Crisis turns SF strength into weakness?

The Broom of Anger blog reckons that changed circumstances mean that party characteristics of discipline and unity in Sinn Fein which previously denoted strength are now being seen as inflexibility, inarticulacy, and weakness.

  • Davros

    Ian O’Doherty in the Irish Independent has ” And let’s be honest, when someone as fumbling, inept and inarticulate as Fianna Fail’s John O’Donoghue can beat you in an argument, you really know your time is up.” and suggests it’s time that the bright sparks in the party moved against the leadership.

  • Richard Delevan

    I wouldn’t read too much into Conor Murphy’s performance on Monday. Murphy’s performance on RTE won’t have pleased the lads on Pearse Sq; I think the other panellists were passionate enough, but what was even more striking was Conor’s reticence. McGuinness or Adams or Kelly would simply lower the shoulder and drive with the leg, keep dominating discussion. Could be a personality thing, or tactics.

    But don’t think that SF is going to simply roll over. Their PR machine, once it finds something to bite down on, is peerless on this island.

    Yesterday on Liveline, when they flooded the zone was a case in point. They could get people motivated to defend Aengus O Snodaigh, and channeled a lot of energy into the effort. But no SF councillors, main spokespersons, or even party members – it’s pure Karl Rove. And it works.

  • séanna boy

    I must have been watching the wrong programme the other night cos I thought Conor Murphy was excellent especially when stating that the FFs ‘standing by the Republic’ stopped at the Border. Broom of Angers comments about republican women and what she believes is the version of ‘modern feminity’ are obnoxious and downgrading to all women.

  • vespasian

    There is an interesting parallel between the leadership of GA and DT. GA the undisputed leader of republicanism who has lied and lied again and DT who has tried to work with him under constant pressure from within and without his own party.

    The first to suffer from the continued lies, obfuscation and evasion was DT as his attempts to bring some form of democracy that included SF/IRA were with hindsight at best misguided and probably naive. His background as an academic ill equipped him to deal with TB, BC and BA, whose lack of moral principles, regarding for example the illegal acts of SF/IRA, was outside his grasp and understanding never mind the psychotic lying of GA. This meant that he accepted their ‘word’ and was unable to bring a deal that was sustainable and without the many grey areas that SF/IRA and the others exploited continually.

    DT and his party have suffered at the hands of the electorate as a direct consequence, although in the end the DUP followed what he did and in fact accepted the GF agreement without one word of change. Had the DUP supported the agreement from its inception it is possible that DT could have had a much stronger negotiating position and therefore have exerted more pressure on SF/IRA. Since this is now evident it may well show his supporters within the unionist electorate that it wasn’t all his fault and that a large measure of blame should be borne by the DUP and their self interested activities.

    GA on the other hand has had the support and acquiescence of almost everyone outside the unionist family who were prepared to turn a blind eye no matter what the SF/IRA did. Now everyone outside the republican family have turned on him and his organisation they have no plan or experience to deal with the pressure, apart from continuing to as they have always done; lie, lie and lie again. Had they had DT’s experience of adversity they might now perform better and come up with a strategy as to how they can move forward from the mess in which they find themselves and to take advantage of RIP’s offer of inclusion once they stop all they things they have been doing.

    In the end if an organisation is built around the myth of a one man it is more likely to wither than one with a broad base of leadership with collective decision making. This phenomenon applies to many of the main parties in Ireland.

    The parties in Ireland may be in for an interesting 2 or 3 years when the repercussions of 2004/5 finally permeate through to the ballot box.

  • mucher

    Seanne boy,

    With all due reapect, Broom of Anger was right about Sinn Fein women. Never have I seen a more macho bunch of females, except maybe in prison soaps like Cell Block H. Can anyone honestly say that Rita O’Hare is attractive or womanly? Mary Lou started off attractive but as time has gone on she IS beginning to look like Gerry and she has let herself go. I really believe that if Sinn Fein had more attractive and YOUNG women then membership figures would improve and the men would smarten their appearance too.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I concur with Richard D’s point and Sinn Fein have been experts at this for a long time; it’s exactly the kind of tactics they like to use. They used similar tactics on Joe Hendron between 1992 and the 1997 Westminster election in West Belfast, having spontaneous crowds of anti-Joe protestors mysteriously show up at various events attended by Hendron. Usually of course, a few minutes into the protest Gerry Adams would show up and calm the situation. Also around that time, the party submitted a leaflet for distribution as it’s election mailshot, but it broke the electoral office rules and so wasn’t permitted. SF put a team of 100 or more people on the street and delivered it themselves that night.

    I also remember being at the count for the Forum elections in 1996. Each party was at that time permitted to invite workers along to observe the count; the idea being that a limited number would come along and tally the votes. Sinn Fein issued hundreds of invites and packed the City Hall with their supporters right the way through all the corridors in their building. Subsequently the rules were changed so that each candidate could invite only a small number of workers.

  • Keith M

    I watched Q+A on Monday night and I thought it was going to be the start of the SF/IRA comeback when they put Murphy up against O’Donoghue. I think Murphy is normally a fine television performer but he was so far off form night it became a complete disaster for SF/IRA. Whoever primed O’Donoghue (or perhaps he has more time to prepare himself now as the ministy of fun is a lot less demanding than justice), deserves an award. O’Donoghue looked calm, sounded reasonable and wiped the floor with Murphy. Murphy’s performance was so bad that even the lady from the SDLP (who I’d never seen or heard of before Monday night) looked great, and when I start complimenting an SDLP person on their television performances you know how bad Murphy was!

  • Belfastwhite

    Those who think that Sinn Fein appear weak don’t really have a clue about republican mentality. Republicans find it harder to motivate their grassroots when it appears that they are working too closely with the British Government or putting it another way “selling out”. The current very public vilification of Sinn Fein will only bolster grassroots opinion to ensure that the republican ideal is not in any way damaged electorally at least. Maggie Thatcher proved this point when she took on Bobby Sands and the other Hunger Strikers and labelled republicans criminals the response was the emergence of Sinn Fein as a major political party and a swelling of the ranks of the IRA.

  • Davros

    That’s fair comment for the committed Belfastwhite, but will it hold for the people who will decide the election , the man in the street ? In the eighties when those men died the RM could blame the big bad Brits. They cannot blame the Brits for the McCartney murder. Blame for that is —–> Republican Movement. That’s a huge difference.

  • J Kelly

    It just goes to show how different people see different things when they watch TV. Connor Murphy was excellent exposed the SDLP real agenda please vote for us because we are good and they are bad, crime Gerry McCabe and FF’S history and the first shinner to point out the criminality within Fianna Fail. So for republicans it palyed very well and the tide is turning.

    BW is correct republicans are at their most active and motivated when they are taking on the world. In Derry on Monday night over 500 people at a rally to listen to Gerry Kelly more than attended the SDLP party conference in Derry the week before.

  • Belfastwhite

    If any republican is accused of this murder then I hope for justice’s sake you are not a member of the jury Davros your mind is made up before you have any facts or evidence to base your opinions. In any case if a republican is guilty of this crime the republican movement as a whole is not to blame ——> that is the huge difference.

  • Keith M

    Belfastwhite “The current very public vilification of Sinn Fein will only bolster grassroots opinion to ensure that the republican ideal is not in any way damaged electorally at least.” People aren’t stpid. They know that SF/IRA’s problems are all of its own creation. Michel McLoughlin going on television and saying that cold bloodeed murder is not a crime might work well in republican heatlands in N.I., but it plays very badly to the general audience in this country.

    “In Derry on Monday night over 500 people at a rally to listen to Gerry Kelly more than attended the SDLP party conference in Derry the week before.” I would assume that the SDLP party conference is like every other party’s and is only attended by approved delegates. Hardly a fair comparision. The relative popularity of the SDLP and SF/IRA in (London)Derry will be determined on May 5th.

    “In any case if a republican is guilty of this crime the republican movement as a whole is not to blame.” Here I agree. In the same way that any member of the RUC who might end up being convicted of colusion does not mean that all the police are to blame. HOWEVER if the leadership of the RM or the RUC is helping to protect that person from being tried or convicted, then there is a much bigger problem that just that of “one bad apple”.

  • mickhall

    500 people is pretty small beer when one considers the work that went into getting out the Provisional Republican base for their meeting. Over a 1000 people turned out on a cold night in support of Mr McCartney family, despite intimidation and the knowledge of the meeting being only word of mouth.

    BW for me is totally missing the point, yes if the British attack the Provisional Republican movement it might well rally people to it, but in the main they are not, what is happening today is that fellow Irishmen and women are demanding that criminality ends and PIRA is stood down. Yes, the British government has suggested that the withdrawal of expenses from those members of SF elected to the Westminster parliament should be considered. But as SF neither recognise this parliament, nor take their seats in it, the fact SF take any money directly from the Brits will come as a surprise to some. Can you imagine the Provisional republican movement, mounting a campaign demanding the Brits pay SF for not sitting in their parliament.Surreal. In any case, SF only got the money in the first place as a kick back to get them on side vis a vis the GFA.

    These day’s I doubt even poor old Gerry Adams knows what he is politically, Is he a Fenian, an Irish nationalist, a physical force Republican, a British parliamentarian, a socialist, a free marketer, reformist or revolutionary. Perhaps if he were to make up his mind, we would all know where we stood. If it was not all so tragic it would be funny.

  • Davros

    Belfastwhite … next you’ll be denying that a murder even took place.

  • Belfastwhite

    Davros….if you read my last post I quite clearly state that a murder took place…..doh!

  • Davros

    It’ll remain a murder unless a Provos is convicted in which case it will suddenly cease to have been a crime and become a “tragedy” from which we need to move on …

  • Belfastwhite

    mickhall please don’t be peddling the old “British are only spectators in this conflict” idea they are up to their necks in it. As far Irish politicians are concerned aren’t they political opponents of Sinn Fein I think they have a vested interest in attacking the growing Sinn Fein mandate a blind man on a galloping horse could see that.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Belfastwhite, the identities of the murderers of Robert McCartney are well known in the community, and were apparently observed by 70 witnesses in the bar who still won’t come forward despite pleas from the family. Demands for evidence, or for “they’re innocent until proven guilty” won’t cut it when some unseen hand continues to prevent justice from being done.

    Republicans find it harder to motivate their grassroots when it appears that they are working too closely with the British Government or putting it another way “selling out”

    I don’t know what republican communities you are talking about but in Belfast at every stage during the past few years SF have been able to put tremendous numbers of election workers, canvassers and other people on the street. If the community is reticient of them due to their dealings with the British there is no evidence of it that I can see, either on the ground or in the ballot boxes.

  • Belfastwhite

    …..Lend me your crystal ball Davros I’ll check the lottery numbers for the weekend.

  • mickhall

    mickhall please don’t be peddling the old “British are only spectators in this conflict” idea they are up to their necks in it. As far Irish politicians are concerned aren’t they political opponents of Sinn Fein I think they have a vested interest in attacking the growing Sinn Fein mandate a blind man on a galloping horse could see that.

    Posted by: Belfastwhite

    mickhall please don’t be peddling the old “British are only spectators in this conflict” idea they are up to their necks in it. As far Irish politicians are concerned aren’t they political opponents of Sinn Fein I think they have a vested interest in attacking the growing Sinn Fein mandate a blind man on a galloping horse could see that.

    Posted by: Belfastwhite

    Belfastwhite

    I would appreciate it if you do not stoop to attributing words to me that not only did I not write but never would. The fact that you placed the following words in inverted commas was a clear attempt on your part to smear me, “British are only spectators in this conflict” You are clearly not a fool, so I can only conclude that what you did was deliberate and sadly is so indicative of how some SF supporters attempt to deal with those of us who challenge them from a Republican socialist standpoint. There was a host of issues you could have raised in my post, yet all you did was to attempt to divert the issue with a smear, pathetic

  • Belfastwhite

    Belfastwhite, the identities of the murderers of Robert McCartney are well known in the community, and were apparently observed by 70 witnesses in the bar who still won’t come forward despite pleas from the family. Demands for evidence, or for “they’re innocent until proven guilty” won’t cut it when some unseen hand continues to prevent justice from being done.

    Innocent until proven guilty should be the cornerstone of any justice system. A British Labour MP yesterday stated that the the Magna Carter provided for this in 1215 and surely should do in 2005. As far as the unseen hand you refer to I think that even we can agree that any direct threat or physical attack on any witness to this murder by anyone representing the republican movement would be political suicide after they stated that no-one should impede the family in their search for justice.

    I don’t know what republican communities you are talking about but in Belfast at every stage during the past few years SF have been able to put tremendous numbers of election workers, canvassers and other people on the street. If the community is reticient of them due to their dealings with the British there is no evidence of it that I can see, either on the ground or in the ballot boxes.

    You don’t know what republican communities I am talking about you are not part of that community I am. I can tell you that republicans have had to swallow hard parts of the GFA and subsequent acts of decommissioning. What will never be accepted however is the criminalisation of the republican and nationalist struggle for self determination on this island.

  • Belfastwhite

    Mickhall I didn’t attribute that quote to you I quite clearly stated it was an often said idea which you seemed to be peddling when you stated and I will quote this time “if the British attack the Provisional Republican movement it might well rally people to it, but in the main they are not” and btw I don’t need a lecture about smear tactics we have all seen enough of those in past two months.

  • Baslamak

    belfast white,

    I wish the shinners would stop parading themselves as victims, it is so demeaning to Republicans, if you do something, stand over it, if it turns out to be wrong, try and right the wrong, dont whine about your political opponents making capital out of it, that is what politics is all about. Dont mourn organise.

  • willowfield

    Belfastwhite

    In any case if a republican is guilty of this crime the republican movement as a whole is not to blame ——> that is the huge difference.

    The “republican” leadership is to blame, though, for covering up the crime and shielding the guilty from justice.

  • Belfastwhite

    Baslamak

    Just who is whining my opinion is actually the opposite. If you read the thread my argument is that republicans unite to fight better when their backs are against the wall and we are organising.

  • willowfield

    Time for “republicans” to stop “fighting” and join everyone else in creating a fair, democratic society.

  • Belfastwhite

    willowfield

    Even the victims family have stated that this is not true I’d get my facts straight before I actually named names if I were you but that doesn’t happen unless it’s under parliamentary privilege does it?

  • Belfastwhite

    willowfield

    Republicans have been involved in trying to create a free and democratic society and will continue to do so.

  • barnshee

    “Republicans have been involved in trying to create a free and democratic society and will continue to do so.”

    Really ?? Eniskillen, La Mon, Bloody Friday etc (also sneak up behind policeman shoot in back an then run) “create a free and democratic society ” my arse, the people of NI are further apart than ever (The sooner they divorce totally the better)

  • willowfield

    Belfastwhite

    I’m afraid I’ve bo idea what your 9.37 refers to.

    Republicans have been involved in trying to create a free and democratic society and will continue to do so.

    Then why were they murdering 2000 people, bombing, beating people, torturing them, exiling them, abducting them, disabling them, intimidating them, and trying to usurp the results of democratic elections? None of these activities is compatible with creating a free and democratic society. On the contrary, they serve the opposite purpose.

    The same goes for other criminal activity, the covering up of crimes and the protecting of the guilty from justice.

  • Davros

    Possibly Belfastwhite might like to offer us an explanation as to why it took so long for SF’s Belfast representatives to speak out for justice for the McCartney family and why it seems that they had to be forced to break silence ?

  • willowfield

    And why, even when they did “speak out”, it consisted of mere words and no actions. They still refuse to turn the killers in.

  • Davros

    I wonder if it was discussed with the local IRA in one of their reported Planning meetings at Connolly House ?

  • Belfastwhite

    barnshee

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!

  • Belfastwhite

    Willowfield

    Off course all the deeds you have mentioned were never ever carried out by the British Government and Unionist paramilitaries. We could go on with the politics of whataboutery for ever, we could even debate the moral justification for the British occupation of this country and who started the “troubles” but you can’t deny that republicans haven’t been involved in the current peace process.

  • Belfastwhite

    Davros

    Re:
    Possibly Belfastwhite might like to offer us an explanation as to why it took so long for SF’s Belfast representatives to speak out for justice for the McCartney family and why it seems that they had to be forced to break silence?

    Unfortunately I cannot speak for Belfast Sinn Fein leadership maybe that question should be posed to them.

    Willowfield

    As for Sinn Fein turning them in the murderers willowfield when the RUC, British Army, Unionist Politicians start turning in the murderers of innocent nationalists and we have a police force and Judicial system that everyone could respect then maybe that would be a good time.