Politics Made Simple part 3 (The Northern Ireland Assembly Election): What Is The SDLP?

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (or as they will be referred to in this opening paragraph, “The Simply and Desperately trying to Live Party”) are currently the third biggest party in the NI Executive, although that could all change by May the 5th. They were founded in the 1970s, and they were one of the two main parties in 1998 when the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement (whatever you want to call it), was signed (you know that thing which everyone born that year in Northern Ireland is only remembered for). Although the agreement has some good parts, it also had some bad parts, that might have proven to have been the cause of the car crash elections that have taken place since 2005/07 onwards, between the SDLP and their once marriage partner (yes, I mean the UUP).

But what are their main political beliefs, and what is it that differentiates between them and the second biggest party, Sinn Fein? In this episode, I’m going to be going through all their beliefs, so you know what you’ll be voting for on the 5th of May.

So as mentioned, the SDLP was founded as a nonsectarian political movement in the 1970s, and its first leader was Gerry Fitt, though it is John Hume who has been known as one of its more recognisable leaders, thanks to his greatest political achievement which was the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which he also got a Nobel Peace Prize for. Having joined the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the late ’60s, Hume saw nationalism as a declining force in the new Europe, and thought Northern Ireland needed extended self-government, with powers reasonably divided between the population groups.

Though not one of the largest parties, the SDLP of today is led by Colum Eastwood, and as were the stepping stones of the party in its early days, their sole political aim is a United Ireland, though they want to achieve it by peaceful means.

They supported the UK adopting the euro during the Single Currency debate, and also supported Remain in the 2016 Brexit Referendum.

Some of their other stances on issues are that they support legislation involving the Irish Language Act, they support abortion in certain circumstances, and they also support Gay Marriage.

But they caused controversy last year when a bill dodged all mentions of girls and women, and pointed instead at “persons who have periods”.

They are supportive of the NHS, and are believed to have a plan for what they would like to keep in a United Ireland.

So to summarise what the SDLP is:

  • They are an Irish Nationalist party, who’s sole political aim is a United Ireland, but in a way that is brought around simply.
  • They are Pro-EU, Pro-Irish Language, Pro LGBT+ and Pro abortion in certain circumstances
  • They are Pro NHS
  • They were in support of the UK adopting the Euro
  • They have caused controversy recently over so called inclusionary language



Disability History Month and Tech Talk 5: Where Accessible, Adaptive and Assistive Technologies Stand in Politics and How We Could Make Them Better?

What’s up TR Fans and welcome back for Vlog 5 of my Disability History Month coverage here on Technology Reviews! So this is my penultimate bit of coverage for this year’s History Month, with the content coming out across all my sites on Tuesday being the final, and I won’t see you then until after Christmas. However, I hope you enjoy this blog, as I look at where accessible, adaptive and assistive technologies stand in politics and with the law, and what could be done to make them, and accessibility all over the world, better.

So on November 8th this year, we celebrated the 25th birthday of the Disability Discrimination Act, which was passed into law in 1995. The Act, which was fought for by disabled people who chained themselves to buses and other bits of transport, ultimately gave people like myself civil rights like everyone else, but how much has actually changed from what it was like to be a disabled person before I was born, to what it’s like now, and can this blog, by mentioning technology and other things, send out an idea of what full equality looks like?

Accessibility According to Politics and the Law in General

So although the Disability Discrimination Act gave us the right to access goods and services, education, employment, transport and accommodation, there are still ways that people working in these sectors have been able to bypass this law. I’ve seen houses being built close to me before that have no disabled access, I’ve gone years feeling I can’t play the same games that my sibling and friends played because I was the physically disabled one (in fairness, the ICT and Gaming Industries seem to be moving forward with that now), and I also haven’t been able to go to places for a day out because of my disability.

So in this blog, I’m going to be looking at 3 points which could get us close to thinking what type of accessible world we want.

1: Photo Sensitive Modes as a Lawful Requirement for Media, Streaming and Gaming Sites

I talked about Photo Sensitive options in Blog 4 of my Disability History Month coverage, which if you haven’t seen yet you can read by clicking Disability History Month and Tech Talk 4: Accessibility Options Developers Could Use to Make Technology and Gaming Accessible for Everyone, or heading over to the Phoebs Does Technology Reviews YouTube or my Soundcloud.

As I said in that blog, I don’t have epilepsy myself, but I know and have known people who do. Some of the flashing lights used in various media content, in games and in movies could be enough to make people have seizures, therefore bringing us into the situation where some people can view this but some can’t, which could violate the access of goods when you consider digital goods. Yes, I understand film and other video content might not be able to do anything, but I think the lawful requirement should at least be there for gaming.

Museums Which Aren’t Wheelchair Accessible Should Lawfully Be Required to Offer a Virtual or Video Version

I talked about Virtual Exhibitions and talks in my second blog of Disability History Month, and mentioned how virtual exhibitions and virtual talks are two things I’d like to see staying around in a post Covid world.

I’m not saying I don’t trust the majority of places to put the procedures into place themselves, because I do, but what happens if there’s one person who is against accessibility? Having a bit of legal back up so that you can access a museum virtual could help disabled people in education and employment feel like they’re protected.

Employment Schemes for Disabled People to Help Point Out if There’s Breaches of Disability Discrimination Act in Regards to Housing

According to https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-7540/, 288,000 (6.5%) disabled people in the UK are unemployed, with over two thirds of disabled adults (67.6%) still living at home with their parents, according to https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/disability/bulletins/disabilityandhousinguk/2019.

Giving that the Disability Discrimination Act is meant to give disabled people access to goods, employment and accommodation, I think it would be good for there to be schemes which allow disabled people to say if accommodation, or any other buildings such as bars, night clubs etc are accessible to them, because we know what we need. But I also think it would be good for the Virtual Tour idea that museums opted for this year to also extend to housing in a Post Covid World, so we can have a half in-person and half not in-person future, and one that will help our income as well.

So overall, I think the Disability Discrimination Act has been better for disabled people in some aspects of life, but it hasn’t made life completely better. As someone who is coming from the Northern Ireland perspective, although there’s some parts of the law in Mainland GB that might be worth including e.g digital accessibility, I feel lucky as far as the train service goes, as I’ve never had a bad trip using Translink. Yes, I know it has it’s problems, but it’s more so other areas of Northern Ireland’s society I’d like to see change on regards of the Disability Discrimination Act, other than that.