Two different but linked articles popped up on my computer today. They both convey factual information with considerable implications.
The first is in the Irish Independent , written by Fionann Sheahan and is headed “66 per cent believe capital is ‘racing ahead’ in recovery”. it has several pie-charts at the top, indicating the returns of an Irish Independent/Millward Brown poll. The article comments on the the different percentages of those who believe there is a twin-track economic recovery in different parts of the state. While rural towns continue to struggle with empty shops and financial pressure, house prices in Dublin are going up some €5,000 a month.
Pretty striking, eh? But if you look at the pie-charts again you’ll see there is one which that little rascal Fionnan hasn’t referred to at all. It poses the question: ‘If a General Election were to be held tomorrow, to which party or independent candidate would you give your first preference vote?’ The results are: Independents/Other: 27%; Labour 5%; Greens: 2%; Fine Gael: 20%; Fianna Fail: 20%; Sinn Féin : 26%.
Now I wouldn’t for a moment say that the two-track recovery (if it’s happening, and if it isn’t multi-track rather than two-track) isn’t important. People need a house, a job, bread on the table, equality. So it’s important that figures such as this poll offers are looked at and commented on. What is significant/verging on hilarious is that Sinn Féin is the most popular party in the state by a full 6% and that finding is ignored by Fionnan. Yes, yes, Virginia, the only poll that really counts is the one on election day. But since the Indo/Millward Brown thought the information worth gathering, you’d assume they thought it worth commenting on in an article like this. Why wasn’t it? Um, pass.
The second article is from The Mid-Ulster Mail and is headed ‘Sinn Fein urge Orange Order to enter talks over Dungiven parade’. It reports that the Sinn Féin councillor Sean McGlinchey has appealed to the Orange order to enter into dialogue regarding a planned Orange Order march through the 99% nationalist village. Apparently in recent years locals have facilitated a limited march through the village; this year it looks as though the Orange Order plans enlarged numbers without local consultation.
Both these articles take the breath away. The Indo/MB poll showing Sinn Féin by far the most popular party in the south could be seen as predictable after their showing in the local and European elections; but keep in mind that a couple of decades ago Sinn Féin were showing support in the south by around 2% of the population. That the party should be, if we go by this poll, the most popular party in the south and at the same time the most popular nationalist party in the North tells anyone who is prepared to look that major changes in the political life of this island are growing by the week. Unionist parties in the North would serve their constituents best by facing up to these figures and coming to an accommodation with their nationalist neighbours north and south, don’t you think?
But judging by The Mid-Ulster Mail, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. What possible interpretation could be put on the plans of the Orange Order to march through 99% nationalist Dungiven, with or without local agreement? I’m sure you have your own answer to that. Mine is perhaps caught best by two terms: coat-trailing and ostrich-action. I’d suggest the Orange Order needs to get out more. But then they do that already, don’t they?
Here are the links (I hope) to the two articles: