SDLP and the UK State 20

I have just sent the following email to the SDLP media office. I am genuinely puzzled as to how they reconcile their purported desire for uniting Ireland (which I strongly support) with their support for the aggressively unionist UK Labour Party. The only explanation I can find is that the politics of Northern Ireland are so parochial that they are oblivious. I don’t imagine they will reply, but the questions seem to me worth asking. Were I a voter in Northern Ireland, the answers would determine my vote.

My name is Craig Murray. I am a freelance journalist, a member of the NUJ, mostly working in new media including my own blog, which has approximately 300,000 unique visitors monthly.

Could you kindly give brief responses today to the following questions?

The UK Labour Party party has now firmly described itself as a unionist party committed to the integrity of the United Kingdom. How will that impact on your historically close relationship?

Will your MPs continue to receive the Labour whip? The website Labour List and very many media outlets state that your MPs “unofficially take the Labour whip.” Is that a fair categorisation?

Do you support the Labour Party decision not to enter any kind of deal with the SNP or Plaid Cymru? Will your MPs take the same line?

Thank You

Craig Murray

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20 thoughts on “SDLP and the UK State

  • Luke

    Good email. I keep seeing the diehard Unionists writing about the UK being an “indivisible” state, now that the indyref is over. Then I remind them about the Good Friday Agreement, which enshrines leaving the UK into law. Their reponse is invariably “but Northern Ireland is an exception”. Why is that? If territorial integrity is so important to them, why are they willing to make any exceptions at all?

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Why are you trying to stir it up re. Northern Ireland?

    Is what you write about the business of anyone but the electors in Northern Ireland?

  • craig Post author

    Yes it is very much our business, because we are all governed within the same union. I shall be delighted when I am in a different polity, but I am not. Your attitude is typical of the unionist hypocrisy that just wants us to be all governed from Westminster without being taken into account in the political balance.

  • Abe Rene

    I’ll try to imagine being a SDLP member and reply…

    Dear Mr. Murray

    We don’t remember seeing you at any recent press conferences as an accredited journalist. Which publication do you work for?

    Anyway, our answers to your questions are as follows:

    1. The Labour Party is a social democratic party as we are, and with the new leader we hope that more of their historic socialist principles will be implemented. We are nationalist, not unionist, as you say, but the UK is not likely to break up any time soon, and does not affect the above.

    2. We haven’t made any agreement about a coalition yet.

    3. Decisions about such deals are the Labour party’s business, and not our concern.

    Regarding 2 and 3, I should say that we’ll work with any party that further our constituents’ interests.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Not the SDLP.

  • craig Post author

    Abe Rene

    You are not imagining how they would reply. You are imagining how you would reply. If they replied as you suggest, they would lose votes to Sinn Fein.

    The growth of new media appears to have passed you by entirely. Parties have more sense than to refuse to interact with new media nowadays.

  • Abe Rene

    It will be interesting to see how SDLP reply to you (if they do), so as to avoid giving ground to Sinn Fein, and what they make of new media. Keep us posted!

  • Mark Golding

    Well said Craig – let’s reiterate the political ‘double-bed’ folly where the SDLP party demand independence for Ireland, breaking up the UK, and, under the same duvet, the stupidity and apathy of the Labour party motivated towards union under the pretense that two in three English voters disapprove of Ed Miliband using the support of the Scottish Nationalists to enter Number 10 after the election, once don’t knows are excluded.

    There is also a charade of ‘overwhelming support’ for the continuation of Trident south of the border, with the charge that two thirds of those with an opinion being against the scrapping of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

    It comes with Mr Miliband repeatedly refusing to categorically rule out a deal with the SNP amid an expected collapse of Labour’s support base in Scotland.

  • Iain Orr

    The wish to be independent on the part of those within one part of a unitary state is in many ways (not all) comparable to children growing up and wishing to leave home. If you are able to set up on your own, that does involve the family splitting, but it does not involve the destruction of the family. The language of “destruction”, “doing everything to harm the UK”, “holding a minority government to ransom” etc which is used by Cameron and others is as unbalanced as a patriarch saying to his children “if you leave home I’ll disinherit you”. That bullying language is one reason why I hope Cameron will no longer be Prime Minister or leader of the Conservative party by this autumn.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    This close to an election, anyone expecting principles from any party is probably on a hiding to nothing. Let alone an informative response to a specific question.

  • Mary

    Not forgetting BLiar’s Get Out of Jail Free handout for Sinn Fein.

    Tony Blair warns David Cameron not to pursue on-the-run ex-IRA terrorists over Northern Ireland Troubles
    13 January 2015

    and Cameron’s extra £1 bn for NI.

    David Cameron offers billion pound financial package – if Northern Ireland politicians can agree a deal
    “The most amateurish ham fisted episode I have ever been involved in,” says Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams

    NI is a special case.

  • Mark Golding

    COALITION COLDNESS: (DWP Poverty Data percolation)

    ‘Show more passion’ said Sir John Major to the Conservatives as he warned that economic statistics meant nothing unless people feel their lives are improving.

    Poverty data published last year showed that 2012/13 that household income fell in real teams (prices grew faster than income). The drop meant that real incomes had fallen back to the level they were at a decade earlier.

    It also showed that 26% of people in the UK were in poverty. A household is defined as in poverty if their net income is below 60% of the average (median) in that year. As the average household income fell in 2012/13 the poverty threshold also fell. In 2012/13, incomes at the bottom of the distribution fell by about the same amount as those in the middle, so the poverty rate was unchanged.

    Official data release 1-7-15

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    This is just the tip of the Northern Ireland special case.

    Now the PSNI has arrested a 41-year-old man as a suspect in the Jock Davison assassination, but we are told no more about him, so you can make up your own story about who he might be, and why he wanted to kill Davison.

    Then there is the mother of an IRA volunteer who has called on Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams to stop his gangs from killing her poor son.

    Then the Sinn Fein leadership is getting all kinds of threats because of what happened to Davison.

    Just remember that the election returns from the province could determine the next government for the UK.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Your attitude is typical of the unionist hypocrisy that just wants us to be all governed from Westminster without being taken into account in the political balance.”


    And your meddling – via the email you sent and the attention you draw to it on here – is typical of those who are desperate to scrape together every last MP in order to build an anti-Tory, pro-SNP coalition.

    I do not recall you ever having shown the slightest sign of interest in Northern Ireland or Northern Irish politics or the SDLP on this blog since I’ve had the pleasure of commenting on it.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    Mark Golding

    “..the average (median) in that year.”


    Make your mind up – average salary is a different concept to median salary.

  • lysias

    As of 2011, 41% of the population of Northern Ireland identified as Catholic, and 42% as non-Roman Catholic Christian. The Catholics will soon outnumber the Protestants, if they do not do so already.

  • Mary

    Only to be expected.

    Also see Lord Bew, current chairman of the Anglo-Israel Association.

    The Henry Jackson Society rears its ugly head again. Bew and Murphy in touch??

    A nest of vipers.

    Yet two more Israel support outfits are given charitable status.

    Anglo Israel Association

    Wyndham Deedes (Anglo-Israel Association Trust Fund}

  • Richard Gadsden

    It might be useful for you to try and get at Mick Fealty of the Slugger O’Toole blog, and see if he’ll take 500-1000 words from you on this. Something in the Slugger style would work well there, get a much wider audience in Northern Ireland than it’s likely to do here (I don’t know whether you get more or less traffic than Slugger, but they certainly get more in NI) and would get put in front of journalists who could pressure the SDLP for real answers.

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