Why Sinn Fein’s Long March was halted in the south…

Fascinating final analysis from WorldbyStorm of the general failure of the left in the Republic’s elections, and Sinn Fein’s failure to capitalise on it’s achievement of power in Northern Ireland. He targets the party’s ruthlessly pragmatic abandonment of leftist policy, in the immediate run up to the election (here’s the latest clarification of how the party stands on the southern economy).

Maybe people don’t want the left in power, but they want it to act as joker and conscience to those who are in power. That’s enormously unsatisfactory, isn’t it? But it does suggest that Labour, the Greens and Sinn Féin had better come up with a much more coherent approach in the future, one that doesn’t mistake arriving in government with the achievement of their basic objectives.

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  • Cato

    Sounds a bit like Benn saying that Labour lost the 1983 election because their manifesto was not sufficiently left-wing!

  • Cato

    And note to Sinn Fein re. O’Caolin press release – a party which wins 4 seats in the Dail is not in a position to demand anything.

  • Crow

    Very good article. I think as far as policy abandonment goes, the means will always justify the end for Sinn Fein, the end being a United Ireland. It’s somewhat cliche but in this respect SF is really more a movement than a party and from their perspective it is unfortunate (irritating?) that you need to have positions on things like corporate taxation, health-care costs, planning permission, etc. In many ways SF is FF at the time of their establishment in 1926. That said, the hard-left space was never large and appears to have shrunk even further in the glow of the Celtic Tiger. To achieve their goals, SF must go after the soft left New Labour like voters that have traditionally been very comfortable in FF. This is no mean feat, Labour hasn’t succeeded in doing it in eighty years.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Possibly because Labour have never been ‘up’ for making the inevitable compromises?

  • Gerry Kelly

    Crow: What do you think of SF becoming juniour Unionist partner in propping up the 6 cos? Is this part of the United Ireland by 2016 plan and, if so, are the Paisleys in on it? You want SF to further confirm they are political prostitutes. All Paisley wanted was for them to wear sackcloth and ashes, not to be harlots taking it up the ass for Ireland, free, united, Gaelic and with a high FIFA ranking.

  • Crow

    Gerry Kelly,

    I think it has already been established what they are, now we are just haggling over the price. That said, at the end of the day one has to admire their tenacity and singlemindedness. If them, who else would push UI agenda?


    Maybe when your only strategy is to become the new SDLP this is what happens?

  • seanzmct

    Sinn Fein has, until recently, been a militant movement for Irish Unity . All else, including its so-called socialism is, and always has been, secondary to that objective.

    However,now that SF has belatedly signed up to the principle of consent ( once reviled as the “unionist veto”) and given that the British influence on the North is now widely perceived as generally benign, what is Sinn Fein for anymore?

    Its activism has enabled it to overtake the SDLP in the North as a party of Catholic communalism,however its scope for development in the Republic is limited by the very logic of the peace process. No longer can SF feed off its victim status; after all, it is now part of the Northern establishment. And, as time goes on, the armed struggle will appear ever more foolish.