Monday, May 10, 2010


A jubilant Michelle celebrates

So the elections are over. All the votes are counted. At the time of writing a government is still to be formed in Britain and here in the north of Ireland people are waiting to see who will be the next tenant in Downing Street. For our sins voters here are, at this time, part of the same electoral system so there is some interest at popular level about who will get the top job. This blog has no preference either way. Even benign British Prime Ministers have little real working knowledge of Ireland. They depend a lot on their system of ‘permanent government’ to guide them. So the challenge for Irish democrats is to educate, educate, educate.

Tony Blair, at least in his first term, was the exception to this. He knew a wee bit about us. But all British PMs have a duty to uphold the union. Therein lies the undemocratic reality of British rule in Ireland. The Union.

Even if a British Prime Minister is personally indifferent on this issue he or she (and in this case it will certainly be a he) is obliged to be a unionist. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement he is also obliged to legislate for a united Ireland when the people in Ireland decide that’s what we want. So there is a constitutional fluidity on this matter which did not exist heretofore.

This matches the beginning of political fluidity on other matters which has emerged in the election results here. The relatively low turnout – an average of 57.6 percent, down 7.8 percent since the last election – is evidence that there is a disconnect between the electorate here and Westminster. This has been aggravated by the revelations of the MPs expenses scandals which dogged the last parliamentary term. With our own more accountable administration here voters are less interested in Westminster matters.

And the feeling is mutual. In the very well publicised leaders debates on television neither Labour, the Lib Dems or the Tories mentioned the north of Ireland. Not once. When David Cameron in an interview did get round to us it was to signal that there was too much dependency on the public sector here. Not unreasonably that was interpreted as code for cuts in public spending if the Tories won the election.

Cue an abrupt exit stage left for Cameron’s partners in the Ulster Conservatives and Unionist New Force as the voters had their say. They got no one elected. This blog and others is waiting to hear what Reg Empey has to say on all this.

Jim Allister, hard line former DUP MEP and anti everything, also got the heave ho! No one elected. The DUP did well but their success was drowned in the shock news of the loss of Peter Robinson’s seat.

The SDLP held on to their 3 seats with the help in South Belfast of Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey and unionist tactical voting in South Down and Derry. Sinn Féin emerged again as the largest party over all and the only main party to increase our share of the vote. Well done and thanks to everyone who worked and voted for us.

But the news of the election for Irish republicans was the nail biting finish in Fermanagh-South Tyrone. Despite a pact by all shades of unionism including the Orange Order and serious vote splitting by the SDLP, Michelle Gildernew retained her seat. By 4 votes.

The Winning Team

I am glad to say that I was there for the final recount. What joy. It was brilliant. The people of that proud constituency saw off the Tories. They saw the sense in Sinn Féin’s position and voted accordingly. And as elsewhere a significant number of people from a unionist background either stayed at home or voted for Michelle. Bobby Sands would appreciate that. Four? Four is my favourite number.

Michelle and the kids - including me


Lily said...

Congratulations from germany...

percy said...

I'm picking up on a lot of english blogs:
Home Rule for England ...

priceless Gerry :)

now they know what it feels like to want their own country back..

Next election in UK will be on the Union itself..
so Irish Unity by 2016 is almost a certainty now

SF don't have to do anything, except turn up at Stormont
keep the show on the road, and wag their tails as the English demand Home Rule
the struggle has been won

how about a catchy slogan to the Unionists

Dail or Dole

Ardoyne Republican said...

Congratulations on U and UR Party recent vote.

Even though, most media outlets including the many political blogs are posting threads concerning last week's election.

The situation in Maghaberry Gaol for Republican Prisoners is becoming much more brutal and as the Leader of a major Political Movement, I urge U to try and resolve this whole issue?

Linda Coleman said...

Wow. Four votes. Remember that story for the next time you hear someone claim their vote doesn't count! Congratulations to Michelle, and to you, Gerry, for increasing your percentage in West Belfast.

Arthur Micheal Murphy said...

well done in the elections but watch your back if the tories get in at the moment it looks like they may

Timothy Dougherty said...

Yes Gerry, a Congratulation is in order, a great job by you and Sinn Féin. Not to say West Belfast is not to be lost, you have emerged again like Sinn Féin itself, with the largest over all increase of your share of the vote. This is a Victory for a all Ireland. The British have there problems ,as George Bernard Shaw said “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.” Inconclusive elections from London and real Conclusive election in North Ireland for Sinn Féin. A wonderful photo of your family and my best to them, and good health to all.
Rath Dé ort

Anonymous said...

The new British Prime Minister will be David Cameron.

Gordon Brown has just announced that he has resigned.

Micheal said...

Yes Fermanagh and South Tyrone was a brilliant result and a joyous occasion for all republicans. I still cheer with spontanaity when I watch the video of the declaration. Winning is a great thing.

The threadbare reality of the Westminster connection is beginning to show through now and with not one UCUNF candidate returned, I don't think the case has ever been stronger for more unity and cooperation between all of the political parties in the North.

That, I think, will show a renewed commitment to the GFA and subsequent agreements.

Also I would echo Ardoyne Republican and ask you to push for Human Rights in Maghaberry prison and demand an end to the torture and harrasment of republican inmates there, and their family's.

Again, well done on another powerful election performance that it indicates the popularity and strength of Sinn Fein and reflects the true Irish spirit of radical revolutionary intent towards full independence.

Go raimh mile maith agat aris, agus Dia Linn go leir,


Tibu said...

Congratulations from Catalan Countries!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

aontaím le Ardoyne Republican comhghairdeas ach chomimhead na priosiúin

Ardoyne Republican said...

Gerry I and many other former POWs' appreciate UR Party delegation visiting Maghaberry last week.

Your help will not be forgotten, GRMA