Slaughter the sacred cows

Eoghan Harris, in the Sunday Independent has some provocative advice for the political parties – “Want to defeat Sinn Fein? Then slaughter a few sacred cows” – just as, he argues, Justice Minister Michael McDowell did when Mitchel McLaughlin asked him if he considered Bobby Sands a criminal, “Any member of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would have ducked and dithered rather than dent the halo of Saint Bobby Sands, and lost the audience at home.”He expands on the “leaky consensus” quote that John Waters referenced in his Irish Times article last week

In the Irish Times last week, John Waters wrote a painfully honest account, admitting that for years many in the media (perhaps the sole exception was Conor Cruise O’Brien) were reluctant to condemn the Provos excessively in case they were letting down northern nationalists.

Referring to a document I wrote called Television and Terrorism, Waters added: “This resulted in what Eoghan Harris called the ‘leaky national consensus’ in which support for the Provos waned after an atrocity and grew again as memory receded.”

This is an accurate account of one aspect of the leaky consensus. But another aspect of it also corrodes our capacity to cope with the Provos. That is the failure of FF and FG spokespersons to cut the nationalist cord to the past – which Sinn Fein then uses to strangle them.

and argues that Fianna Fail are already making a mistake by competing for the legacy of Griffiths –

Accordingly, Bertie Ahern is about to make a big mistake by competing with Sinn Fein for ‘control’ of the Sinn Fein centenary commemorations next year. As a result, the RTE airwaves will be filled for a whole year with republican rhetoric – ably assisted by hush puppies at all levels. This rise in the republican temperature will benefit Sinn Fein more than Fianna Fail at the next general election.

But if Fianna Fail really wants to win a battle with Sinn Fein, both over the distant and recent past, all it has to do is slaughter two sacred cows by admitting that nothing was won, north or south, that could not have been won by peaceful struggle, by Redmond or by civil rights.

But Fianna Fail only knows how to fatten sacred cows. Bertie Ahern keeps saying that Gerry Adams must make up his mind about peace.

Actually it’s Ahern who must make up his mind about Adams. Does he really trust Adams with Irish democracy?

Asking that answers itself. Ahern and the “useful idiots” in the Department of Foreign Affairs and RTE News can’t face the fact that Adams is like the man in the title of the new best-seller. He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, blurbed to help women stop fooling themselves.

What we now need is a wake-up book to stop Fianna Fail peace processors fooling themselves. Here’s a suggested title: He’s Just Not That Into Peace: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Gerry Adams.