The responsibility of a mandate

The Sunday Times does not so much question the validity Sinn Fein’s mandate, but it lays out what it believes to the voluntary limitations a democratic party should take to itself:

Put simply, Sinn Fein seems to believe that because people vote for the party, it is above the law. It is not. Gerry Adams, its president, needs to understand that democracy requires his party to embrace the rule of law and to root out the criminality that blights the republican movement. Every time he and his colleagues opt for denial instead of responsibility, falling back on their mandate as justification for their inclusion in the democratic process, the Sinn Fein leadership erodes trust and credibility. It may play well in hardcore republican areas but it rings hollow across the rest of the land.

  • Keith M

    This has already been discussed here on Slugger. The question is simple; does 25% of the vote allow a group to carry on with criminal activity at home and abraod and still qualify for seats in an executive when the other parties aren’t prepared to work with criminals.

    Call me a hopeless optimist but taking yesterday’s statement by Durkan at face value we could see the SDLP finally acquiring a backbone. Last year Durkan and the Irish government were talking about maintaining the “principles” of the 1998 agreement in the new deal. Yesterday he downgraded that to maintaining the “values” of 1998. It would be quite easy to have a DUP/UUP/SDLP executive within the “values” of 1998 (given that parties who were not committed to peacful means were not allowed to be in the executive). As a sweetner to the SDLP they could be allocated the DFM position and the two SF/IRA seats to maintain the unionist/nationalist balance.

    The SDLP have a choice. They are currently going under, slowly but surely (even faster if you believe the republicans on slugger who have predicted that they will end up without an MP in May), but the continued criminality of SF/IRA has thrown them a rope, now they have to decide if they want to take it.

  • ShayPaul

    Great idea Keith M, then after the Dupes stuff the Stoops for the upteenth time that would be the final death blow to that party and leave SF masters of the situation.

    Unless of course Berties boys …..

    Then the dupes wouldn’t do deals with FF (DeValera’s party).

    Jesus it’s a complicated place ….

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    KeithM,

    Yeah the SDLP are going to voluntarily play the part of Uncle Tom in the Unionist household, get a grip of reality.

  • Henry94

    When Fianna Fail was found to be riddled with criminality (P Flynn, Ray Burke, Charlie Haughey, Liam Lawlor, Beverly Cooper-Flynn) there was no question of any sanction against the party other than the right of voters to punish them at the ballot box.

    The fact that the present Fianna Fail leader used to sign blank cheques for Haughey doesn’t appear to have done him any harm either.

    The inividuals responsible have been disgraced but the party carried on.

    If any member of Sinn Fein or any party is convicted of this robbery or any other crime then they will have to serve their sentences like anyone else.

    But that will not change the fact that Sinn Fein are elected to speak for the majority of nationalists in the north and we expect them to be allowed to do so.

  • George

    “They are currently going under, slowly but surely (even faster if you believe the republicans on slugger who have predicted that they will end up without an MP in May), but the continued criminality of SF/IRA has thrown them a rope, now they have to decide if they want to take it. “

    Yeah, one to hang themselves with Keithm. Your wishful thinking does not represent the reality of what would happen if the SDLP went and did what you wish.

    After all, this is the party which signed up to the policing board and if this whole sorry affair has shown anything to northern nationalists the PSNI is far from being a representative police force.

  • Keith M

    Henry94, I’m not going to defend FF and I’m certainly not going to justify the activities of those you have listed, however the following should be noted;

    None of those you have listed have been convicted of any criminal act. You can’t play the “innocent until proven guilty” card and not apply it universally.

    No one has died at the hands of anyone on your list.

    When the wrongdoing was discovered, those involved were forced out of the party .

    FF are in government because they have found partners willing to work with them (SF do not have anyone who is willing to work with them at the moment).

    No one is suggesting that SF should not carry on as a political party or that they shouldn’t continue to speak for the people they represent. However there is another party that can also represent nationalists and aren’t carrying out criminal acts.

  • Keith M

    “After all, this is the party which signed up to the policing board and if this whole sorry affair has shown anything to northern nationalists the PSNI is far from being a representative police force.”

    And yet 9/10 people questioned believe the PSNI rather than SF/IRA.

    The SDLP have nothing to lose by putting some space between themselves and SF/IRA. Actually quite the opposite; the people who currently vote for SDLP and those who aren’t the ones likely to switch.

  • ShayPaul

    Keith M

    “As a sweetner to the SDLP they could be allocated the DFM position and the two SF/IRA seats to maintain the unionist/nationalist balance.”

    Apart from an obvious problem with the reality of the situation, what are the democratic grounds for you playing god with the votes of the population, or are you one of those democrat when it suits you types.

    Will you also be reattributing the DUPe votes with regards to your appraisal of the political propriety of Dr NO’s party and its’ flirts with loyalism.

    Finally can you just make up the power sharing cabinet this afternoon and save us all a lot of time and energy whilst you are at it ?

  • Henry94

    KeithM

    Many people died because of the health cutbacks introduced in the south while Haughey and the others were evading their taxes.

    The SDLP have no mandate to go into government without Sinn Fein. They ran on a “Stop the DUP” platform. If they sought such a mandate they would not get it.

    SF do not have anyone who is willing to work with them at the moment

    In the north we don’t have voluntary coalitions. Otherwise the DUP and UUP would form a majority government. The institutions remain down following the last round of bogus PSNI accusations against Sinn Fein for which they have never produced a jot of evidence in court.

  • cg

    The sdlp and backbone in the same sentence 😉

  • Keith M

    ShayPaul; the current powersharing arrangements come with the stipulation that the parties involved must use only democratic means. If a party is involved in bank raids, international terrorism, abductions and murders then it has disqualified itself. As Durkan said yesterday SF/IRA are not the victims, but rather the other parties.

  • mickhall

    There are a number of peculiarities about this robbery. For a start one of the main media suspects, Bobby Storey, must be one of the main targets of the British and Irish security services as far as surveillance is concerned. Those who believe he played a role must there for also accept that MI5 etc are totally incompetent, to the extent that one of their major targets can spend his time plotting the biggest heist in history, (apart that is for what happens daily on the Stock exchange). Although the former FRU operative ‘martin ingram’ made an interesting supposition on the RBB about security service involvement.

    Pat is correct, Orde’s press conference was pure politics, can anyone seriously imagine if a similar robbery had occurred in London, the head of the Met would have publicly laid the blame at the feet of one of the main crime families that operate within his area, before any one is even arrested. It would have been another matter if Orde had made his statement privatly to the police committee, and then arranging for it to be leaked. By doing it as he did, he brings the whole question of were arrests to be made and they are provos, how could they get a fair trial, etc. By making this statement, is he saying that I am not being allowed to arrest anyone for this?

    I also agree with Henry, but I would ask him, after all those years of sacrifice and suffering does not the nationalist electorate in the north, plus SF’s newer constituency in the RoI, not have a right to expect that its representatives do not collude with individual’s, nor except donations from people who run illegal diesel, DVD, smuggled cigarette scams, plus with what ever other fund raising activities PIRA is involved in. The whole point about SF when it first came on the scene under Adams, was it was not like Charlie Haughey FF, yet since the last ceasefire a section of the PRM has increasingly turned to making ‘easy money.’
    Once a mentality sets in within a political party that such behaviour is acceptable, it is but a small step to plundering the public purse, even if many of the politicians within such a party are not personally corrupt. My self I feel it is ironic that those SF politicians who rose to leadership on the back of what they believed to be the disastrous ceasefire of the mid seventies, may well, due to their habit of doing a Nelson, be overseeing a ceasefire that may prove terminal to their organisation.

    Regards

  • GavBelfast

    Of course, get Fianna Fail (and/or Irish Labour) to stand in NI and then you have SF’s “only all-Ireland party, etc, etc” mantra, which is bound to boost their appeal, gone to pot.

    Bring it on.

    While we’re at it, I can’t believe that a majority of SF’s current voters REALLY support bank robberies and other assorted criminality.

    Bring on a viable alternative.

  • cg

    I do hope more of the southern parties will organise in the six counties as it will advance the All Ireland agenda.

    To suggest that it will affect Sinn Féin seems absurd to me but there will always be a section of the voters of Nationalism that will never vote Sinn Féin.

    I think it will also benefit unionism as there spiritual home will probably reside with an alliance with a party like Fine Gael in the long run.

  • GavBelfast

    CG, how likely do you think it is that the existence of Sinn Fein/IRA will get the Brits Out, or help people who feel they themselves are Brits come round to their (the RM’s) way of thinking?

    I could easily see SF voters voting for FF (maybe even Irish Labour). People tend to like to back winners – the SDLP may be on their way out, I doubt if FF (or Irish Labour) are.

    I simply can’t believe that a lot of SF voters would approve of craven criminality, whatever the money was stolen for (assuming it was the RM what done it!).

  • cg

    Firstly Gav
    I remain totally convinced that Sinn Féin’s strategy will achieve a United Ireland.

    If you believe that Sinn Fein voters would vote Finna Fail then you don’t know Sinn Féin voters very well.

    “People tend to like to back winners”

    Exactly and that’s why Sinn Féin’s vote is the way it is.

    You see Gav that’s the problem with assumptions. “Assumptions are the mother of all F**k up’s”
    The nationalist community isn’t stupid and can see through the smoke screens and they aren’t fooled. They don’t place much credence on the word of the psni, especially when they aren’t forthcoming with evidence.

  • GavBelfast

    Do you see why people might regard the very existence of the Provisional RM as a very real barrier to the political unification of Ireland?

    You’re right, I don’t know many SF voters, not that admit it anyway, just a few, and they wouldn’t have been when the IRA was doing its worst.

    I also don’t really know anyone who doesn’t think the robbery was the work of the PIRA, or at best wouldn’t have been done witout their connivance.

    Orde hasn’t implicated any individuals – he’s said he blames an organisation. What’s wrong in that anyway?

    I understand people sticking to a party line, even if it just seems like they are digging a big hole with a psyche of denial, but I would have a lot more respect for people who would come-out and own-up.

  • cg

    Gav I can understand why many people don’t like the Republican movement but I don’t accept that they are a barrier to a United Ireland.

    “I also don’t really know anyone who doesn’t think the robbery was the work of the PIRA”

    Well I know an awful lot of people who don’t believe that the IRA was involved.

    “he’s said he blames an organisation. What’s wrong in that anyway?”

    The problem is that it was said for political reasons and he offered no proof. A proper police service would not get involved in Politics.
    This incident just proves to nationalism that the psni are nothing but the RUC in a new uniform.

    “I understand people sticking to a party line”

    I am not sticking to party line; I say I don’t believe the IRA was involved because I don’t.

  • Intelligence Insider

    cg, these people that you know who don’t think the ira was involved, which mental institution are they in? I suppose they also don’t believe that Gerry Adams was ever in the ira, that sinn fein have never had a representative in Cuba, that there was no ira involvement in the robbery in Adare and murder of Garda McCabe.