Amid all the troubles in Iran and the indignation over Rhodesia one of the most important events of this week has gone almost unnoticed in the British Press. The Daily Telegraph failed to even mention the story on Monday. The decision of the Social and Democratic Labour Party to call for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland carried by a majority of some 700 to two is a red light warning for British Government policy.
The SDLP is not a republican party, indeed it was founded in opposition to the old abstentionist nationalist party. It is the party which for eight gruelling years has tried to make Northern Ireland work — to make sure not only that the cake was fairly divided but that it grew bigger and better.
It is the party of both middle class and working class Catholics and has attacked the violence of the IRA as vociferously as anyone. It has already lost its more republican wing through the departure of Paddy Devlin and the setting up of the Irish Independence Party.
So this decision is not the result of any infiltration of the SDLP by old style republicans — Austin Currie went out of his way to attack the 'Brits Out' slogan last Saturday — it is the end of the Catholic cornmunity's belief that the British Government can make Northern Ireland work as part of the United Kingdom.
Anyone; the press, politicians or people who ignore this decision do so at their peril.