Maskey win and North-South meeting – predictable outcomes

Two events: one from yesterday, the other to come later today. Neither is of particular significance. 

Yesterday Paul  Maskey was elected in West Belfast, polling, what was it, just over 70% of the vote. Last time out, Gerry Adams collected just over 71% of the vote. Maskey’s next rival, the SDLP ‘s Alex Attwood, came trailing several thousands of votes behind him, as he had done behind Gerry Adams. No change again.  Two not-very-startling conclusions to be drawn:  West Belfast is an impregnable Sinn Féin stronghold, no matter who the candidate is;  and Sinn Féin will continue to keep its focus firmly on representation in Ireland, north and south, while keeping Westminster ticking over.  Some say it’s only a question of time before Sinn Féin take their seats in Westminster, just as they did in the Assembly and the Dail.  They couldn’t be wronger.

Today’s event is the meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council,  hosted by that fiery republican, Enda Kenny. Has North-South linkage been a limp organ over the past thirteen years?  Does Sarah Palin want her photograph taken with Maggie Thatcher?  Granted,  Enda Kenny has the words right: “We believe that there are many practical and innovative ways in which North/South co-operation can help to aid economic recovery and to bring about better value for money and improved public services for everyone on the island of Ireland”.  But if you think he’s planning to turn any of those words into action, you’re suffering from sunstroke or rain-rust or both.

The North/South bodies  have so far produced nothing worth a damn, won’t today and maybe never will, for two good reasons:  unionism and southern ‘nationalism’.  The DUP wants every cross-border initiative to fail because every successful one is a testimony to the failure of partition. And Fine Gael/Labour don’t want any successful initiatives for the same reason. Words – no problem with the words. But the last thing they want is any action that might seriously shake the partition apple-cart,  let alone upset it.  That’s why today’s meeting will produce nothing – repeat NOTHING – of practical importance.

4 Responses to Maskey win and North-South meeting – predictable outcomes

  1. Kilsally June 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    so will you be joining the DUP in calling for them to be scaled back and the money saved spent on things like the health service?

  2. Jude Collins June 10, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Uh-uh, Kilsally. If I were ‘calling’ for anything – what does that mean, btw – it’d be for people to quit foot-dragging, abide by the spirit of the GFA and make the cross-border bodies work for the benefit of all the people of Ireland, north and south. But too many parties, as I say, N and S, would rather go through the motions. There’s a word for that – now what is it – begins with a h…

  3. Anonymous June 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    Well if that is the state of the body politic we are in poor shape…
    SF needs to get physical and start flexing it’s muscles in the cross border bodies…
    Having done the heavy lifting it has become a bit flabby of late to the extent that it was recently described in the ‘VO’ as a ‘Bord Failte version’ of it’s former self…
    It needs to use the momentum of North and South elections to inject some high performance fuel into these jaded old bangers…get it’s hands on the power steering and use whatever influence it can to repay those voters who have steadfastly stood by them…
    Demographics North and political momentum South of the border will provide the tectonic shift necessary to see SF to capitalise on voter disenchantment by the Enda ‘damp squids’* term of office…and hopefully the inaugural Presidency of a re-united Ireland…well and truly upsetting the ‘apple tart’*…
    That’s quite enough mixed metaphors for one comment…
    *acknowledgements to rattus rattus hibernicus anorakus…(couture de cute hoor)…

  4. Anonymous June 11, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    ‘Il buono Il bruto Il Cattivo’…