This week has seen the Labour Party hold their annual Conference in the UK and as these things go, the highlight is usually the speech of the leader – Mr Ed Miliband. He went on for over an hour about a whole host of things, mostly introducing his ‘friends’ to the Labour Party… but he didn’t mention the deficit. Yup, the single biggest issue in British Politics over the past decade, not a pip.
But that’s not what I want to get into today.
On Tuesday, he said:
“Together we can build a better future.”
“Our country nearly broke up.”
Ed Miliband campaigned (albeit briefly) to save the Union during the recent Scottish Independence referendum. And yet, yesterday the BBC asked him when Labour would be running candidates in Northern Ireland – a region of the UK that has 18 Parliamentary seats up for grabs. The answer was no – not yet.
His reasoning that having candidates in NI would:
“…give us [Labour] an selfish interest in certain outcomes…”
… that is to say that Labour – a party that has just supported the Union in Scotland – doesn’t support the Union in Northern Ireland. In fact, it has a pact with the pro-Irish-unification party the SDLP, which means that Labour is opposed to the Union in Northern Ireland.
It also means that socialist leaning voters in Northern Ireland, who are pro-Union have no obvious party to vote for. The UUP, DUP, UKIP and TUV – main Unionist parties – are hardly working class parties.
Northern Ireland is definitely a different political bubble to Westminster, but one of the major contributing factors to that is the lack of mainstream politics. Labour’s refusal to run candidates – as the Conservatives to in a limited but creditable fashion – is helping to cement the issues in Northern Ireland.