SF's decision to sit on principled hands over Brexit will rest on their record
Last week I passed a Sinn Féin poster about Brexit and did a quick check, as I thought the pantomime season was over. If ever the words standing firm, Sinn Féin and Brexit deserved the clichéd words of ‘Oh no they aren’t’, this was surely a classic example.
Whatever happens with Brexit the stance of Sinn Féin is clear they have chosen to cling to a 100-year-old dogma and opt out, presumably so they can point the finger at the resultant mess and say, not us guv. The commentariat are full of predictions about the continued rise of Sinn Féin and the inevitable thrashing that awaits the SDLP/ FF in 2019. This may all be so, but one does wonder if we have seen ‘peak Sinn Féin’ or perhaps ‘be careful for what you wish for’ might be more appropriate? For better or worse the decision by Sinn Féin to sit on their “principled hands” over Brexit will rest on their record, regardless of their reliance on voters’ poor memories, plus of course their on-going efforts to rewrite history.
Sure in recent years Sinn Féin, milking the sectarian vote, have triumphed at the ballot box within the Catholic/ nationalist community, but then their appeal is solely to their own uncritical base – unlike any serious party they have a reverse Heineken effect. One might reasonably ask what appeal do Sinn Féin have to the middle ground, where real politics necessarily takes place. Most of their stunts usually have a divisive result, appealing to much less than half of the gallery. Still it gives the impression of activity. Perhaps their cunning plan is to sit in permanent power with their DUP buddies. I think we all know what a recipe for disaster that would be, given the less than impressive experience we have had since 2007.
Interestingly the purity of Sinn Féin’s principles loses its sheen when one remembers that these principles really mean very little. Consider in 2016 Sinn Féin connived with the DUP, to by-pass all our equality legislation (the very legislation placed on the statute book courtesy of the sustained hard work by John Hume and the SDLP) to allow Arlene to make an appointment to the executive – laughably they used the Queen’s prerogative to do it.
If Sinn Féin really had pretensions to serious politics surely they would be thinking of a pivot to the middle, but then it seems they feel they have more in common with the DUP than the SDLP, Alliance or Greens.
Young people are already clearly disillusioned by this Stormont shambles, (100,000 voted in the June referendum in 2016 who did not vote in the assembly elections, less than four weeks earlier). It seems that Sinn Féin want to reboot the executive but going by recent events at Belfast City Council there is no evidence that they will drop the mutual bargaining chip – the petition of concern. Whatever the future holds a grand procession to power seems less than certain, those 8,000 voters in West Belfast have not gone away, you know.
Days of divisive two-community politics must end
Alan Day (January 9) is correct to assert that there are reasonable – indeed preferable – alternatives to the EU’s proposed backstop currently threatening mayhem to both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. He is also entirely correct to observe that the scare stories on consequences should the UK leave the EU to adopt World Trade Organisation rules are ‘rapidly evaporating’.
However, I am surprised that Mr Day thinks “there is certainly room for a UK-wide unionist party”. Such a party does, of course, already exist in the form of UKIP which is surging upwards in opinion polls and undergoing a steady increase in membership in all parts of the UK including Northern Ireland.
UKIP is a real alternative to the failing parties and politics locally.
The days of divisive two-community politics and governance must end.
Categorising people into communities treats people as units and not as individuals. UKIP has a full range of policies which we commend to voters across Northern Ireland. Our immediate priority is to campaign for a successful UK exit from the EU by March 29.
UKIP is a pan-UK unionist party. However, we recognise the fear that those who support Irish freedom have for the fate of the post-Brexit Republic. With all of the major so-called ‘nationalist’ parties on both sides of the border supporting Ireland’s continued
subjugation to the EU we must work together to support the rapidly expanding campaign in the Republic of Ireland to follow the UK out of the European Union.
UKIP Lisburn & Castlereagh
Britain no longer being governed by its people
From the moment more than 17 million British citizens voted to leave the European Union there are those in our society who immediately commenced making arrangements to block this ever happening.
Leading the charge was the media, including some newspaper editors claiming to support Brexit, but with a tongue-in-cheek approach.
As for any British prime minister to solely conduct negotiations with the EU’s negotiating team to me says it all – of how the result of these negotiations would turn out.
Never again will I claim Britain is a democratic society. I thought after the Iraq war where tens of thousands of innocent people, never mind the British service personnel, lost their lives unnecessarily, the people of Britain would never see such ill-judged political administration.
Is the future being governed by gutless politicians who can deny the result of a legally held referendum?
Britain today is no longer being governed by its people.
Kircubbin, Co Down
McNarry’s EU diatribe was a real hotchpotch
David McNarry’s diatribe against the EU (January 8) was a real hotchpotch. He accuses those who wish to remain in the EU as ‘misery remainers’ without stating that the majority of his country, Northern Ireland, voted to remain in it. That majority included the farmers and the business community and they still want to remain not withstanding all the bluster from the DUP and the other unionist parties. He goes on to accuse the Irish government and the EU Commission of being unfriendly and aggressive. Perhaps he could explain what he means by that when what is happening is agreed with Theresa May and the rest of the members of the European Union.
Reading his last paragraph does not put forward his argument about how great this wee country will be when we leave. It does the opposite in fact.
‘…We commenced the year comfortable and at peace with tensions lowered. Employment is rising, investment is holding if not increasing. The elderly are being looked after better and the younger generations are moving on. We are wealthier with the prospect of living longer and the quality of life improving looking good. All we Northern Irelanders need to do now is keep it that way.’
Perhaps the reason for all those good points is because we are members of the EU not outside it.
Newry, Co Down