Thursday 19 October 2017

Sinn Fein could lose its image as the ethnic nationalist party

Sinn Fein will never publish a strategy plan because it would expose the party's political weaknesses, writes Eoin O'Malley

Arlene Foster, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Arlene Foster, Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Eoin O'Malley

When Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reflected on his team's historic comeback against Paris Saint-Germain last Wednesday, he didn't pretend there was some grand plan. He conceded that soccer is a "crazy game" - and left it at that. He was lucky that PSG were nervous, and Barcelona's carefree and chaotic play may have added to that nervousness - but was there a strategy? Probably not.

There was, however, a strategy at play in Sinn Fein's Assembly Election "win" last weekend. You will never see a Sinn Fein strategic plan. It's not that one doesn't exist; I suspect in the bowels of an office in West Belfast there is one. Sinn Fein is too clever to publish it, but the timing of the Assembly elections and the party's campaign in it were a work of strategic genius. We often see organisations publish strategic plans. The Department of Justice published one during last week.

It was, predictably enough, a collection of the generic goals it hopes to achieve and some vacuous value statements. But it wasn't a strategy, because while goals are central to a strategy, the strategy starts with a problem or challenge, and sets out how you will get around this.

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