Byline: Danny O'Connor SDLP MLA
IN recent times I have been asked to outline the core differences between the SDLP and other Nationalist parties.
There are indeed clear defining lines between the SDLP and other parties and I would like to take this opportunity to explain some of the fundamental differences as I see them.
The SDLP was formed on the belief of social democracy and equality for all.
This remains the case, and I remain committed to these beliefs.
The only way forward is to unite all the people on this island.
Some parties talk about a simple majority as being justification for a united Ireland. This is simply not so.
It has proved impossible for Unionists to coerce Nationalists into accepting the six counties solution and it would be equally impossible for Nationalists to coerce Unionists into a 32-county solution without their consent.
What we need is true conflict resolution and not conflict substitution.
We are now, and have been for some time, Europeans and for many in industry, commerce, tourism and in reality the border is little more than an imaginary line.It has no fundamental relevance to the daily running of their businesses, although inevitably the introduction of the Euro in only one part of the island will cause enormous problems for industry.
To continue to call for a 32-county socialist republic in today's climate is almost childlike in its naivety.
The simple truth is that such a state would not have the economic influence or strength to operate without the assistance of our European and American partners.
There are far too many examples of the benefits we have achieved through our participation in Europe to list them all.
The island as a whole has benefited through the expansion of community facilities and community led projects, the upgrading of the nation's infrastructure and the influx of real and sustainable employment.
These are tangible benefits that an anti-European party would have denied all the people of Ireland.
We within the SDLP believe that we are and should remain at the heart of a prosperous and peaceful Europe ensuring that the people of this island can benefit fully from membership.
We are, have been, and always will be, a Nationalist party and our ultimate goal is to seek the unification of all Irish people.
Our Nationalism is a mature and developed Nationalism, one that can accommodate difference and diversity.
We are extremely proud of our history, culture and yes our Irishness, but we have no problem accepting that others have a different perspective on that history and culture. …