Sinn Fein and the Carlsberg approach

Noel Whelan on the predictablity of most of the Westminster seats. He reckons that Sinn Fein has got its campaign off to a dream start, with Gerry Adams’ appeal to the IRA: “Dangling the prospect of ultimate sustainable peace in front of the electorate the party is hoping a renewed and enlarged mandate will cleanse it of the hue of criminality with which it says it has been smeared in recent months”.

But, somewhat wearily perhaps, he notes the general disengagement from the kind of real political choices that are facing electorates elsewhere:

On the UK mainland the debate on issues like taxation, immigration and the Iraq war is intensifying as polling day approaches. Stubbornly, Northern Ireland’s political parties, and their local media, are sticking to the issues which have dominated, and stagnated, their politics for decades. This election will again be a sectarian head-count between the nationalist and unionist blocs, and within those blocs it will be a battle about which of the political parties will best protect and represent their bloc’s interests in the next phase of the apparently never ending round of negotiations which may or may not emerge after the elections and after the marching season.

  • Oilbhear_Chromaill

    I wonder what his FF colleagues will think of his ‘on the UK mainland’ comment. Has FF finally given up the sham they called republicanism?

    The reason a single issue dominates politics here is because it hasn’t been resolved yet and Whelan’s FF colleagues are more worried about keeping their greasy fingers on the levers of power in the statelet down south than they are in fulfilling FF’s founding objective, the reunification of the country.

    The other issues stand a much greater chance of being resolved if local politicians are involved rather than the direct rule sham that we have at the moment.

  • Mick

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think Noel Whelan speaks in any capacity for Fianna Fail.

  • Jim Bob

    Wasn’t he a former Fianna Fail Dail candidate?

    Or is this a different Noel Whelan?

  • Nicholas Whyte

    That doesn’t make him a Fianna Fail spokesman now.

    He wrote a book with me, and that doesn’t make him an Alliance spokesman.

    (Just to clarify: I am not an Alliance spokesman either.)

  • sean west

    Ireland is its own mainland. Where do they come from.

    Ed’s note: Sean, you’re new here. Just to let you know frontloading your otherwise on-argument remarks with a personal invective is not acceptable.

  • Jim Bob

    I don’t think the issue is whether he’s a FF spokesman or not. Mick introduced that but it’s not relevant to the point Oliver was making.

    Oliver was talking about FF connections, and as you’ll be aware there are more connections there than just his own FF candidacy. It’s a very small world sometimes, but we should never be afraid of exploring the networks that exist.

    Personally I didn’t think his argument was that bad but the points Oliver raised are relevant too.

  • Keith M

    On island groups the term “mainland” is often used to describe the biggest islands. I’ve heard it used on the Isle Of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland to describe Great Britain. I have also heard it used on a triip to Achill (in relation to Ireland). That leading unionist Albert “Gombeenman” (worth £1 I Reckon) Reynolds also used the phrase to refer to Britain. Anyone who has a problem with the word obviously has a agenda or a chip of the shoulder (or both).

    Whelan, is not speaking for FF. He is now a independent commentator, a a damn fine one in my book. (Just a phrase, I don’t have Nick’s brass neck).

    Finally to the matter under debate. Adam’s call to the IRA was a 48 hour wonder. It was seen for what it was (an election gimmick) and now the shinners have shied away from this strategy as an statement by PONeill in the days before May 5th, would just be laughed at (even more than the previous ones). Therefore for me, this is one of this year’s election gaffes, because Adams has created a hostage to fortune. The statement can either be rejected or ignored by PONeill (thus a bit of self flagelation by Adams) or PONeill can come up with more words. Meanwhiile everyone is waiting for action.

  • Jim Bob

    “On island groups the term “mainland” is often used to describe the biggest islands. I’ve heard it used on the Isle Of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland to describe Great Britain. I have also heard it used on a triip to Achill (in relation to Ireland).”

    The term “mainland” is used to refer to a larger island of which the smaller island is a political unit, as your examples show.. You wouldn’t use it about Britain when speaking from the perspective of the Republic of Ireland. Though you may have done so from the perspective of the Free State. It’s therefore an inappropriate usage of the term.

    “Anyone who has a problem with the word obviously has a agenda or a chip of the shoulder (or both).”

    Or an appreciation of English and politics.

    “Whelan, is not speaking for FF.”

    Red herring. No one is disputing that. But he certainly hasn’t become anti-FF all of a sudden, has he.

    “He is now a independent commentator, a damn fine one in my book.”

    Obviously this isn’t the same Noel Whelan who predicted that Royston Brady was on the pig’s back for a seat then?

    “Finally to the matter under debate. Adam’s call to the IRA was a 48 hour wonder. It was seen for what it was (an election gimmick) and now the shinners have shied away from this strategy as an statement by PONeill in the days before May 5th, would just be laughed at (even more than the previous ones). Therefore for me, this is one of this year’s election gaffes, because Adams has created a hostage to fortune. The statement can either be rejected or ignored by PONeill (thus a bit of self flagelation by Adams) or PONeill can come up with more words. Meanwhiile everyone is waiting for action.”

    Most people who view it as an election gimmick think it was a strategic masterstroke.

    Others who think it was genuine believe it is just a necessary part of the process in any event.

    You’re the first I’ve heard who thinks it a gaffe.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    ?Brass neck?

  • Keith M

    Jim Bob, “The term “mainland” is used to refer to a larger island of which the smaller island is a political unit, as your examples show.”. Whelan was talking about the General Election and comparing Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. (i.e a single political unit). FYI : Neither the IoM or the Channel Islands are part of the that political unit.

    “Red herring. No one is disputing that”. You obviously missed Oibhear’s post “I wonder what his FF colleagues will think…. “

    “Obviously this isn’t the same Noel Whelan who predicted that Royston Brady was on the pig’s back for a seat then?”. I think you’ll find he was either favourite or second favourite until the last week of the election. No one could have predicted the “my daddy was adjucted by the bombers” gaffe.

    “Most people who view it as an election gimmick think it was a strategic masterstroke.”. How many of these have no sympahy with SF/IRA?

    “You’re the first I’ve heard who thinks it a gaffe.”. I was the first to pour cold water on the Belfast Agreement on the web.

  • Jim Bob

    “Jim Bob, “The term “mainland” is used to refer to a larger island of which the smaller island is a political unit, as your examples show.”. Whelan was talking about the General Election and comparing Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. (i.e a single political unit).”

    That’s arguable if one were being generous. But it’s not the sort of thing you would expect to hear a Southerner say, especially given that they’re all Republicans down there now.

    “FYI : Neither the IoM or the Channel Islands are part of the that political unit.”

    They are in Dependency terms.

    “Red herring. No one is disputing that”. You obviously missed Oibhear’s post “I wonder what his FF colleagues will think…. “

    That’s about his friends and connections. It’s got nothing to do with him being an official spokesman. That’s a total red herring. I’m surprised at Mick trying to slip that one in.

    “Obviously this isn’t the same Noel Whelan who predicted that Royston Brady was on the pig’s back for a seat then?”. I think you’ll find he was either favourite or second favourite until the last week of the election. No one could have predicted the “my daddy was adjucted by the bombers” gaffe.”

    A lot of people were saying that his “avoiding the media” campaign just couldn’t work. That would have been the shrewd insider judgement, you’d expect from a real wonk.

    “Most people who view it as an election gimmick think it was a strategic masterstroke.”. How many of these have no sympahy with SF/IRA?”

    It’s the most common view I’ve seen in media, and obviously it’s not going to be coming from Shinners. They’re not going to be saying it’s an election gimmick, are they?

    The more critical view is that Adams just has to do this anyway, if not for Northern consumption, for Southern consumption.

    “You’re the first I’ve heard who thinks it a gaffe.”. I was the first to pour cold water on the Belfast Agreement on the web.”

    The GFA is still in play. Sometimes you need to read the UUP and DUP statements as electioneering too, you know.