The UK media like to promote the cliché that, when it comes to the history of the Troubles in Ireland, the UK Government has been an ‘honest broker’, rather than a player with skin in the game.
This plays better to an unconscious bias in the English mindset that they are somehow superior to the squabbling Irish, and that the UK Government is forever doing its best to referee the disagreeable brutes ‘over there’.
Sir Keir Starmer MP, Labour Party Leader and Louise Haigh MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, repeated the cliché of ‘the honest broker’ when they visited Northern Ireland recently. They made no attempt to communicate with Labour Party members here. Nor did they address the fact that it is long past time when the Labour Party should be properly organised and standing candidates for election in Northern Ireland.
People who join the Labour Party in Northern Ireland see it as the way to identify and express an anti-sectarian and democratic socialist point of view, and to signal hostility to the politics of communal sectarianism.
However, what members find when they join, is that the Labour Party is run by a hierarchy that claims to be self-appointed ‘honest brokers’ who pledge ‘rigorously impartiality’ towards the sectarian head-count parties of orange and green in Northern Ireland.
Labour Party members in Northern Ireland do not want ‘impartiality’ shown towards the toxic politics of communal sectarianism. We want to see an end to their divisive politics.
While the Labour Party hierarchy is committed to remaining neutral in any border referendum – a position strongly held by Labour Party members in Northern Ireland, it should be noted – the idea of ‘rigorous impartiality’ towards the sectarian headcount parties is undermined by the designation of the nationalist SDLP as ‘UK Labour’s sister party’, an embarrassment exaggerated further by the SDLP’s ongoing partnership with Fianna Fail.
A fundamental aim of democratic socialists in any country is to unite people through Labour values and politics. The Labour Party should be planning to do so in Northern Ireland before the historical cycle brings us back once more to political violence.
In suppressing Labour candidates here on the grounds that standing candidates would undermine the Labour Party’s ‘honest broker’ role, the Labour Party is drawing on an unconscious bias which results in the party discriminating against the Northern Irish people by denying them electoral representation.
Unfortunately, the Labour leadership refuses see the institutional racism inherent in their position of aspiring to govern us while refusing to seek a democratic mandate from the people who live here.
Contacts: Dugald McCullough 07761732359
Boyd Black 07715045985