‘Mark Durkan & The SDLP: The Endgame Election’ by Donal Lavery

There are few politicians on this island who are duller, in a long variety of political categories, than Mark Durkan and his nephew, Mark H. Durkan. They exhibit a certain bleak and strengthless persona which renders them utterly incapable of rising to any political occasion – national or local. In any other political context, it’s questionable whether they would even have a parliamentary mandate given their noticeable lack of charisma or wisdom on all the big issues. Listening to them speak would send you to sleep; having the oratory impact of Valium mixed with Jameson. For what, if anything, do they stand for?

There’s no doubt that Durkan Senior, the Westminster MP and son of a Catholic RUC Constable, will be sweating for his political life after studying the Assembly election results for Foyle. The timing of his retirement from politics may come sooner rather than later now that Theresa May will chance her arm with an early election. For let’s be clear about something – Mark Durkan and his party offer no solutions or innovative ideas to the problems we face, whether it’s at a local level in Foyle or at an all-Ireland level. He takes his seat in the British Parliament and validates, through all his efforts and vanity, the lasting point that the Irish are unable to sway British parliamentary opinion towards their cause; all the while swearing an oath to a Monarch the Irish people do not elect and cannot remove.

Bernadette Devlin, in her maiden speech, spoke of how ‘no Englishman has ever truly understood the struggles of the Irish people’. And in the recent Brexit debate on triggering Article 50, Mark Durkan articulated no such sentiments to counter that realisation. He failed, just like his failure at party leadership, to motivate any considerable number of people towards his point of view within the Westminster Village. Like John Redmond before him, he knows that a British Parliament will represent the interests of British MP’s and sections of the British people. That’s the established order and a few parliamentarians from the North will never alter that reality. The only time his party ever made a difference at Westminster was when they voted to bring down the Callaghan government and usher in Margaret Thatcher!

For someone with such a dismal record, (the man who wanted to join the euro and embrace the Lisbon austerity Treaty) it is a wonder why the media even bother to give him interview time when he is so at odds with the public mood. But the point of this article is to press the need to rid the electorate in Foyle of this man and all his dullness and inabilities once and for all. When he glances at the republican share of first preference votes, he knows deep down he’ll be requesting his P45 inevitably soon. There’s a well known MLA there in Raymond McCartney, who knows a lot more about collective struggle than Mr. Durkan. And there’s an articulate young female republican candidate in Elisha McCallion, either of whom are far more representative of the working class demographics and needs which Foyle carries than this quintessential Redmondite. Unlike him and his lavish London lifestyle, they aren’t living off the largesse of British taxpayers.

Of course, with Durkan’s demise there will follow Colum Eastwood’s political obituary also. For he is the failed leader on who’s watch his party has so deteriorated that in their Foyle heartland they are going to lose the support-base and seat of John Hume. He is the leader who knifed Dr. McDonnell in the back politically, only to go on to preside over another hopeless performance at the ballot box by the SDLP, wiped out in West Belfast forever more. Mr. Eastwood is the leader who is embarrassingly travelling to Brussels to meet other Social Democratic politicians when his party don’t even have a mandate or voice within the European Parliament itself, or a single seat in Dáil Éireann. Who is going to listen to him? What clout does he carry in any negotiations? Does he seriously think a background photo with Jeremy Corbyn affords him left-wing credentials? Or a snapshot with Bill Clinton makes him relevant? The man and his colleagues, who voted for a Unionist party which has oppressed his electorate for decades, are a joke confined to the electoral wilderness.

What we are witnessing across the island of Ireland is a  political revival and awakening of the republican phoenix within the masses. A national consciousness and confidence reborn with the coming tide of risen people; People who have had enough of the gloom and obsoletism of an SDLP Winter and are preparing for the blossoms and adventure of a Republican Spring. Patriots are standing up to be counted, determined to shed a failed political class and see this country prosper once again. Indeed, we are finishing the pages of ‘Bleak House’ and commencing the chapters of ‘Great Expectations’.

For a democratic awakening has erupted which may well restructure the very nature of this nation to the core, in a ballot box revolution. When the General Election is called, the objective must be another chip in the Union with Britain and the final nail in the ailing coffin of the Social Democratic and Labour Party; Undoubtedly, the greatest and most assertive legacy which we can obtain for Martin McGuinness is to rid his home-town of the indigenous class that sit within the pro-Brit Parliament which continues to occupy it. Mr Durkan, the time has come for you to go!


30 Responses to ‘Mark Durkan & The SDLP: The Endgame Election’ by Donal Lavery

  1. fiosrach April 19, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    That post is uncomfortably similar to making fun of your Granny’s wooden leg. All true but in poor taste.

  2. Liam April 19, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    Couldn’t agree more Jude. I always thought found the bottom of the barrel and scared when they gave us Durkan. I was wrong however as they then produced his nephew Mark H and Eastwood

  3. michael c April 19, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    I half heard Mark on radio ulster this morning.I was watching paint dry at the time to lift the boredom but I got the impression that he was less scathing about a pact than Margaret Ritchie.

  4. Tony April 19, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

    As in past Westminster elections in foyle unionists votes will again elect sdlp.
    The only way to counteract that is to get the biggest republican vote ever to go to the polling stations.

  5. Colmán April 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    When you attack someone personally you have already lost. This type of gloating is really off-putting to potential voters and Sinn Féin ought to reel people like you in. To achieve a United Ireland we need a broad base and that includes people who don’t agree with Sinn Féin. I personally wouldn’t vote for the SDLP in a West Minister election since I don’t believe it is in Ireland’s best interests to have our representives sitting in London instead of Ireland. But it is rather ironic that after lambasting Mark Durkan for taking a seat in West Minister you go on to quote Bernadette Devlin who did the exact same thing. Instead of using your platform to attack the SDLP and PBP you should use it to extol the values of the movement for Irish Unity.

    • Antain April 20, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

      Hear hear.

  6. TheHist April 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    Donal – I read the first paragraph and stopped. It just seems to be “ad hominem” roundabouts with many of your articles. If it’s not PBP, anti GFA Republicans, it’s the SDLP. I agree with Colman – this is off putting to many SF voters and serves no purpose other than to throw stones in the hope they hit someone and injure them.

    • Argenta April 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

      The Hist
      I would tend to agree with your opinion above.It seems to be a case of “let slip the dogs of war” and Donal seems to be one of Jude’s favourite “attack dogs”.His blogs always bring an element of “man playing” and on this occasion it’s the S D L P in the firing line.Presume we’ll see a lot more of this before the 8th June!

      • Colmán April 19, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

        In fairness Argenta, I don’t think Jude is responsible for what others write on his website as he has stated here: http://www.judecollins.com/about/. I am merely taking issue with Donal’s negative campaigning.

  7. ANOTHER JUDE April 20, 2017 at 4:19 am #

    Great piece Donal, please God it comes true.

  8. Emmet April 20, 2017 at 9:04 am #

    I have no love for the SDLP but this article makes me feel sorry for them. I think republicans should not attack them the same way their supporters have attacked SF. We should realise that all the vicious attacks coming from the SDLP recently is what you expect from someone who is bitter about their impending death. Mark (and maybe his family) made a career out of politics and will play the game until the end. At which point he will find another career to put his energies into. We need to concentrate on how to build an Ireland for everyone, winning elections will be easier (comparatively speaking) than the big job at hand. It is an eloquent article though and very well written. A fine piece of literature.

  9. Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 10:20 am #

    I remember your granda Donal looking for good places to plant bombs and when told all he was doing was inconveniencing ordinary working people responded that they were all Protestants anyway. Well, not exactly your granda but someone from that generation that thought bombing a million Protestants into a UI was a good idea. Others built foundations that you and I now enjoy so I would curb those, no doubt inherited, talents for demolition

    • Emmet April 20, 2017 at 11:06 am #

      I would have said ‘sorry for the inconvenience, I ‘ll go and ask the victim’s of state sanctioned discrimination and murder to just settle down, accept their place and wait for some crumbs from the table, sure maybe eventually we will make it into the second class category with the middle class Catholics’

      I think you’ll find the people who were carrying out the violence got the foundations we currently have.

      • Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 11:55 am #

        You wouldn’t have heard their pleas above the bombs and gunfire Emmet.

        • Emmet April 20, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

          I’m sure the British soldiers would have stopped for a few minutes while I got the message out.

      • Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

        Lack of foresight all round then, or lack of wit.

        • Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

          No, just bloody minded indifference to the people

    • Donal Lavery April 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

      I would rephrase your previous comment if you would seek to avoid libel, your remarks are deplorable.

      • Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

        I don’t know what you’re talking about

        • Donal Lavery April 20, 2017 at 10:30 pm #

          The deplorable and untrue comments you made about a relative of mine. I will be printing off your remarks and we’ll see what happens.

          • Dominic Hendron April 20, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

            You misunderstand me but do what you want.

        • Emmet April 21, 2017 at 8:19 am #

          I think an apology or an explanation might be reasonable here Dominic?

          • Dominic Hendron April 21, 2017 at 8:42 am #

            I think Donal has overacted. I wasn’t using the word “granda” in a familial sense and I thought that was clear from the post. I was making a much wider point in as strong a vein as possible.

          • Emmet April 21, 2017 at 11:10 am #

            No Dominic, that isn’t clear. It seems you were being rude and distasteful. You can’t just write things and say ‘I didn’t mean that’ or ‘don’t take me seriously’. Now, I would be very upset if someone was slandering my granda (most people would). Even if you are just trying to get a dig at someone to insult them this is still distasteful. Do the right thing.

          • Dominic Hendron April 21, 2017 at 11:21 am #

            If Donal is offended by what I wrote then I unreservedly apologise

    • Wolfe tone April 21, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

      “I remember your granda Donal looking for good places to plant bombs and when told all he was doing was inconveniencing ordinary working people responded that they were all Protestants anyway. Well, not exactly your granda but someone from that generation that thought bombing a million Protestants into a UI was a good idea. Others built foundations that you and I now enjoy so I would curb those, no doubt inherited, talents for demolition”

      I remember your granda Dominic, who happened to be a priest and headmaster, one day beckoning his students to a window in a classroom that looked out onto another, well, a lesser school, playground across the road. “Let them do the fighting lads and we will do the ruling” were his words. I.e those wee poorer taigs will do the fighting for us and ‘we’ respectable taigs will benefit with all the cushy jobs that will be available soon after. Pretty sectarian wouldn’t you say? No matter he probably went to confession and cleansed himself of his bad thoughts and continued on pretending to be a ‘man of peace’ and all that.

      Plenty of people played their part in fomenting unrest in this part of the world; some just hid it very well under the cloak of ‘respectability’.

      • Dominic Hendron April 21, 2017 at 1:53 pm #

        Some tried harder than others WT, by the way I drive a Taxi. Real cushy. As for confession, the door was open to everyone who wanted to go in.

        • Wolfe tone April 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

          As usual Dominic you miss the point. Its almost childlike how you seem to miss the point though. Just saying.

          • Dominic Hendron April 21, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

            : )

  10. boondock April 21, 2017 at 8:39 am #

    Mark Durkan being one of the few politicians here who can actually string a sentence together. Constructive criticism is fine but this who will we have a go at next is becoming tiresome. Why even mention the RUC father not exactly relevant. I have said it before any hope of a UI will need all shades of nationalism backing it, SF cant do it alone.