Friday, 31 October 2008

Belfast SDLP dances to Shinners' tune

You would not expect the SDLP to play dog whistle politics in the mould of Sinn Féin and neither has the party done so as regards Sunday’s homecoming parade for troops in Belfast. Instead the SDLP has urged nationalists to avoid Belfast city centre at Sunday lunchtime, but this in itself is a problematic intervention, because it implies that the event is exclusive to one community.

Although many spectators who wish to attend the parade on Sunday will be unionists, there are nationalists whose family will be involved, no doubt there are nationalists who simply may wish to watch the event and by no means should politicians be invoking a communal imperative that they should stay away. The politics of Belfast dictate that the SDLP must continue occasionally to make sectarian shapes in order not to be outflanked by Sinn Féin.

In contrast SDLP councillors in Ballymena, including veteran nationalist representative PJ McAvoy, will be in attendance as the town welcomes back RIR soldiers tonight. A Catholic priest in the town has already urged his parishioners to do likewise. The parade in Ballymena has attracted little of the sectarian, political baggage which republican protests have conferred upon Belfast’s equivalent event.

3 comments:

Johnny Guitar said...

It was encouraging to read about P.J. McAvoy and the SDLP councillors in Ballymena. At least some socialists and social democrats on this island still have the ability to recognise the courage of those involved in a war against fascism.

Ignited said...

In Larne the sole SDLP councilor Danny O'Connor was also in attendance to confer the freedom of the borough on the RIR. Well done to those guys.

takezo said...

Indeed well done to them. Wheres that rude little man Kensei when ya need him.....