Friday 24 January 2020

Kim Bielenberg: Baron Adams now part of the Establishment as he hangs out with Maggie and the Royals

Gerry Adams by Conrad Atkinson.
Gerry Adams by Conrad Atkinson.

Many readers probably did a double-take when they saw the newspaper headline – "Gerry Adams to hang with key British figures....’’

As it happens, the story suggests that a painting of the Sinn Fein leader is to hang in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

His bearded mug will be seen alongside such luminaries as Queen Elizabeth, Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.

The portrait of a somewhat grizzly Adams was done by the Cumbrian artist Conrad Atkinson after the Sinn Feiner met the artist in 2007 and 2008

Whether he likes it or not, Adams has found it hard to escape the bosom of the British establishment.

As well hanging out with Maggie, Gladstone and the Royals in the gallery , the Right Honourable Gerry was dubbed the “Green Baron’’ when he was given a title by the British Prime Minister David Cameron last year

As he stepped down as MP for West Belfast, the tweedy gent was appointed as a Baron with the title “Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead’’.

The Manor of Northstead was once a collection of fields and farms in the parish of Scalby in the North Yorkshire.

A barony was perhaps only fitting for Adams, a man who has a splendid country house in the form of a holiday home in Co Donegal.

Nevertheless, the Sinn Fein lord was ungrateful for his sudden elevation to the aristocracy. “I am sure the burghers of that manor are as bemused as me,'' he said of his new baronial existence.

Of course, the Shinners have never been shy of taking the Queen’s Shilling when it suited them.

Baron Adams claimed over €1m in allowances and expenses in the decade up to his retirement as a Westminster MP - even though he never troubled himself with the dashed inconvenience of taking his seat.

He may prefer to avoid using his title at his constituency clinics as a TD in Louth, but Adams has revealed a certain fondness for the upper-class lifestyle.

Several times in the past he has declared himself to be a fan of the novels of PG Wodehouse, who lovingly told the stories of frivolous upper-class twits like Bertie Wooster and Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle”.

It is perhaps only fitting now that the painting of Baron Adams will join that of his hero Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse in the National Portrait Gallery. Gerry has joined the club.

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