I haven't seen it covered elsewhere, but the Irish Times reports that the British Labour party is to officially organise in Northern Ireland. Apparently local activists have the 2011 local elections in their sights.
According to the IT, Queen's University lecturer Boyd Black said: "Next Monday we are being formally constituted within the Labour Party organisation- up to now we have been unofficial members. Now we will have a party constitution and have elected officers. We will as of right have a seat on the National Policy Forum, the body which sits in permanent session and develops policy for the party. I think it is a big step forward. It's been a long fight, with the Labour high command- mindful of its links to the SDLP- having to be dragged along."
The association had to sign up 200 members and keep them for three months before it could be formally constituted as part of the Labour Party. The 200 mark was passed last year.
This seems to somewhat reflect Fianna Fáil's moves north. With the prospect of a merger with the SDLP off the table, it has appears that it has remained for a few supporters in south Armagh, with the backing of some southern politicians, to do something this side of the border. The result was the establishment of a 'forum', rather than a cumann, in Crossmaglen recently. However, a quick visit to the Fianna Fáil website reveals that the interactive map of Ireland shows up as 'Void' if you hover over Northern Ireland, indicating that FF Central doesn't seem to have any plans to organise fully in the north any time soon.
Where British Labour and Fianna Fáil go in the north remains to be seen. The question is whether they can build the critical popular and membership mass to have any electoral impact. And that will depend to a large extent on the support they have from their respective central offices in London and Dublin.