Someone (the online version comes without a byline) in the Sunday Independent is unimpressed with Gerry Adams’ apparently more emolient tone towards Unionists recently. They cite a recent debate in Strabane District Council in which the party used its dominant position to adopt its own party position on the unification of Ireland, in spite of opposition from all the other parties.
I hope I’m wrong, but I still believe Sinn Fein strategy is to talk peace, yet destabilise Northern Ireland by winding up the Prods and then blaming them when power-sharing doesn’t happen. Still, the DUP is learning something. In Strabane, for instance, its spokesman countered the United Ireland motion by citing the views of several members of the Dail, including Bertie Ahern, Liz McManus and Liz O’Donnell.
Indeed. Even so the Strabane and Moyle manouevers seem aimed more at unsettling the SDLP than winding up unionists. And it is sometimes forgotten that as an independent political party, Sinn Fein is perfectly entitled to use whatever legal means it can to achieve it’s end.
However in terms of Sinn Fein’s perceived strategy of ‘winding up the prods’, the DUP appears to be calling time by simply playing the ball back. The fact that such ‘games’ as are open to ambitious parties of either stripe are ‘zero sum’ is a reflection of the lack of power available to anyone locally.
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