if (a) there's little room to move and (b) the drink runs out very quickly indeed.

Jenny Muir said...

Perhaps we need something like the Committee of 100, but for the left in NI. We could lie down in the road at Stormont.... but it might be mistaken for performance art...

Garibaldy said...

I'd prefer a Committee of Thirty like that which helped produce the French Revolution :)

Colm said...

Re The book launch; Garibaldy, are you implying something, old chap, about the alcohol habits of us old Lefties?

Garibaldy said...

maybe I was talking about the stinginess of the book's printers Colm.

Colm said...

For you, Jenny. Hope you enjoy the cartoon series.

http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55912/

Jenny Muir said...

Garibaldy - well a Committee of 30 is more likely in NI I must say.

Colm - the cartoons are a hoot, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Jenny

I think that your partnership idea is fine, and your excluded from neither is also fine, and desirable. What I think however is also very desirable in terms of normalising politics is that when voting for Westminster (where all the biggest stuff is settled) there is an electoral option for Westminater elections (Commons and to the new Upper House) that effectively would be elected on the Labour manifesto for national politics, so the MP would effectively be a Labour MP or Labour Senator, capable of being a minister in the government. In that way the electorate would have a choice for and against the sovereign govermnent of the day and the local representatives the hope of plaing a meaningful and active role in that government.

James

Jenny Muir said...

James, not quite sure how that would work - would the candidate specify which UK-wide party they wanted to affiliate with, or are you saying the voters would be able to indicate separately which UK party they support?

Anonymous said...

Jenny

Sorry I must have been unclear.

All I mean is that whatever specific arrangement the "NI Labour group" come up with in your "excluded from neither and part of both" framework, it would be best if there is an agreement with UK Labour such that the "NI Labour group" can put up candidates for Westminster that are agreed with the UK Labour party and elected on the UK Labour manifesto, and for those elected MPs to be treated just like other Labour MPs when it comes to participating in government (being ministers in the government etc).

It is how I would want "Part of both excluded from neother" to work on the UK side. It would allow voters a chance to participate in a full way in the policies that are set at UK level such as tax, foreign affairs, etc.

James

Jenny Muir said...

Oh I see! Yes, that would make sense, but I assume Labour would see that as endorsing the candidates and would still be worried about what that would mean for their relationship with the SDLP.

I really do not understand why the SDLP has such a hold over both the British and Irish Labour Parties.

Garibaldy said...

The SDLP sits on the government benches and votes with the government though right? I suspect that the SDLP is a convenient excuse to stay out of the NI quagmire.

Jenny Muir said...

But that doesn't excuse the Irish LP - although in each case I suspect you may be right, Garibaldy. Also of course anyone can be appointed ot the Cabinet so there's no reason why the ruling government couldn't appoint a NI MP or member of the House of Lords to be Sec of State. May Blood, perhaps?

Colm said...

All discussion about the British Labour Party, or the Irish Labour Party, and what they should or should not do, is completely irrelevant.

Their interests are not served by involvement in NI. Therefore they will not so engage.

And who should give a f**8?

If people in NI wish to change the situation, then those people need to go and do it.

Back to the top. Where is the desire?

Politics of Contentment.

Jenny Muir said...

Colm, I agree that the irish LP's interests are not served by invovlement in NI, but I'm not so sure about the UK LP. I think there's a lot to be said for having parties active over here who are part of UK-wide electoral politics in order to achieve greater stability and to have a greater hold over them - as the UUP may find with their new link-up with the Tories.

Although I agree with you that people here can be very complacent, I wonder if the cuts we'll be faced with after the next election may galvanise some. However you are right, it's often an uphill struggle to get people to do anything. It's interesting to look at the parties who do seem to be able to get people out, um, that's SF, er....

Garibaldy said...

I wouldn't underestimate the DUP on their ability to get people out Jenny. And I think it's fairly clear that PSF's ability to do so is diminishing. They have realised that themeselves, and are adapting to being primarily a parliamentary party with a support network. Looking at their youth wing is instructive. Primarily, it's about training the next generation of bureaucrats and politicians. Same as the other big parties.

I'm inclined to agree with Colm. A left must be built by people in NI - outsiders won't do it for us.

Jenny Muir said...

Yes, I suppose I should realise the power of the DUP after Peter Robinson (my MP) dealt with a query from Nick with incredible efficiency.

I do agree, reluctantly, that we have to do the work ourselves to built the Left in NI, that sounds like a call to return to the fray! The question is, which fray? Must have a serious think about this over the next few months.

Colm said...

AVANTI POPOLO!
Alla riscossa, Bandiera Rossa, bandiera rosa.

Picked up a little book in Queen's bookshop yesterday.

On an 'Alexander Bowman' Interesting little snippets of early(ish) Labour history.

A century later. and indeed, 'the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone arise from the deluge'

The only (eventual) solution is a NILP. But I think it will be younger people.

By comparison with the existing parties, a 'New' NILP will look attractive. The old stuff is only dross.

A 'new' NILP can reference the (admirable) history of pre 1968, and the new awareness of ecolological issues. Not to mention the economics stuff.

Anonymous said...

I think that there is still a possibility that UK Labour will be persuaded to stand. They have moved on the issue of membership, and of organisation, I think that the local NI based members would like to stand for election and that their efforts and arguments could see them stand ultimately.

Garibaldy said...

It's possible they may get the go-ahead (although it might only be after a court case). But when is the question? I don't think that the social democratic left in NI can or should wait for permission from London or Dublin. If that means alternatives, then I think people need to face up to that. To repeat myself :)

Jenny Muir said...

Anon, the problem is that Irish Labour was at that point a few years ago, and look what happened to us. I am very very reluctantly coming round to agreeing with Colm and Garibaldy that we have to do it ourselves - but NO COLUM not without us oldies! My role model here is a woman I used to know in Finsbury Park who was a campaigner way into her eighties, and certainly got a new lease of life when she retired from her job as a teacher. Old and young must work together!

Anonymous said...

Garibaldy Its true it will be gradual-I think the plan is local elections first and so on.

Garibaldy said...

I agree with Jenny on the need to keep people active and engaged rather than turn to youth for the sake of it.

Anon,

I am sceptical about what such a plan can achieve. But regardless of that, we are back to the issue of what people on the social democratic left do in the meantime. They can't afford to sit things out as they will shrink. And the left generally is so weak that it is essential we all work on the here and now.

Colm said...

Do I hear the sound of volunteers? Or not?

Jenny Muir said...

You may do.... my only reservation is whether we should all join the BRitish LP first, to foster a critical mass to try to get them to allow electoral activity (re-run of Irish LP for some of us); and THEN go indpendent?

Also Mark Durkan going raises some itneresting points - if Alistair McDonneel becomes leader then possibly the FF link is on again....

Colm said...

Re your comment "Also Mark Durkan going raises some itneresting points -"

The man shows a quite extraordinary cack-handedness, in any discussion.

So, this a.m., on Radio Ulster, in what was a well orchestrated PR coup, (on his part) he manages to 'fluff' a question which he should have had worked out, and blows the whole thing. Isn't it great!

meanwhile the bot security has just offered "vkachan"

Yeah, you're right, it is vkachan. AROONI

Jenny Muir said...

Unfortunately I missed the interview, although I may well have turned off the car radio anyway as I find him very hard to listen to.

But it does provide the SDLP with an opportunity to discuss where they are going, although of course they may decide simply to bury the problems and just choose a new leader instead.

I have no idea what you're talking about on the last line.

Colm said...

I take it you mean:

Yeah, you're right, it is vkachan. AROONI

'Arooni', is 'avout', which is the nonsense language (and maybe not so nonsense) made up by Slim Gaillard, musician, genius, and soldier.

Interesting guy. Hence my offering 'vkachan', which seems to me to be maybe Kazakh, or Armenian, or Avout, for 'bocketty'

As in 'the bocketty robot' (* A non or only partially functional children's toy)

Easy, innit.

It's now offered 'perdsons'. You definitely get a higher class of codewords from the bots on this site.

Garibaldy said...

If people are right and Durkan has done this now to spike McDonnell, then I think it says a lot about what is priorities are. None of them good. Another huge mistake from Durkan.

Jenny Muir said...

Garibaldy - I agree. You should always leave internal squabbles within the party.

Which reminds me - when and where is your conference?

Garibaldy said...

AFAIK Jenny it's scheduled for October 10th in the Wellington Park Hotel. I'll be posting up details when I get the final list of speakers.

Jenny Muir said...

Might pop along

Garibaldy said...

Cool. I'll email or put the details on a comment zone here when I get them.