Friday, 26 February 2010

SDLP trying to juggle too much....

So it looks like the SDLP's Margaret Ritchie will replace Eddie McGrady on the ballot paper for the upcoming Westminster election in south Down.

Already some speculation is taking place on other blogs about the somewhat choreographed nature of this announcement, following on from Ritchie's appointment as 'leader' of the SDLP.

What's interesting for me in all of this is that just a few short weeks ago the Minister for Social Development told the SDLP conference in Newcastle that she wanted to be First Minister. (I made the point at the time, given how 'credible' she tells us the SDLP are on Irish Unity why her ambitions ended at First Minister, why not Taoiseach? Why not Uachtarán?)

It seems as with most SDLP politicians, Margaret Ritchie feels she can in some strange way serve the people of South Down, as well as advance her so called 'credible' strategy for Irish unity from the back bench's of the British Parliament in London.

In saying all this, there is nothing to suggest she'll even see the green leather seats she clearly craves, given the other candidate of note on the ballot paper, in form of Education Minister Caitríona Ruane. Despite being in what is generally considered the SDLP's 'heartland' there is a strong, youthful and effective Sinn Féin activist base around Caitríona; the last European election proved that.

So like Mark Durkan and Gerry Fitt before her, this leader of the SDLP seems destined to want a place in the British House of Commons.

This all from the party who's conference slogan was 'Leadership for Ireland's Future' (worth remembering that the slogan from last years Sinn Féin Ard Fheis was 'Aisling do thodhchaí na hÉireann - A vision for Ireland's Future' - Can the SDLP not see anything??!!!) and a party whose last leader stood aside because he didn't feel he could lead that same party from Westminster, rather it needed a leader based in the Assembly in the north.

It's getting confusing, I know.

But amongst the SDLP mire, Caitríona Ruane will carry the banner for Sinn Féin - go néirí leat Caitríona!!

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