It is clear now more than ever that the pacts are out in the upcoming election. The UUP is not fielding a candidate in North Belfast in the hope of securing a Unionist (DUP) MP in the very tight seat contested with Sinn Fein. However, the SDLP has not put up a candidate in North Belfast which then favours Sinn Fein. The DUP seem to be allowing the UUP to try and win Tyrone and they are not putting a candidate forward there to help this cause. The SDLP and Sinn Fein have made the unprecedented decision not to field three candidates in various constituencies. Power is certainly being tactically carved up.
The short answer is YES! There are a lot of areas that are very applicable to the exams:
Recent high profile talks to come to some form of North South political alliance with the SDLP and Fianna Fail in the Republic of Ireland, have brought with them considerable difficulty and threatened further cracks in an already fragile edifice of what has appeared to be a party in terminal decline. The links between the once mainstream and dominant voice of nationalism in the north - the SDLP and the Republic of Ireland's most successful political party have been ongoing for years rather than months. It has been given added impetus by the impending threat of Brexit.
However, despite being passed by a comfortable majority by its membership it has led to open and public divisions in the party with Claire Hanna, standing down from her role as Brexit spokesperson in protest at the move. Pay very close attention to this story as it will be a vital component to any essay or question on the SDLP or northern nationalism.
The SDLP and Fianna Fail have announced a Joint policy agenda which looks to be a tentative step towards a much anticipated link up. The SDLP have always coveted Sinn Fein's claim to be the largest party in Ireland. They have always wanted to claim those all Ireland links which resonate with nationalist voters. Fianna Fail on the other hand are one of the most successful political parties in western Europe and they perhaps sense the danger Sinn Fein poses. They also sense the havoc brexit could pose and perhaps some level of opportunity for links with the north.
This is ESSENTIAL understanding for your Northern Ireland Politics course and esepcially with regards to the parties.
This is a brilliant Irish Times Article from Northern Ireland Newsletter journalist Sam McBride - someone who knows the N.I Executive and its workings very well.
It explains the deep issues with the NI Executive and how the differences and the system itself has led to years of problems which don't look to be sorted any time soon
Mr John Wishart -