SDLP tearing itself apart?

Very interesting breaking story today which Chris has just blogged on the internal strife within the SDLP. I know very little about Eddie Espie but Martin Morgan is always somebody I've had a lot of time for and I always thought that it seemed far too far convenient that his retirement from party politics came so soon after having pubically questioned the SDLP's failed policing policy. I see Mr. Morgan has delievered a damning assessment of the selfishness, laziness and ineptitude which seems to run through the SDLP;

This is one of the fundamental weaknesses of the SDLP. Some of their politicians have a good on the ground creed of working with the people. The unfortunate part of this is that it is not enough. Some high ranking representatives are anything but representative and are more concerned about making money and getting some form of publicity.

Where were some of the senior representatives when times where particularly harsh for people living in the Ardoyne, the Markets and many other districts of the North?

Some of them went on holidays over the 12th of July and some of them lay in their beds, whilst colleagues repeatedly stood on the streets attempting in their own small way to assist the people in their time of need.

If this is true, and I have no reason to doubt Mr. Morgan's word, it is a shocking indictment of the disdain with which the SDLP have treated their electorate. This sort of arrogance should have no place in politics. Politicians are there to represent the people, not to cynically use them for their own grubby gains.

Personally I wouldn't lay the entire blame at Mark Durkan's door. I remember Henry74, a respected commentator on the irish blogosphere, remarking that it wasn't Mark Durkan holding the SDLP back but that the SDLP was holding back Mark Durkan. Durkan seems like a decent fellow but I fear that he is being over-influenced by people within the party who do not have the best interests of their electorate nor Nationalism at heart.

Something else that struck me is that some of the things which SDLP supporters castigate Sinn Féin for is the party's supposed lack of democracy amongst the membership and also its failure to endorse the PSNI thus far. How ironic then that one of the complaints of the disullsioned former members is the SDLP membership at large were not consulted when the decision to join the Policing board was taken. Compare this with the SF position that moves on Policing can only be taken if the party as a whole approves them.

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