Thursday 27 June 2019

Sinn Fein hare can be caught

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking to the media at Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis 2015 in Derry. Included from left, Northern Ireland's Deputy first Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin candidate for the upcoming by election in Carlow & Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion and Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking to the media at Sinn Féin's Ard Fheis 2015 in Derry. Included from left, Northern Ireland's Deputy first Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin candidate for the upcoming by election in Carlow & Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion and Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald.
Editorial

Editorial

It is hardly surprising that even those great political Sinn Fein practitioners of the art of staring at a wall could not disguise the swagger at the party's Ard Fheis yesterday. Like the child hearing imaginary rustling in the chimney on the night before Christmas, Sinn Fein is a party trying, but failing, to suppress any public display of their great political expectations. It is important, particularly for the voters, to note in this regard that Sinn Fein's hopes are not centred on the possibility of being in government. That would, ironically, represent a failure of the plan, as those echelons of that party that possess some political intelligence realise governance would represent a political disaster for Sinn Fein.

Were it to occur - and accidents do happen if you're not careful- it would not do too well for us either. Like all Scientologists, who define their personal value in terms of the movement, Sinn Fein prioritises their internal interests. In that regard, too often they resemble Fianna Fail rather than the more fashionable designer-radical accessory they wear at water charge protests. Secretly, Sinn Fein understand intimately that a party steeped in a culture of irresponsible welfare economics is not developed for office.

We know that morally, insofar as that counts for anything in Ireland, Sinn Fein also stand condemned by the shades of history and the ghosts of the dead. But in an election campaign they might suffer even more from the partitionist politics where Sinn Fein implement austerity with an iron fist in the North, while promising a velvet glove in the South. No amount of American dollars either can disguise the 'house angel, street devil' economics of a party that oscillates between fawning before American millionaires in five-star hotels and playing the Syriza street-revolutionary at street-level water protests.

In language they may understand Sinn Fein have neither the arms nor the men for an assault on the citadel of power. They may have made substantial inroads but, rather like Hitler's soldiers at the Moscow tram-line terminal, while they have penetrated deeply into middle Ireland, their supply lines are compromised and reserves are fading. By contrast, when it comes to the annexation of smaller powers such as Labour and Fianna Fail, the project is far more significantly advanced. In particular, Sinn Fein covets the annexation of the fertile Labour plains. Taking Fianna Fail seats is merely filling the boots of dead political men walking. But, were our ideological anarchists to replicate the Gilmore gale, then they could reinvent themselves as an ideologically coherent party of the left. Respectability would have been finally achieved.

Happily, in this regard Sinn Fein has many miles yet to travel. Too much of the politics of the big lie surrounds the political conceit of peace, prosperity and the erasure of the past being constructed around the ghastly charisma of Mr Adams for ease, in a country which, courtesy of the Celtic Tiger and Mr Haughey's Great Gatsby-style theatre of illusion, has endured more than enough political conceits. For now, despite this baggage, Sinn Fein are still haring ahead. But whatever about Fianna Fail, who appear intent on experimenting with the delights of live embalming, they would be wise to not underestimate the tenacity of the Labour tortoise.

Sunday Independent

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