Jim Cusack has an interesting piece on the juxtaposition of the modern marketing strategies behind the phenomenal electoral success of Sinn Fein and what he sees as its close reliance on various illegal activities of the IRA. Much of his primary material appears comes from a paper by Sean McGough of the University of Birmingham – Selling Sinn Fein: the political marketing of a party in Conflict Resolution:
“Sinn Fein appears to have grasped the sales-oriented concept and utilised marketing techniques extremely effectively. It has retained its ideological commitment to independence but uses political marketing to help get this message across.
The party “displays a mastery of permanent marketing communications. Political pressure is applied immediately and is maintained throughout the years. Rather than the short-term electioneering of the main parties, Sinn Fein make a long-term commitment to the community involved. The end of any election is not then met by a winding down of the political campaign. Instead, the party workers redouble their efforts, immediately investing in the next election and continuing their responsibility for the welfare of the community.”
He goes on: “The professionalisation and modernisation of Sinn Fein’s electoral strategy extends into every facet of its operations. Each day a localised assessment of the progress of the party is carried out. Reports in the media, feedback from activists and every other source of opinion, complaint and inquiry is taken into account, examined and acted upon.”
The sting is in the tail:
The most extraordinary and disturbing aspect of this new Sinn Fein, as shown by the people who were gathered together in Magennis’s bar on the night Robert McCartney was killed, is that alongside the talented and committed young activists are people who kill and maim and commit other major crimes.
None of the young Sinn Fein members in Magennis’s bar expected there would be a murder that night but they would have known that a week earlier IRA men had shot a local 17-year-old through both his hands. They would also have known the IRA had just carried out the biggest bank robbery in history.
They would also have known that there is no logical or ethical explanation for the source of the money needed to fund the massive political marketing machine to which they belong.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty