It is of course entirely right and proper that John Hume is honoured in Derry today.
But the Twittersphere is unusually quiet about it all.
I make no apology for saying that John Hume is just about the only Statesman to emerge from the last half century.
Nor do I make any apology for saying that I voted Sinn Fein …occasionally on the principle that they were acting in the interests of me and mine.
Let me be clear. On occasions that I have voted SDLP, I have voted SF as a #2 choice if that choice was available. On occasions, when I voted SF, I have voted SDLP as a second preference.
No other Party can claim to represent my principles or interests as an Irish citizen.
Yet it is almost impossible to LIKE Sinn Fein people.
I have a lot of time for Niall O’Donnghaile, a very decent guy who has been unfailingly pleasant to me on the occasions we have met.
And of course, there are a few Belfast-based SF people, who I knew in very different times…playing football in the Falls, Woodvale, Botanic, Ormeau Parks. I will always regard them as friends.
Yet they have produced no Statesmen. Nobody has risen above narrow self-interest.
Gerry Adams, ….I cant bring myself to LIKE him.
For all their bluster…and I will still be putting a #2 for them on the ballot paper, today’s events in Derry put Sinn Fein in the “halfpenny place”.
And while this might appear that so many years after his retirement, John Hume is still the greatest asset the SDLP have…more properly it means that his LEGACY is the greatest asset the SDLP have.
Of course, it would be wrong to think that John Hume is universally liked.
He is not.
Sinn Fein despise him. If they ever have to pay him tribute, it will be thru gritted teeth.
Hence…they ignore today’s Tribute in Derry.
The Alliance Party hate John Hume. He effectively spiked the guns of LetsGetAlongerism and Liberal Unionists four decades ago.
And any unionist commentator who is still hankering after the days when the “Province” (sic) should have listened to Terence O’Neill will choose not to admit Humes greatness.
Nor will any LetsGetAlongerist message board, lining up to show nationalism in a negative way (twenty plus OTR threads on one such board) be anything other than grudging or nuanced.
It seems right that this was a Good Day for SDLP.
It has actually been a Good Week.
I’m surprised nobody commented on this story. Giving the noble peace prize jointly devalued it. Part of the SDLP’S problem is he was too big a figure to live up to but maybe it’s more that folk don’t need as much help from politicians. I can remember the hype around friut of the loom and all the stories of him helping people get housing. The joint noble meant these stories weren’t retold as much as they should have been.