Alternative Ulster, Alternative Europe
With both Ian Paisley and John Hume surrendering
their European seats the outcome of the Euro elections was far more
difficult to call than in previous elections. The four “mainstream
parties” Sinn Fein, the SDLP on the nationalist side, the Ulster
Unionists and the DUP on the unionist, were fighting for supremacy,
first within their “own communities” and then to establish which
community is dominant by taking two of the provinces three seats.
This time there was an alternative. Posters of
the Socialist Environmental Alliance (SEA) could be seen tied to
lampposts all over the six counties. The (SEA) stood on a platform
“that puts people and the planet before profit and war”. It challenged
the view that international issues have nothing to do with politics in
the north of Ireland – for the SEA Iraq is the biggest issue though not
the only one.
In brief the SEA manifesto calls for:
a Europe based on solidarity and
US led forces out of Iraq
for workers rights and opposition to
for the free movement of people and opposition to
all forms of discrimination
replacing the ugliness of capitalism with a
decent, sane and socialist world.
Standing for the SEA in last November’s assembly
elections Eamonn McCann achieved almost 3000 votes ( 5.5% of the first
preference) in his home constituency of Foyle (Derry). This was the
first time the SEA had stood in a province wide election, and given the
almost total exclusion of any candidates other than the “big four” from
television coverage in NI, the 9,172 votes (1.67%) achieved by Eamonn
McCann was a creditable result.
However, the big winner in this election was Sinn
Fein. Their candidate Barbara De Brun won 144, 541 votes (26.3%) of
the total, second behind the DUP, and was elected on the first count.
Sinn Fein for the first time has a Euro MEP, and is now clearly the
dominant political force within the “nationalist community”.
Visit the SEA website
:Eamonn McCann has an article in this months Red
Read Declan's piece on South of
the border here.