>> 31 Aug 2004


Anybody here ever watch "The Royle Family" - the superb Caroline Ahern award written comedy? There's a wonderful dopy character in it called Dave..played by Craig Cash - and he always reminds me of SDLP Leader Mark Durkan.

Mark (Dave) has been generously provided with a platform on the BBC this morning (where else) to pontificate about the imminent September talks on the N.I. political process. His great thought for the day is that Government must not focus on the "extremists" in the process. By "extremists" he means the IRA's political proxies on the one hand, and the Democratic Unionist Party on the other. In Mark's exotic imagination, it is valid to equate quasi-terrorists with democrats in order that he and his wretched party of has-beens can posture as respectable fair-minded moderates! Tree-mendus standards of hypocrisy, Mark!

The decline of the SDLP is directly linked to its inablity to sufficiently differentiate itself from Sinn Fein/IRA. By trying to outgreen the brownshirts, Durkan does his Party no favours. By trying to characterise the largest unionist Party as "extreme" all he does is highlight his own detachment from reality and irrelevance from the political process.


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