Fianna Fáil’s plan to enter the north has produced a good crop of posts over the last day or two:
Though it seems innocent enough, the immediate reaction from the Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey, suggested
it was the equivalent of "throwing a grenade into politics in Northern
Ireland" if they decided to organise and fight elections there. More
interesting is the silence from the much larger DUP on the matter,
which was first flagged in a newspaper article on Sunday. Had there been a briefing, or are they simply playing the role of discreet neighbours?
Splintered Sunrise suggests that Sir Reg should respond with an even bigger grenade::
Why doesn’t the OUP negotiate a merger with Fine Gael? Both sit in the
same Strasbourg group, both are parties with dubious long-term
prospects – shouldn’t Sir Reggie and Electric Enda be natural partners?
Over at the Cedar Lounge Revolution, Worldbystorm reckons unionists are more likely to respond by drawing closer to the British parties.
Now, basic power politics suggests that no British party will act
against its own interests, which is why the Unionists have broadly been
continually disappointed since 1973 or so. But that doesn’t mean that
such alliances might not have a pernicious dynamic of their own in a
context where the GFA looked to be somewhat shaky. And one point about
the GFA is that it depends in large measure upon the benign oversight
of London. I can’t see that changing today, or tomorrow, but five years
down the line? Ten?
That post prompted an interesting comment from Andy Newman:
I think when discussing the realtionship between political parties
in the six counties and in Britain, it is important to recognise the
degree to which this is becoming a side show for British unionism.
The union that matters, and which is under threat as never before is
that with Edinburgh, with 59% of English supporting an Independent
Scotland, and 53% of Scots.
Perhaps the most important piece, however, is this from the MSM in the shape of BBC Northern Ireland’s Martina Purdy:
The Irish foreign minister apparently told the SDLP that
he had been holding the line against internal party pressure for some
time on the issue of organising in Northern Ireland.
And it is claimed Mr Ahern gave two reasons: firstly,
for the sake of the peace process and stability in Northern Ireland and
secondly to ensure the SDLP was not undermined.
However, these reasons, Mr Ahern said, no longer stood and he himself now agreed the time was right to move.
One senior SDLP member was certainly delighted when the announcement was made.
"There is an historic inevitability about this," he
said. "There are those in the party who believe the SDLP’s historic
function is over, as a party holding the line for democratic politics."
He added: "This may be the final nail in the coffin for the SDLP."