A quick post to highlight some recent political analyses. The first comes from World by Storm examining the alleged reduction in support for Sinn Féin in the north-east of the country as evidenced in the last series of local elections. While various reasons can be offered up for this, including growing disillusionment at the glacial movement on the process of reunification and the political stagnation that besets the northern regional government, the more likely explanation is simple apathy amongst voters in general. Given the outside possibility that the next Stormont elections will deliver up a First Minister from the Nationalist community and the likelihood of British Unionist leaders appealing to the atavistic in their community for that very reason a re-galvanised SF vote is quite possible. Certainly some assume that this is Sinn Féin’s game plan and what we are witnessing at the moment is a party simply treading water in government while preparing for the upcoming contest. As always with SF it is the long war not the immediate battle that matters.
And where will that leave a seemingly rudderless SDLP?
For a while some observers believed (or hoped) that éirígí was destined to become a significant if minor political party, attractive enough to siphon off the left-wing and more committed Republican vote traditionally held by Sinn Féin, especially in Belfast and Dublin. However in recent years that early promise has yielded relatively little and the party is now more notable as a Republican bogeyman wheeled out every so often by a complicit southern media to frighten the Neo-Ascendancy classes. This report by Joseph Magee describes an organisation more obsessed with navel-gazing and issues outside of Ireland than appealing to voters at home (wherever there is a protest over the Israeli Occupation of Palestine you will find very loud and very visible eirígí activists which is all well and good but in the world of fíorpholaitíocht how does that put votes in ballot boxes in Irish constituencies? Answer, it doesn’t).