Is this goodbye?

14 12 2008

Staff at Bobballs were interested in Margaret Ritchie’s Inside Politics performance. She warned people not to take her for granted because the SDLP could leave the Executive.

We suspect she also took herself by surprise as well. Her other messages up to that point had been that:

  • People expect her to do her job on behalf of Northern Ireland
  • No one will prevent her from delivering for the people of Northern Ireland
  • The SDLP are committed to do a job for the social deprived, that’s why they took DSD.

Which doesn’t sit well alongside this:

But if there comes a time when executive colleagues and others deliberately stop me from delivering, then that will give my party an opportunity, and myself, to consider our role in government, but at this particular point we haven’t reached that point – we’re still in government.

Despite the slightly conflicted message, the impact is considerable. Why? Because Margaret has the rarest, most precious of political talents…. being utterly credible and convincing.

As a communicator Ritchie has the advantage of appearing to be earnest and committed and marvellously unaffected by mundane politicking. So when she says ‘I want to deliver a £200 credit for people in fuel poverty’, we believe her. And when she says the SDLP may consider departing the Executive, we believe her.

The UUP (Danny Kennedy in particular) seem infected with a huge dose of seasonal humbug. They’re angrier and more aggressive these days for some reason, but we seriously doubt the UUP would ever leave the Executive.

Cameron is trying to move mainland Tories from opposition to government – we can’t see that he’d appreciate NI Tories (Ulster Unionists) moving from government to opposition. We suspect the SDLP would be on their own.

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