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From: Irish Political Review
Date: June, 2017
By: Editorial

A Pointless Election

A Pointless Election
Every British General Election points up the fact that the Northern Ireland variant of the British state exists only for the purpose of mischief making. The Election is held in Northern Ireland, as in all other regions of the UK, but the voters in Northern Ireland can play no part in deciding who wins it.

Scotland and Wales have devolved Governments just as the Six Counties has. Electors in those regions have the choice of voting in the party conflict to determine whether the Government of the state is to be Labour or Tory, or of voting for a party whose object is to bring about a national secession from the United Kingdom state.
Welsh voters choose between Tories, Labour and Plaid Cymru, and the Scots between Tory, Labour and SNP. Voters in Northern Ireland choose between three small Six County parties and an All-Ireland national party. They can play no part in deciding whether it is the Tories or the Socialists who govern the state, because these parties do not contest, and have never contested, seats in the Northern Ireland region of the state. (In recent years there has been a small Tory showing in elections, but it is a belated and meaningless gesture—more to do with unionist politics than governing the state.)

The normal object of a democratic political party is to govern a state. Where that object is missing, political normality cannot develop.
Normality is a function of system. The normal democratic system operates through the conflict of parties which aim to govern the state, and that produces what is generally considered to be political normality.
The political system established in the Six Counties 95 years ago, as the means of enacting Partition, was cut off at birth from the democratic political system of the state, and therefore in its functioning it produces its own unique normality.
The "sectarian" jibe that is thrown at Northern Ireland from Dublin and London has no foundation. The Northern political division is not an aberration. It is the necessary product of the abnormal system imposed by Westminster in 1921, and supported by Dublin in recent times.

Three of the four Six Counties parties go and sit in Westminster, with their handful of members—as onlookers. In a rare appearance on the 'national' (i.e., state) electoral stage (BBC''s Newsnight) on May 17th, those three criticised the fourth, Sinn Fein, for refusing to accompany them to the Westminster back-benches (taking the Oath of Loyalty to the British state on the way) as observers of the marvel of Parliamentary Government.
The Sinn Feiner asked them what difference their presence on the Westminster back-benches had ever made to the doings of Westminster. They were at a loss for an answer.

The SDLP might have pointed to the great difference it made to the conduct of the state in 1979. It held the balance of power—a very rare thing for a very small party in an Assembly of 650. It was keeping Callaghan's Labour Government in Office. But they abstained on a vote of confidence, bringing down the Government and bringing forward the Election which Margaret Thatcher won.
But the SDLP does not now care to remember the difference that it did make.

The Newsnight discussion of the Northern Ireland parties had nothing to do with state affairs. It centred on devolved affairs. SDLP, UUP and DUP declared themselves eager to have Stormont up and going again and complained that Sinn Fein was preventing it.
The interviewer did not remind the SDLP and UUP that they had broken with the devolved system, as established under the 1998 Agreement, and had gone into opposition to it. She had probably forgotten it—if this British-based broadcaster had ever known it—and who could blame her?
The SDLP was getting ready to condemn Sinn Fein for being in the pocket of the DUP if it did not insist on holding Arlene Foster to account over the Renewable Energy scheme and make it a condition that she stand aside while the matter was investigated.

Is the SDLP now willing to return to the consensual Agreement system and sort out the Arlene Foster matter in the spirit of it?

That is not a matter for the state Election—though, in the absence of the state parties from the Six County region of the state of the state Election, it must remain the irrelevant issue.

Sinn Fein is the nearest thing to a normal party in the Six County Election. It is the only Party with the normal aim of governing the state. It functions as a normal party in the Republic. And in the North it shares the normality of the SNP, having the object of withdrawing the region from the UK state and taking part in governing it in another state.
If the SDLP ever held that object in earnest, it gave it up a long time ago, and now only hopes to hold onto a few seats, with Unionist votes, as an anti-Sinn Fein party.

A Pointless Election. Editorial
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