Adams: expectations were too high…

Gerry Adams in interview with An Phoblacht, acknowledges that expectations, even at leadership level within the party were ignoring the party’s performance in 2002, and suggests that in reality there was probably only ever one gain (in all likelihood he’s referring to Padraig MacLochlainn, who, the tallies suggest, only missed out because Cecilia Keavney was eliminated before Niall Blaney). Jim Gibney scopes out the problem of cultural and political departure that eighty years of partition has created for the party. Whilst over at the Irish Democrat, Moya St Leger wonders why there is such pessimism within the Republic, when unification is closer than it has ever been.

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  • Nathan

    Adams no longer oozing with arrogance….breathtaking.

  • curious

    ‘However, it was the injustice of partition, particularly in the six counties where unionists set up a one-party sectarian state, which ultimately led to the revival of the republican struggle.’

    Jim Gibney, like a lot of brainwashed republicans want to learn their history. Partition was approved by the signatures of five members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and five members of the British Tory Party who were in power at the time.

    See all 10 signatures here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Anglo-Irish_Treaty_signatures.gif

    Not one Ulster Unionist or one member of the Orange Order was involved in setting up the state of Northern Ireland. : Notice Lord Carson’s signature is not on the document.

  • Ellie

    “Adams: expectations were too high…”

    Who raised them? Speaking to AP before the election he had these things to say…

    “there’s a huge amount of goodwill out there for Sinn Féin.”

    “I’m very satisfied that we’re going to get a very good response.”

    “All I know is that Sinn Féin is going to receive a very, very big vote.”

    “Sinn Féin is going to receive a mandate and in my opinion it is going to be a mandate for government”

  • Ellie,

    And what you would expect him to say prior to a general election? EVERY party leader talks up their election prospects because they simply HAVE to.

    Reg Empey and Mark Durkan both talked up their respective party’s prospects prior to the recent Assembly Elections, but in the end they both took an absolute pounding from Sinn Fein and the DUP respectively…

  • CTN

    Fair point mac, but pity he talked his own party into gettin a pounding on prime time…

  • Maggot

    “Reg Empey and Mark Durkan both talked up their respective party’s prospects”

    How are the mighty fallen if Adams has joined those two in the eyes of his own.

    Neither Empey nor Durkan were at the head of a party that was steadily progressing – they headed partys in decline. SF performance was bad enough – but if Adams had been sensible and warned that they shouldn’t take their electorate for granted, then he personally wouldn’t have been quite so diminished.

  • fair_deal

    The Adams interview is the first I have seen from SF that is asking the right questions about what went wrong with the exception of regurgitating the dubious squeeze argument. The Gibney column is a fine example of saying a lot without actually saying anything. The Irish Democrat piece is bog standard long-winded historical determinism.

  • Not one Ulster Unionist or one member of the Orange Order was involved in setting up the state of Northern Ireland. : Notice Lord Carson’s signature is not on the document.

    Posted by curious on Jun 03, 2007 @ 10:07 AM

    curious,

    That is taking spin just a tad to far, for as you are well aware the treaty was signed by the British government on behalf of the norths unionist community. Not least because there was no unionist government in the north in being at the time; and even in the corrupt and crazy world of British diplomacy private subjects[at the time] very rarely sign treaties on the governments behalf, although I believe it has occurred on the odd occasion in the rush to steal other peoples lands.

  • Maggot

    “the treaty was signed by the British government on behalf of the norths unionist community.”

    Can you explain? Seems like a strange spin.

  • Maggot,

    On the Election Special televised by RTE, Adams made the exact pont which ypu have accused him of not making. He was the only one of the 4 party leaders who specifically made the point that his party would not take the mandate of the electorate for granted.

    What you are forgetting is that the entire left of centre parties suffered. Both Labour and The Greens did much worse than they expected…

  • CTN

    Lets not forget Adams is admitting that the leadership were disconnected with their excessive optimism- this was not just a case of “cranking up the wow” but a genuine example of the SF leaderships ability to delude themselves and their members.

    Adams made the classic mistake of thinking that he was on a roll and the electorate weren’t goin to stop his party no matter how sloppy his prep work.

  • IJP

    The very first paragraph of Gibney‘s piece is nonsense to start with.

    First, he says the objective is an “independent Ireland”. Then he says it has not been achieved. Then he refers to “Irish reunification”.

    Actually the objective is a united republic of Ireland, an “independent Ireland” has been achieved, and “Irish reunification” would not deliver a united republic. It’s really basic stuff.

    All three of these are false right at the start. It appears the lessons from this election have not been learned at all.

    The basic lesson is stop living in a dream world. There are two utterly distinct jurisdictions on this island – legally, politically, socially, historically etc – unifying them in a republic is something no one has even begun to attempt seriously.

  • Maggot

    Mac – promising not to take the electorate for granted to the electorate on a TV show is one thing – a meaningless and empty promise for vote gathereing purposes – However the reality was that Adams’ machine – including an Phoblacht – did exactly the opposite.

    The An Phoblacht editorial ?

    “As voters go to the polls across the 26 Counties today, one thing is clear – when the votes are counted the republican party will once again have increased its political representation and strengthened its mandate.”

  • Brian Boru

    To be fair, most of the polls did strongly suggest gains for SF. I think they lost out because A: Their strongest support is among the 18-24 yr olds 75% of whom don’t vote. B: Their credibility was damaged by the failure to convincingly answer McDowell on the economy in the small-party leaders’ debates. C: An appalling lack of transfers from supporters of other parties. This resulted in them winning only 2.7% of the seats on 6.9% of the 1st preference votes. SF are if anything more transfer-repellent now than in 2002. Even I was shocked they failed to gain at least one seat in Donegal which all the pundits were giving them. D: SF is perceived as a party of the extreme-left and economically reckless. SF admitted in the campaign that SF favoured renationalisation of privatised semi-state companies – but failed to say where they would get the necessary €5 billion to pay for this would come from. The suddenness with which they dropped plans for a 51% top rate of income tax and a starting rate of corpo-tax of 17.5% looked like a blatent pitch for Middle Ireland and fooled noone.

  • CTN

    In fairness Mag they did increase their vote by circa 20,000.

    But crucially it fell in Dublin – their most important constituency both fundamentally and scientifically.

    Without very strong representation in Dublin their supposed “project for re-unification” cannot progress.

  • Whatever Next

    After all these years of trying by other means, I think Republicans may be about to kill off most Unionists, in that we all appear to be dying laughing. I think what *I’ve* laughest at most since the Free State general election has been all the tinny cries from Northern Fein posters insisting, nay, swearing on their mothers’ graves, FF are the island’s biggest Republican party. Well now you tell us! Funny enough, I remember when youse boys used to insist, if anything, even more loudly, that FF were only pretend republicans who didn’t give a damn about the North, and that Northern Fein were the only real Republicans in town. [Noises off: sound of clutched straws gripped ever more tightly: Exeunt Republic, followed by a grizzly]

  • Maggot

    CTN – was their vote increase not because they stood a lot more candidates ? If we were to compare their vote in absolute terms and in percentage terms in the 5 consituencies their TDs held until this election, was their vote up or down ?

  • CTN

    I don’t know constituency by constituency Mag, but yes they stood more candidates which upped their vote.

    I know that Daithi Doolan polled abysmally, at 1,500 votes he was down 500 on the last local government election with all the extra yardage of a general election constituency, also Aengus O’Snodaigh is only holding off Eric Byrne with 69 votes- that is well down on his 2002 showing.

    O’Snodaigh has lost his right hand man and DSF’s nominee for City Mayor Tony Smithers as Councilor in Ballyfermot, this compiled with the other obvious factors that have recently emerged to the detriment of DSF effectively put O’Snodaigh on death row….

  • Ellie

    “And what you would expect him to say prior to a general election? EVERY party leader talks up their election prospects because they simply HAVE to.”

    Let’s see now…he talks up the expectations…and then says that expectations were too high.

    He could have talked up the chances in terms of “an improving vote” or “hopefully increased representation”. That’s how people hedge their bets.

    But no: he was going to receive a big vote, so confident in it that they were going to hold the balance of power and even announced that a sub-committee was ready to do the horse-trading.

    I don’t remember Durkan planning the colour scheme for the DFM’s office, do you?

    Is republicanism’s short term memory so poor that they don’t remember what was said from one issue to the next?

    It’s a shame, though, that he didn’t blame the Orange Order or the Brits for talking up expectations. That would have been nice.

  • curious

    “the treaty was signed by the British government on behalf of the norths unionist community.”

    And why did Duffy, Collins, Griffith & the two other members of the IRB sign the treaty for? http://multitext.ucc.ie/viewgallery/1205

  • Ellie,

    Ellie,

    You are wrong about Durkan actually so perhaps you need to do some more research. During a radio interview in the week prior to the Assembly election, he said that the SDLP would “undoubtedly close the gap on Sinn Fein”.

    The eventual outcome was that the gap widened after SF trounced the SDLP in almost every single constituency in The North.

    You seem to refuse to accept that this happens frequently to many party leaders. David Ford of Alliance was another leader guilty of over-hyping his party’s chances, based on a few pre-election opinion polls which were ultimately misleading.

    Obviously, you are on some sort of personal tirade against Gerry Adams and SF, without accepting or recognising the general point;

    i.e. that many local party leaders have been guilty of the same ‘mistake’ in the past few months…

  • Ellie

    “without accepting or recognising the general point…that many local party leaders have been guilty of the same ‘mistake’ in the past few months”

    There’s some distance between talking up your chances and announcing a special sub-committee to present five just demands, isn’t there?

    Oh…and the good people of the south wanted to know why a local British parlimentarian even had his fizz on RTE.

  • CTN

    Ok mac which was his mistake?

    Do you think Adams merely overhyped or genuinely got disconnected like M.F. alleges he confessed to in An Phoblact?

  • Ellie

    “Obviously, you are on some sort of personal tirade against Gerry Adams and SF”

    You’re right. They bombed, maimed, murdered and shot people for three decades. And they were even more unpleasant to protestants.

    They’re the UPRG of republicanism…small time crooks and ex-cons posing as people with some sort of interest in peace and politics.

  • Maggot

    Mac – John Murphy made an interesting point in the Sunday Independent – SF’s best performer ?
    Caoimhghin O Caolain – but he didn’t top the poll as he did in 1997 and 2002.
    Martin Ferris was poll topper in 2002. Not this time.
    The other two scraped in.

    Brian Boru makes a telling pont – if the youngsters won’t vote for them they have no future .

  • curious

    ‘John Murphy made an interesting point in the Sunday Independent’ He sure does, SF told to “STAY UP NORTH & GET ON WITH IT”

    Murphy writes :
    “Debacle is not too strong a word for Sinn Fein’s Electoral performance” – “how did we all come to accept the glib talk of doubling their Dail seats, even trebling them on a good day ?”

    The bottom line is that Sinn Fein are down a seat since 2002. Of the four elected, only Caoimhghin O Caolain performed impressively in Cavan-Monaghan, though he didn’t top the poll, as he had done in 1997 & 2002. Martin Ferris in Kerry North (polltopper in 2002) and Arthur Morgan in Louth were the last to be elected in their respective constituencies. Aengus O Snodaigh was lucky to scrape home in Dublin South Central. Otherwise there is no Sinn Fein representative at all in the whole metropolitan area, despite the optimistic forecasts.
    Elsewhere in the State, no Sinn Fein candidate was returned in city, town or country, apart from the two border counties & traditionally strong North Kerry.

    Murphy also writes – “the single greatest miscalculation in Sinn Fein’s campaign was the emphasis on a united Ireland.”
    Second biggest miscalculation – “Sinn Fein was also mistaken in thinking it would get kudos from the southern electorate for accepting the PSNI & for the recent breakthrough in forming the power-sharing executive.”

    John A. Murphy also states – “In terms of Dail seats (4), Sinn Fein have made no advance since 1957”

    Jim Cusack also writes in the same Newspaper –

    “A Fine Gael source in Dublin South West, where Sean Crowe lost his seat, said :- “It was completely different from 2002. Back then, they had hundreds of young, angry men who were all over the place, shouting at us. It was, as if five years after 2002, they had become some kind of respectable political party, and the young guys in football shirts have switched off. And Adams’ performance on the telly was a real turn-off .”

    Read this and reflect upon the expectations that we had prior to the Election.

  • CTN

    Like I said from the start guys, its the resignations of their workers which are crippling the vote getting machine.

    This factor is set to continue with Eirigi’s decision to become a political party and the further deeper disillusionment of SF’s core workers post election ’07.

    Adams’ buffoonery in the media is hugely contributive also.

    They are in a huge nose-dive in Dublin and it will be nigh impossible for them to get the show back on the road again.

  • Valenciano

    Maggot: “CTN – was their vote increase not because they stood a lot more candidates ?”

    Yes Maggot it was entirely due to that. Ignoring new seats created by boundary changes (because SF contested the equivalent areas in 2002) SF stood in five new areas. Those being Clare, Kildare north, Tiperarry north, Kerry south and Limerick East. In those seats they polled a total of 8160 first preferences or 0.4% of the vote – exactly equivalent to their % vote increase.

    Brian Boru: “SF lost out because
    A: Their strongest support is among the 18-24 yr olds 75% of whom don’t vote.
    C: An appalling lack of transfers from supporters of other parties.
    D: SF is perceived as a party of the extreme-left and economically reckless.”

    All true but all the above also applied in 2002 as well. This time round Adams seemed even more out of touch with southern voters concerns and the bounce from the NI peace process seems to have subsided. SF also flip flopped on issues. Are they a radical protest movement for the disaffected or friends of Bertie and middle Ireland? They need to make their minds up on that if they want to advance any further.

  • I thought that Moya St Leger’s article in the Irish democrat was overall a bit too optimistic and seems somewhat disconnected from the reality of the North, although her appraisal of the new generation (in the Republic) in regards to their veiw of partition seems to be supported. And also, what are all these constant references to some sort of historical precedent of a united Ireland. As far as I know, Ireland was only ever really united for any significant period of time under the British colonisation, and the Uí Néill were often the most resistant to any native attempts to unite Éire before that, no?

  • CTN

    The situation is quite bleak for them Val as they do not have the numbers to be a protest movement anymore.

    They can’t afford to ditch the working class areas from were they receive a vote and especially now with their loser tag wouldn’t be the most palatable to middle Ireland either.

    The main thing for them to learn is to cool down, take their heads out of the clouds, get out there on a recruitment drive, formulate genuine economic policies which will appeal to the relevant section of the electorate and then call a press conference with grizzler putting his hands up.

    They should then embark of a series of campaigns to compensate for their lost relevance on the ground.

    But hey- thats just common sense and if Carlsberg did illogical, disconnected, obnoxious leaderships then the Adams/McGuinness axis would probably be the most illogical, disconnected and obnoxious leadership in the world…

  • Wilde Rover

    From the Irish News.

    “Sinn Féin, as the only major all-Ireland party in the country,”

    What about the Greens? OK, they haven’t made the complete breakthrough north of the border, yet, but they are the ones being courted for government on the largest part of the island.

    A positive spell in government south of the border could give them a boost north of the border in the next Assembly elections and they could be the ones in government north and south.

    But yes, SF can feel content that they have blocked the blueshirts. Pyrrhic victories still doing it for them, it seems.

    “Connolly Association president Moya St Leger argues that Irish citizens remain unprepared for unity”

    This would suggest that a UI is going to be presented to the majority of the island as a fait accompli. Speaking as a half nordie Mexican, I can attest to the amount of conversations with my fellow Mexicans I have killed by mentioning something to do with north of the border.

    Any mention of my time in Derry or Newry is greeted with the same look I would expect if I had said I had lived in some Tamil Tiger Disputed Zone. The eyes glaze over in a particular way, and they stare at a fixed point in the distance with uncanny discipline.

    United Irelanders have always staked everything: politically, ethically, philosophically, and demographically, on a majority of the people of the island wanting to re-unite. They could be very disappointed.

    After all, the abandoning Mexican bastards spunked you once before, what makes you think they wouldn’t do it again?

    Indeed, part of my transformation from UI believer into someone who favours a two-state solution developed from the realization that your average southerner is more likely to have a working knowledge of Sydney, Vancouver or the streets of Shanghai than they are of Derry or Belfast.

  • D C

    IJP stated:

    “The basic lesson is stop living in a dream world. There are two utterly distinct jurisdictions on this island – legally, politically, socially, historically etc – unifying them in a republic is something no one has even begun to attempt seriously.”

    I agree, even Sinn Fein’s focus on the 26 counties highlights their admittance of this because they seem to try and change hats when entering Northern/Southern political arenas, hence your argument being vindicated.

    But moreso, you left out economic entity, which could I suppose come under political circumstances; however, it is something Sinn Fein will have to synergise on an all-Ireland basis in order to start a proper debate towards a viable unification project.

    In doing so they will have to kick their cultural politics into touch and get some more brainy backoffice men in to their ranks, though why would you want to join an ethnic party so tarnished with a bloody varnish of ‘Troubles’ politics.

  • George

    Wilde Rover,
    your average southerner doesn’t want to impose a one-state solution on the people of Northern Ireland against their will.

    Equally, your average southerner doesn’t want to impose a two-state solution on the people of Northern Ireland against their will.

  • “Moya St Leger wonders why there is such pessimism within the Republic, when unification is closer than it has ever been.”

    That’s *because* unification is closer than it has ever been. If unification did come the Republic would face numerous social, economic and political challenges.

  • Garibaldy

    St Leger’s speech was a reminder of what a grotesque parody of itself the Connolly Association has become. From a progressive socialist organisation its has become tied solely to a communal nationalism. No mention of socialism anywhere on its website as far as I could see. On top of that I found the remark saying the morality of 1919-21 was the same as the Provos’ campaign particularly ironic. C Desmond Greaves certainly saw a difference.

    A disgrace to the name, and as the speech with its nonsense about the imminence of a united Ireland (10 years – what planet are you on?) showed.

  • Garibaldy

    no grasp of reality that previous post should end

  • Brian Boru

    “CTN – was their vote increase not because they stood a lot more candidates ? If we were to compare their vote in absolute terms and in percentage terms in the 5 consituencies their TDs held until this election, was their vote up or down ?”

    Dublin South West: Seán Crowe 20.29% (2002) 12.16% (2007) (loses seat)

    Dublin South Central: Aenghus O’Snodaigh (2002) 12.70, (2007) 10.15%

    Louth: Arthur Morgan (2002) 14.95%, (2007)15.04%

    Kerry North: Martin Ferris (2002) 24.24%, (2007) 20.43%

    Cavan-Monaghan: Caomhighin O’Caolain: (2002) 17.51%, (2007) 20.01%

  • curious

    “was their vote up or down ?”

    My calculations is

    2002 the overall five seats were 19.92%
    2007 they were ……………………15.53

    So they were down by 4.39% from 2002 to 2007

  • kensei

    “The Adams interview is the first I have seen from SF that is asking the right questions about what went wrong with the exception of regurgitating the dubious squeeze argument.”

    Yeah, it’s actually fairly sensible. With the bad campaign followed by the orgy of criticism here, it’s easy to forget he is a fairly astute operator, and had to be to move SF as much as he did.

    The squeeze argument does have a bit of truth to it, but I think partly it is there as this is to an internal audience to keep up morale a bit. SF’s next direction will certainly be interesting anyway.

  • CTN

    O’Snodaigh is very very lucky to still be a TD with a 10% return, even in a 5 seater.

    After returning 3 councillors in ’04 (2 who have since stood down) he was believed to a poll topper in the making for sure.

    They replaced Cllr. Andrew O’Connell in the South West Inner City Ward 2 years ago, but have they replaced O’Snodaigh’s co-Ballyfermot colleague- Cllr. Tony Smithers, who resigned a fortnight before the election?

    (N.B. Both are still party members.)

  • CTN

    He is only astute to a point kensei.

    Takin a pelting on the basic issues after deciding to change the economic policy it such a critical time in the campaign was highly inastute.

    Don’t overestimate Adams’ power to persuade as many, many of his former adjutants have forsaken him and many of those still present agree with the ex-members that the provies have been horrendously outflanked and are now painted into a corner.

    They blame the Adams/McGuinness axis for that.

    The justifiable criticism now received is a reflection on how badly the Adams/McGuinness axis have performed both in the election and in their parellel efforts to achieve Irish Unity, which is now after 3,500 deaths over 40 years very very far off.

  • Jimmy

    The Sinn Fein Project of securing power North and South and thus the mandate for Securing a United Ireland got the proverbial slap in the face by the Free State electorate.
    Lets face it, they are by far a more mature electorate than us in the North.
    Given the fact that we have power sharing in the North, we Buried have our differances so the Southern electorate have issued a resounding No to anything to do with the North. Power sharing has thus copper fastend Southern Complacency and the British statelet of NI. In a way it confirms the free state attitude toward us that has always permeated, i.e That we were embarrasing squabling in laws and well rid off. Who’d want to invite us into their home?. Sorry but Sinn Fein are stuck with the halfway house that is Stormont now, albeit a British House. In retrospect its all they deserve.

  • CTN

    I still think that it was Adams gettin rolled by McDowell together with his other high profile faux pas’ like referring to candidates in the wrong constituencies and MRSI bugs that disimproved the outcome dramatically for SF.

    Had he done the business with their economic policies (prep wise) last year and performed articulately on TV we would be talking about a better result for his party.

    In terms of achievement this result is a microcosm reflecting the competence of Adams & McGuinness- very limited…..

  • Mark

    He still doesn’t get it, does he?

    “the 26 counties”

    Nobody who lives in the Republic of Ireland aka Ireland, refers to themselves as living in the 26 counties. He’s not even able to refer to the place where his potential voters live by the name they, legitimately, call it by. How insulting.

    “There is a great deal of goodwill toward Sinn Féin”

    Not really. Most people see them as unreconstructed or barely reconstructed murderers and criminals. It may have seemed to them that I oozed goodwill when they called to my door because I am not in the habit of picking rows with scum like that.

    I cannot count the number of people who, when talking about the election, said something along the lines of “I don’t care who gets in as long as they don’t form a coalition with Sinn Féin”. And I work in a job that brings me into daily contact and conversation with people off all walks of life and all social strata. It was a pretty universal feeling.

    “We need to develop republican programmes”

    Why? Who the hell would they be preaching to except the converted? People in the Republic of Ireland wanted the violence in the North to stop. It’s stopped. Queue end of all interest.

  • Maggot

    Jimmy Рdemocratic parties (such as FF, FG, DUP and SDLP)and their supporters need to remember РSinn F̩in are still a danger. So set aside the usual ocnventions of gentlemanly behaviour and keep kicking the shinners while they are down.

  • The Dubliner

    “Given the fact that we have power sharing in the North, we Buried have our differances so the Southern electorate have issued a resounding No to anything to do with the North. “ – Jimmy

    The general election wasn’t a referendum on re-unification, so it is futile to read its outcome in that irrelevant context. The fact that so many people have interpreted the southern electorates’ disinterest in PSF as being disinterest in re-unification is probably the result of PSF successfully brainwashing them into thinking that the interests of that particular political party and the interests of Irish unity are one and the same thing.

    The fact is that PSF are seen by the southern electorate as having retarded the cause and course of Irish unity by several generations. They aren’t seen as being in any way relevant to achieving re-unification, beyond the slim hope that their desire to cynically use the issue to party political advantage will do as little long-term damage to the project as possible. PSF becomes defunct without partition. They want an end to it as much as turkeys want Xmass four times a year.

  • CTN

    I can understand why there is such a variety of opinion of what SF stands for The Dub, after all those vague platitudes Adams spewed out on Prime Time.

    These should have been clear cut policies, they have a chance now to lick their wounds and come back fighting but if past form is anything to go by they will stick to the same old same old and ferment.

  • another faceless poster

    “In terms of achievement this result is a microcosm reflecting the competence of Adams & McGuinness- very limited…..”

    Strategically they’ve been getting it wrong for a long time. They’ve relied heavily upon the loyalty and commitment of the membership. But that can’t be limitless.

  • Harry Flashman

    Where have all the SF posters gone? I’m not crowing or wanting them to come on here so I can yell “Ya boo, sucks to be you!” (well I might like to do it but it’s not my main purpose), but I genuinely believe that they are in post traumatic shock.

    Normally a thread discussing an interview in An Phoblacht with the Great Leader would have them all over the shop, but there’s no one here (at least none that I recognise), it’s an echo-chamber of us west Brits having a laugh at them.

    It’s a shame they aren’t here as I’d really love to ask what they think about Grizzly, is he ready for the metaphorical (I hope!) unmarked grave in a Monaghan forest? Are the rank and file thinking the unthinkable and contemplating getting rid of him?

    In any normal sane political party of course Adams would have handed in his cards last week and the new leadership hopefuls would already be jostling for the best slots in the radio phone in programmes. But it seems so different with the Moonies, they are presenting such an inscrutable face to the public but we can only imagine the turmoil going on in the background, Gerry must be so glad he decommissioned all those guns, I hope a leaderhip challenger didn’t manage to hold on to one!

  • Southern Observer

    FF are the island’s biggest Republican party.,
    I fairness i think this point was made by SDLPers rather than SFers.

  • Southern Observer

    On May the 24th I went into the polling booth and did what I have done in election after election going back yonks -i.e. went right down the ballot paper leaving the shinner out.Obviously 90% plus of my fellow electors followed suit.I have to say that I am flabbergasted by the avalanche of commentary that has followed the consequent SF eclipse.
    Wilde Rover:
    the abandoning Mexican bastards spunked you once before, what makes you think they wouldn’t do it again?
    I’ve been voting the same way for years and am far from unsympatheteic towards Northern nationalism.It’s news to me that I have suddenly morphed into an ‘abandoning Mexical bastard’.
    Jimmy:
    so the Southern electorate have issued a resounding No to anything to do with the North.
    In a way it confirms the free state attitude toward us that has always permeated, i.e That we were embarrasing squabling in laws and well rid off. Who’d want to invite us into their home?.

    This, with all due respects, indicates a gross misreading of the situation.It is based on the nonsequitur that failure to vote SF indicates hostility towards NI -specifically towards NI nationalists and *innate* hostility towards a UI as a philosophical concept.It is perfectly possible for those of whose who have thought things through to give the shinners the electoral cold shoulder because of positive concern for rather than hostility towards NI.It was not so much a rejection of republicanism so much as SF’s specific warped version of republicanism.This obviously puts us at odds with the Northern nationalist electorate but I would see them as being out of order not us.And why let the tail wag the dog? The SDLP are generally regarded as good things down south ,in stark contrast to SF, and the relatively recent publicity re Columbia,the Northern Bank, and the McCartney murder will have reminded the voters that the leopard may not have changed its spots.You may strongly disapprove of the behaviour of members of your family but they are *still* members of your family.Hopefully the result will provide the shock therapy needed to force our NI nationalist brethren back into the embrace of the nice,moderate,SDLP.
    The partitionist spin is also misleading.When you analyse matters closely you will realise that for the thinking ,rational nationalist who takes a holistic long term view of matters steering clear of SF makes a lot of sense.In simple terms their paramilitary dimension makes it impossible to connect with middle-of-the-roaders and their statist economics would spell the end of the Celtic tiger – neither of which is particularly UI friendly.
    A Northern political background,of the right sort, is actually a plus with the ROI electorate.In my own Munster constituency the former Alliance leader ,John Cushnahan, is elected over and over again.Two Northerners chalked up about two thirds of the vote in the last presidential election.
    There is a certain vicarious schadenfreude among unionism which is quite understandable – the bollicking at the polls which they fervently wished upon Sinn Fein has finally been delivered …..by the Southern electorate.
    Iris Robinson opined:
    The result further reinforces the fact that very few in the Irish Republic care much about what goes on in Northern Ireland.,
    In fact it indicates the opposite.There is an important point stemming from all of this which to the best of my knowledge has not been made.There is a certain type of naive Southern voter whose knowledge of NI consists of a few vague and largely misinformed general impressions.His reaction to spin like this will be something along the lines of ‘Jaypers I hope those’uns up there don’t think we’re giving them the brush-off.’
    SF are nothing if not resilient and resourceful.You can be sure that right now Adams and the boys are thinking their way back from this debacle and are already targeting Naive Southern Voter.They probably have in mind election literature with some choice quotes from Iris and Jeffrey.

  • curious

    ‘There is a certain vicarious schadenfreude among unionism which is quite understandable – the bollicking at the polls which they fervently wished upon Sinn Fein has finally been delivered …..by the Southern electorate. ‘

    Southern Observer

    Very true, however I think Unionists are more relieved over 2007 SF election results. With memories of Charlie H and other FF politicians who not only supported Adams, but were accused of supplying arms to the IRA, many still find it hard to trust any southern politicans especially from FF.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_Crisis
    Haughey served four terms as Taoiseach: from December 1979 to February 1992, and I doubt he will be turning in his grave knowing a future Taoiseach like Bertie Ahern was to become first Irish leader to address joint houses of British Parliament
    http://mdn.mainichi-msn.co.jp/international/europe/news/20070515p2g00m0in003000c.html

    This photograph of Paisley shaking hands with Ahern goes a long way to break that mistrust, and unionists are only delighted that Ahern will be Taoiseach for the next five years.

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2007/0404/breaking6.htm

  • David Ford of Alliance was another leader guilty of over-hyping his party’s chances, based on a few pre-election opinion polls which were ultimately misleading.

    Hysterically funny. There’s a huge difference between gaining a seat in an election where most commentators expect you to be wiped out, and losing on in an election where you expect to make sweeping gains.

    I can only hope your denial-filled and overly defensive reaction is typical of that among SF grass roots members. Sadly, I doubt it.

  • PaddyReilly

    It probably is a bit arrogant to think that you can bring NI politics to the Republic, but there now appears to be a movement to take things the other way. If the SDLP joins with FF, then we have to think about the other parties.

    The above mentioned John Cushnahan has already beaten a path for us. Alliance is just Norn Irish for Fine Gael. It all makes sense when you think about: they do have very much the same rhetoric.

    So Sinn Féin just have to realise that their party is really only a notational variant of a Southern outfit. And that, by process of elimination, has to be the Labour Party. Whether the Stickie/Provie feud can be repaired is a hard question, but I note that the Connolly Association web paper that Moya St Leger is writing in has a photograph of a commemoration at Lochgall with Gerry Adams and Martin McG in it.

  • CTN

    Agree with “another faceless poster” that the SF membership’s loyalty to the Adams/McGuinness axis is and for ex-members was limited.

    With so many people leaving SF after things like the McCartney murder, all the policy u-turns, and what was very long unpunished criminality of its senior members (particularly in Dublin) it is perfectly understandable.

    We have to remember that former heroes and founding members of the provisional movement have referred to the Adams/McGuinness axis as a diktat.

    Its one thing being a diktat but an incompetent one will always hemorrhage members, unless they are re-conscripted Nazi style.

  • Wilde Rover

    “I’ve been voting the same way for years and am far from unsympatheteic towards Northern nationalism.It’s news to me that I have suddenly morphed into an ‘abandoning Mexical bastard’.”

    I was referring to a strand of northern nationalist sentiment I have come across that, quite legitimately IMHO, feels resentment at the general southern apathy towards them.

    I experienced a taste of this sentiment when my southern reg car was spotted by one of my new neighbours when I moved into a house in Newry and he said “we don’t like Free Staters around here.” A Nation Once Again?

    Indeed, one of the commonalities I have found between people of all hues and affiliations on the island is the capacity for deeply paradoxical thought processes.

  • Where have all the SF posters gone? —-In any normal sane political party of course Adams would have handed in his cards last week and the new leadership hopefuls would already be jostling for the best slots in the radio phone in programs.

    Harry

    Makes a fair point, [above] but he knows im sure that this is the style of the sinners, limp away, let the wounds heal and then return to the fray. Myself I believe SF need to move there whole party apparatus to the south. One of the main factors in the Provos inability to continue the war was their decision to move their leadership structure into the north. [it would be interesting to know who first proposed this.] It sounded logical at the time but was in reality nonsensical.

    They have continued this practice with the party, thus we find the majority of SF’s leadership live and work in the north. Thus is it any surprise that many within the southern electorate refuse to see SF as a homegrown organization. When critiquing SF’s performance we should take into account that with the war over, they, like all political party’s fish in a small pond as far as recruitment is concerned, not least because in truth few people are interested in joining a political party.

    SF were able to a degree to overcome this in the north, but down south the same political climate does not prevail. Thus if the SF party are to grow, the second thing they should do after moving their headquarters to the RoI, should be to mount a recruitment campaign in their prime target seats. So that come the next election there will be no necessity to bus down northern comrades to do the work that local SF members should be doing.

  • CTN

    Agree with ya Mick, but their problem is after Adams bombin on Prime Time and the rise of Eirigi, SF will find it hard to recruit new members in this non-revolutionary climate.

    A mute point not discussed is SF’s possession of a magical “green register” which is supposed to accurately forecast the amount of votes to the tee that SF will achieve.

    When you remember McGuinness’ prophecy of a rising tide, one wonders where was this fabulous device?

    Or maybe did G-force blow it all on the telly in the final furlong?

  • kensei

    “Makes a fair point, [above] but he knows im sure that this is the style of the sinners, limp away, let the wounds heal and then return to the fray.”

    Well, except for the fact that this has been covered to death in other threads.

  • CNT

    I do not disagree with you, if you think about the caliber of many of those who have left SF in the north and RoI due to Adams strategy, the justification for which has always been growth in both membership and votes, it is difficult not to conclude that Adams and McG have been just a tad careless with their party.

    Although I fear instead of looking at the real reasons for SFs failure; like Blair with Iraq, the current SF leadership will deny their mistakes and simple hasten their journey to the populist centre. If so I fear they are doomed to remain on the fringe of southern politics.

  • saveus

    As a long time SF activist last months results came as no shock to me. They showed us first and foremost that organisational difficulties and weaknesses in the south cannot be ignored or circumvented by bussing in activists from across the north or by parachuting in “managers” who ignore local knowledge. The reason we did so badly in the south is reflected in all the posts and articles (with the exception of Gibneys, which is pure bollix) that have been written since. The reasons for this setback are many and they are complex and the challenge to the leadership will only emerge if they try to ignore the reasons or stifle discussion about them. It must be welcomed that the party has already commenced this process through Pat Doherty and Rita O’ Hare.

    We must remember that this is only a setback and not a disaster, 2012 is only around the corner in republican terms. What should republicans do? Firstly do not be despondent. There is a need within the party to openly engage in a period of critical analysis( a la policing debate) about the last two years and learn the lessons dare I say it from the WP and DL. SF must change as an organisation and it must change its organisational behaviour. Democratic centralism does not work in an open political party in the same way in might work in an army. Some of the key thinkers and strategists in the party fail to see beyond this basic premise. There is a widespread belief (within activists) that the party has never been structured or administered in a more conspiratorial and dictatorial manner than it is currently. Many long standing and competent activists are being stood down to make way for less competent activists who will “take the line”. Most of the major decisions that should be taken by local organisations, selection conventions (see Mary Lou) AGMs etc are now a done deal even before those meetings occur. This is the type of organisational behaviour that led to the bitter and acrimonious split that spawned Democratic Left.

    This is only a starter for ten after the structure the has been resolved (and I don’t see the need for the leadership to step down, merely extended into the south) the function of the party must be reassessed in the same manner

    The party must be built and structured in a way that it recruits and retains young, radical political activists, who must be allowed to flourish as the new and emerging leaders. The “elite praetorian guard” must accept that for the republic to become a reality they may well have to relinquish ownership of the only organisation that could ever achieve it- A revolutionary Sinn Féin with a radical and empowered membership and a radical left wing agenda that is relevant to the people of Ireland north & south.

  • CTN

    From what I know from ex-shinners (high caliber, pragmatic people – not rejects) A.&McG. airbrush nearly all opinions outside thir own.

    It will be interesting to see if the grass roots can loosen their grip to any extent now.

    Dublin SF could seriously melt down with membership loss and the course of upcoming elections.

    If they lose Mary Lou (now very vulnerable) and a couple of councilors- Doolan took a pounding with (SF protester Esther Uzell polling over 600 votes) then the odds are that O’Snodaigh who is supported by two stand in councilors will fall as well- he’s only hangin in by 69 votes.

    The rise and augmenting of Dublin SF is grizzler’s primary intermediate goal.

    Where that to collapse in his golden years he could retire (or be forced) from politics an abject failure as he already carrys the blame for setting the potential meltdown in motion…

  • CTN

    I catch your drift an all that save but facts are for many critics and non aligned republicans its like watchin a bad football team under a bad manager- many footy fans are cruel to be kind for the sake of the game and want the team (even for some if its their own team) to lose hoping the manager gets sacked.

    Your efforts to remain within SF and continue are admirable to many but you have a mountain to climb baby – good luck to ya…

  • saveus

    CTN,
    I think you have been wanting SF to do badly for a long time now. New teams and new managments are hard to come by, sometime you have to do the best with the team that you have and devise a gameplan that, maximises your strengths, mimimises your weaknesses and stifles your opponents game plan. This is the objective reality of the curent situation,Your assertion that Eirigi could do any better is foohardy IMHO, There is only one movement that will take us to the republic we all want, warts and all its better than staying at home or engaging in student union politics

  • latcheeco

    The lesson still hasn’t been wholely learned from the days of Aran jumpers, duffle coats and pipes. People that doing fairly well financially don’t vote for people with columbia stamped on their (false) passports with pie in the sky viva cuba economic policies and that is the main reason (its the economy fuckwit)votes drop or don’t transfer

  • CTN

    Like you said it was “no shock” to you- me neither.

    I know you are tired after all your canvassing and am not kicking you when you are down.

    Let me assure you as a political neutral, I’ve have no bias to Eirigi but as they are leeching your members in Dublin, putting large campaigns together and SF aren’t, it’s only logical that this will alter the balance of power between you if/when Eirigi compete in elections and harm you even if they don’t as you run short of canvassers etc.

    In regard to student politics many shinners have left the fold and I’m sure many more feel they should have limited their “blow for Ireland” to an odd blog or two rather than put in all the work on the ground for grizz to goof it up orating about the southern economy with all the authority of Michael Barrymore.

    But hey thats life and politics for ya & like I said don’t be down in the mouth – the best of luck kiddo!

  • BOM

    Ha Ha Gerry – get over yourself and admit that you did s**t!!

    Previous posters are right in saying that in anyother party the leader would have been forced to resign after such a bad result in an election.

    But then who would be next in line for the job?

    I only hope that the electorate in the North start to catch themselves on and realise that SF are the biggest Hoodwinkers in Ireland – by the next election in the North we will hopefully have a rejuvenated SDLP or an SDLP aligned with Fianna Fail or another Southern party!

    I cant wait to see the smiles wiped off of all the Northern Shinners who think they are God’s gift to the electorate!!

  • pith

    “Adams: expectations were too high”

    Was 3000 not enough for you?

  • kensei

    “Let me assure you as a political neutral, I’ve have no bias to Eirigi”

    *Splutter*

    BOM

    “Previous posters are right in saying that in anyother party the leader would have been forced to resign after such a bad result in an election.”

    Sammy put it best when he said SF weren’t going to risk 80 and 90% votes in some places in Belfast for maybe making some small gains in Dublin. And it’s not like there are no other approaches than can try first without shifting leader.

  • CTN

    Leader & President.

    They need to separate both offices, like Labour have with Pronsias De Rossa as their president (or he was last time I knew)- leave Adams as President and wheel him out to make romantic belches when the North-South ministerial council takes place inter alia.

    Then appoint a southern based leader up to scratch on economics- hopefully for them a Michael Caine factor will kick in after about 5 years- Gerry Adams is the President of SF- “not a lot of people know that”.

    Kensei me oul flower, I may seem obsessed with the growth of Eirigi v SF, this is purely because I knew real grafters in SF who shifted from one to the other, I feel their emergence is a very important factor overlooked by many.

    No apologies matey but I am linked to no political group, however intriguing they all might be….

  • CTN

    Clarification re importance of Eirigi’s growth.

    Certainly in the short term this is restricted to being a contributory factor in the decline of DSF.

    Long term they may or may not achieve electoral success- if they even decide to contest elections.

    They may end up an effervescent leftist micro-grouping consigned to history after 5 years or something similar to the Socialist party/SWP type movements- who knows…

  • snakebrain

    Excellent post from Southern Observer, elucidating much of what I suspected about voter reactions to SF in the South, particularly with regard to less savoury aspects of their behaviour re: McCartney, Columbia etc, and the absence of realistic economic understanding.

    The Republic has a much more mature electorate, which is remote from the extremism fostered by our abnormal situation in the North and hence capable of viewing the situation with more perspective than those in the North, who tend to be much more emotive in their voting pattern.

    I find it encouraging that they want little to do with SF, whose sinister behaviour effectively debars them from government in what has become an extremely successful independent nation. There has been too much progress made in the South for voters to countenance the presence in positions of power of an organisation like SF, with its unpleasant fascistic streak, and its tendency to reject any who challenge its views as traitorous. Those are not values compatible with a successful democracy which has the best interests of the whole of its population at heart.

    It’s also heartening to see that Southern Observer is able to see past the hype, and understand that Republicanism/Nationalism are not qualities under the sole jurisdiction of SF. That’s an important development; one of the biggest sources of my distaste for SF has been their “with us or against us” blackmailing of the Nationalist population of Northern Ireland.

    The SDLP, despite their recent electoral setback, are in an ideal position to develop into a successful position in Ireland, so long as they address the internal issues of organisational culture and party discipline which are currently holding them back. Their core philosophies actually have much more long-term viability than those of SF, and, in an all-Ireland context, they have never been tarred with the brush of violence and criminality which utterly destroys SF’s credibility with the majority of the Irish people. It is only in Northern Ireland that people are prepared to overlook such behaviour in exchange for political representation.

    I hope to see reason restored to Northern Irish Nationalism over the coming years, and the electoral consequences of that can only be in the direions suggested by Southern Observer.

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