Adams and the problem of detachment…

Nelson McCausland has accused Gerry Adams of being an absentee MLA (as opposed to an abstentionist MP). PA notes that besides having no ministerial responsibilities, he doesn’t sit on any Stormont committees. He certainly intends to be absent from Stormont today, when he will sit in the public gallery of Dail Eireann for the vote for the new taoiseach. Whatever the party had planned for the post general election, the party’s poor election performance has seen it all but buried in the flurry of media coverage of the Green/Fianna Fail deal. Certainly remaining so detached from the machinery of government cannot help him work on some of his own deficits that were shown up in so dramatically in the public debate.

, , ,

  • curious

    Gerry Adams is not a very happy man. One reason he is avoiding been seen at stormount is probably because he is still suffering from embarrassment over the recent ROI elections were SF only managed to secure four seats a loss of 20% from the 2002 election.

    Like I said in another thread, the very fact the Green party with six seats has been invited to form government with FF must be a rude awakening for Gerry & Sinn Fein who polled so poorly in the recent 2007 election.

    Interesting enough the Green Party is the only other party which has an all Ireland cross border political mandate like Sinn Fein.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Party_(Ireland)

    However, unlike SF the GP is not an all out republican party whose main agenda is a United Ireland.

    Is there not a message here for Gerry Adams when he will sit in the public gallery of Dail Eireann today that the voters in the ROI are more interested in all island of Ireland green policies, than in forcing 10% of Unionists in the north to support the obsessive SF policies for a political United Ireland?

  • austin

    ‘Is there not a message here for Gerry Adams when he will sit in the public gallery of Dail Eireann today that the voters in the ROI are more interested in all island of Ireland green policies, than in forcing 10% of Unionists in the north to support the obsessive SF policies for a political United Ireland?’

    A curious and spurious argument not based on fact. SF got 6.9% of the First Preference vote compared to 4.7% gor the Greens.

  • ath

    and how many seats did that 6.9% get them? Apart from people who vote 1st preference the of the country think they’re a bunch of eejits (to out it lightly lol).

  • aust

    OK, let’s completely disregard the 6.9% of the electorate just to give your argument some credibility.

  • curious

    [b]Nelson McCausland has accused Gerry Adams of being an absentee MLA[/b]

    Nelson McCausland DUP MLA, might do the honourable thing and mention another absentee MLA namely David Burnside who still thinks he is a westminister Member of Parliament.

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/david_burnside/south_antrim

    UUP MLA David Burnside is more interested in his London business interests and westminister connections than he is in attending Stormont in support of his fellow UUP MLA’s.

  • curious

    [b]A curious and spurious argument not based on fact. SF got 6.9% of the First Preference vote compared to 4.7% gor the Greens[/b]

    Austin,

    Your statement only proves that GF used good vote management 4.7% of the vote to gain six seats and SF’s used 6.9% of the votte to only secure four seats.

    Poor, indeed very poor vote management by SF.

    2002 SF won five TD seats.
    2007 SF won four TD seats

    Any 14 year old doing their sums corrrectly could work out SF had a total loss of TD seats in Dail Eireann of 20% from 2002 to 2007. Nothing spurious about that Austin.

  • Briso

    Mick wrote:
    >he will sit in the public gallery of Dail
    >Eireann for the vote for the new taoiseach.
    …..
    >Certainly remaining so detached from the
    >machinery of government cannot help him work on
    >some of his own deficits that were shown up in
    >so dramatically in the public debate.

    Surely attending the Dail is a contribution to helping him work on his deficits? It’s the politics of the Dail that he needs to improve on, no? Some might say that the less time he spends at Stormont, the better for SF in the long term…

  • In theory, yes. But, in practice, there is no substitute for participation. Learning by doing. There is the space in Stormont for him to get the experience, but it looks like party strategists just hadn’t figured on the knock back, otherwise he would have been given some kind of senior office.

    There is a problem with the Dail from a Sinn Fein point of view certainly, but is that not Caoimhin’s job to sort out? Sitting the public gallery risks Adams looking like a supernumerary and gives the impression that somehow he doesn’t quite trust his leader there to do the job.

    At a guess (and it is only a guess) I would say he’d been slotted to build his island wide profile on what was hoped would be a successful media campaign and with a doubled number of TDs at his back. I’ve no doubt he’ll take whatever heat comes his way manfully. But it gives the distinct impression that there had been no alternative strategy planned for this situation.

    With negotiations with the British now at the end, Adams is beginning to look junior to his number two (McGuinness) and his nominal number three (O’Caolain).

  • Briso

    Mick, all fair points. I wonder whether there might be mileage in really giving him a sort of presidential role to match his title? It’s something Hume went some way towards. Foreign contacts, overall strategy, PR, top-level negotiations. The problem is that most political leaders are too arrogant to accept that the nitty-gritty can be better left to others. Even Hume took a considerable time to be persuaded that Mallon was the man for the DFM job. Adams has at least shown he can accept this to some degree by appointing McG as DFM without any apparent difficulty. It would mean giving a TD a much higher profile than at present and I wonder if the one they had planned to anoint is actually in the Dail. O’C is a safe pair of hands but I can’t see him leading a SF charge back in the polls. It does seem to be a tricky one.

  • Nelson has got some cheek to be honrst !

    Perhaps he might care to relay a few of his own party’s level of attendance at Westminster…

  • Ginfizz

    Figures?

  • Briso,

    Your suggestion certainly makes sense, and perhaps had there been an alternative strategy it is something we might be seeing the beginnings of now.

    The problem is the opportunity cost of the peace process period. A lot of time (and goodwill) has evaporated since 1998. Some of SF’s problems in the south is a degree of impatience with people who, when hardy comes to hardy, can only close a deal when their hand is forced.

    Hume, by contrast, had a capacity to broker money and deals, which largely came from his early time in Europe, when NI really needed help. He went to Strasbourg with passably decent French, which probably allowed him to hit the ground running more than many other of his Irish and British colleagues. It’s certainly one reason why a still strongly unionist friend of mine voted for him back in ’79.

    But he also assiduously courted friends and influence in Dublin, Washington and London in both public and private spheres. If Gerry is going to go down that route, he’d need to get cracking.

    Agree entirely with you on the safety factor of O’C. But, as you say, safe is not good enough in this game. The ‘loss’ of Pearse Doherty will likely tell heavily in that respect.

  • curious

    [b] Perhaps he might care to relay a few of his own party’s level of attendance at Westminster…[/b]

    Macswiney,

    At least the nine DUP westminster MP’s, three SDLP MP’s and one UUP MP attend parliament, unlike the five shinner MP’s who refuse to take their seats.

  • curious

    [b]Grizzly’s four horsemen[/b]

    Could the four horsemen of Gerry Adams, and those from SF/IRA been the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse traditionally named [b] PESTILENCE, WAR, FAMINE AND DEATH[/b] over the past 35 years?

  • kensei

    Is that man or ball, there, Gerry?

    Mick

    “The problem is the opportunity cost of the peace process period. A lot of time (and goodwill) has evaporated since 1998. Some of SF’s problems in the south is a degree of impatience with people who, when hardy comes to hardy, can only close a deal when their hand is forced. ”

    You are over analysising.

    Their deal closing ability or otherwise is irrelevant in the South. What cost them goodwill was Columbia, Northern Bank, McCartney murder. Some or all of which could have happened even if SF had have “closed” before now. If they had have been in the position they are now, they may have had a freer hand but there would still have been damage.

    But that misses the wider point. The polls indicated they recovered a fair percentage of that good will leading up to the election. What they found is that good will isn’t enough once you are placed under scrutiny and the election has consequence. And that would have been the same regardless of when that happened.

    As for Gerry, he has two options:

    1. He stands for election in the South. Very uncertain, also risks monumental vote percentage in West Belfast.
    2. He devolves more power to MMG and O’C, and takes a more over arching role. As President he supplies the vision, people in the two jurisdictions do what is appropriate and necessary to achieve it.

  • stamper

    Gerry Adams has contempt for his constituents – the fact that he honours none of his mandates should be no surprise.

    As he is often fond of pointing out, West Belfast has some of the areas of highest deprivation in the North.

    One day, perhaps, the people of that part of the world will make the connection between this fact and the parlimentary work rate of their MP.

  • Cruimh

    “SF got 6.9% of the First Preference vote compared to 4.7% gor the Greens.”

    How did their first preference vote do in the 5 constituencies they won in 2002 ?

  • kensei

    “One day, perhaps, the people of that part of the world will make the connection between this fact and the parlimentary work rate of their MP.”

    Yeah, because whether Gerry Adams turns up for Prime Ministers questions will solve the problems of West Belfast.

  • Mark

    “But he also assiduously courted friends and influence in Dublin, Washington and London in both public and private spheres. If Gerry is going to go down that route, he’d need to get cracking.”

    He’s simply not the right person for that job. The extent of the baggage he carries would repel many of the people he needs to court and as an individual just isn’t the type they want to mix with privately or be associated with publicly.

    Actually at this juncture it’s getting harder and harder to see what job he is the right person for.

  • kensei,

    Sorry to sound a bit uppity, but I do wonder how closely you read these threads bytimes? I was answering Briso’s suggestion, not giving a general analysis.

  • Kevster

    It will probably take a few months to see what Sinn Fein’s strategy will be regarding Leinster House. I suspect it will take some time before the barriers between them and a majority of the voting public will erode to the point where they can be a mainstream political party.

    But where there are people as obviously dedicated as the core of their organisation are, I wouldn’t be so confident of their demise as some here are.

    Sinn Fein ain’t dead, they just smell funny right now.

  • kensei

    “Sorry to sound a bit uppity, but I do wonder how closely you read these threads bytimes? I was answering Briso’s suggestion, not giving a general analysis.”

    I suggest you play by your own fucking rules.

    In that post, in answer to Briso, which oddly enough witht he ability to read I did notice, you made a fairly wide point regarding people’s impatience with SF’s ability to “close a deal”. I disagree that it matters. In fact I think it doesn’t matter one bit, and I think that is over analysing the situation when there are bigger, more obvious reasons for the loss of goodwill. So I challenged that point. I agree with some of the other bits you said, so I didn’t challenge them because, well, I agreed with them.

    So, to be blunt, what the fuck is your problem?

  • I Wonder

    Anger management issues.

  • Calm down, calm down!!

    You said I was overanalysising. Fine, no problem with that. And I’ve no problem with what you want to factor in. But why is the slowness of their deal making to be discounted?

    Look at the bye FF was given over the late delivery of capital projects, the cock-ups over the tunnel, and the massive overshooting of the budget on the Luas.

    Frankly, from a southern pov, a government that messes up in the kind of quick timeframe FF has been working in gets forgiven, because the tax base is high in this high growth era and that it is seen to be delivering badly needed infrastructural projects.

    Now look at the ponderous pace of the peace process aimed, perhaps, at ‘burning off’ unionist opposition, and it just doesn’t scan t the average voter in the Republic.

    Right actor perhaps, just the wrong play.

  • curious

    Poem for Gerry Adams.

    The Indispensable Man

    (Saxon White Kessinger)

    Sometime when you’re feeling important;
    Sometime when your ego’s in Bloom
    Sometime when you take it for granted
    You’re the best qualified in the room.

    Sometime when you feel that your going
    would leave an unfillable hole
    Just follow these simple instructions
    and see how they humble your soul.

    Take a bucket and fill it with water
    Put your hand in it up to the wrist
    Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
    Is the measure of how you’ll be missed.

    You can splash all you wish when you enter
    You may stir up the water galore.
    But stop and you’ll find that in no time
    It looks quite the same as before.

    The moral of this quaint example
    Is just do the best that you can.
    Be proud of yourself but remember,
    There’s no indespensable man.

  • kensei

    “You said I was overanalysising. Fine, no problem with that. And I’ve no problem with what you want to factor in. But why is the slowness of their deal making to be discounted?”

    Because I don’t think the South pays enough attention to the detail of Northern situation for it to matter; because bad news is always bad news, and conversely properly good news is always good news at no matter what point it is introduced, and will produce the relevant good or bad will; and because I think there are much better explanations out there. We get fed up with the endless deal making, back tracking, back biting, hypocrisy and nonsense that all parties here are engaged in. The Republic can just filter it out.

    In terms of FF, I think that cock ups only kill off weak governments; they aren’t enough in themselves to do fatal damage. FF had three great things going for them – 1. the ability to use the PDs and McDowell in particular as a lightening rod for hate 2. The overriding concern, especially in Dublin, was the economy, and 3. The opposition didn’t look like it was giving a proper alternative direction.

  • snakebrain

    I think there’s something in what Mick said about the Southern electorate’s view of a political party that has consistently prevaricated, obfuscated, and stubbornly refused to move forward as quickly as possible. To say nothing of the fact that they did so whilst coyly holding the threat of more death and destruction in their back pocket as a bargaining chip.

    McCartney, Colombia and the Northern Bank undoubtedly did have an effect, but only really as symptoms which confirmed the broader general view. The Southern population who are doing very nicely, thank you very much, have absolutely no desire to see the increased influence of a bunch of crazed ideologues in their modern, vibrant and successful state, which has come so far.

    They view the situation in the North as a darkly regressive stain on the future of the island, and, not being blinkered by their hatred of the British state or the Unionist population, are not afraid to say so.

    Neither do they have any particular reason to be afraid of saying so, unlike those in the North for whom the memories of shootings and bombs are still very fresh.

    I view the SF electoral result in the South as a wake-up call to the North to decide whether it wishes to continue to endorse sectarian violence, and those who have propagated it, and have no other useful function, and those who genuinely desire to see real progress.

    The sight of Adams humiliating himself before a real electorate with his half-baked economics and ideological nonsense that would beggar the island he claims to love so much was truly enlightening. In truth, the man loves only himself, his cookie-jar philosophy and the power he can manipulate through fear. Long may the South continue to reject him and his party.

  • DC

    “when he will sit in the public gallery of Dail Eireann for the vote for the new taoiseach… Certainly remaining so detached from the machinery of government cannot help him work on some of his own deficits that were shown up in so dramatically in the public debate. ”

    Oh Mick, you are very subtle with your implications. Thanks for your link to the Great-Debate which has been watched three times now and no doubt will be watched again – its great.

    Gerry: “is the economy serving the people or are the people serving the economy and Sinn Fein’s very very clear view is that the economy should be serving the people…everyone has rights.”

    Negative politics pitched to pander to the protest vote especially rural Ireland which has been “decimated”.

  • BogExile

    Very well put curious. Or to put it another way with apologies to that other well known Republican fantasist, WB Yeats:

    AN IRISH PARTY LEADER FORSEES ITS DEATH:

    I KNOW that I have met my fate
    At the hands of the voters of my free state;
    My Orange enemies they did not hate
    My economic nonsense they did not love;
    My country is extremely cross,
    It seems that they don’t give a toss,
    They didn’t like my deep green gloss
    They are happier than before.
    And I’m a sad irrelevant bore
    I balanced all, brought all to mind,
    The years to come seemed waste of breath,
    A waste of breath the years behind
    In balance with this life, this death

  • DC

    Interesting to note from the UTV story:

    “Other party leaders manage to be there. A possible explanation is that having been portrayed as an international statesman he may not be able to reconcile himself to simply being one of 108 MLAs.”

    Mr Adams` official retorted: “Gerry Adams has an unparalleled record in representing his constituents in west Belfast. This is just a bit petty from Nelson McCausland.”

    He was at Downing Street today to press for more money for the power-sharing executive during the last days of Tony Blair`s premiership.

    EHMM??????????? When hearing Gerry Adams stating is the economy working for the people of Ireland nonsense how underhanded is it of him to visit Westminster to irritate its leaders by seeking other people’s money from their London-driven economy, while in turn not even having the decency to show his face at the Westminster Parliament to account for taking it.

    Having listened to Sinn Fein’s sauntering on slandering subvention over the years to now hear news from SF press that Adams is in fact in London looking for more from the block-grant leads logical thinkers to the conclusion that he’s a fecking sectarian two-faced prick.

    The truth is there is as much chance of having a socialist Sinn Fein Northern Ireland than there is of ever seeing it in Southern Ireland, with most of the money used to provide it here actually being raised from the economics of UK membership.

    In conclusion – credibility alert for Sinn Fein!

  • kensei

    “The truth is there is as much chance of having a socialist Sinn Fein Northern Ireland than there is of ever seeing it in Southern Ireland, with most of the money used to provide it here actually being raised from the economics of UK membership.”

    It’s an example of patronage politics that results from the situation here, which I dislike: http://www.tomgriffin.org/the_green_ribbon/2007/05/can_all_ireland.html

    Though, given this is how the Assembly raises its money, what exactly else can he do? He could try to start a fight over tax raising powers, but I doubt it would fly with the DUP and, to be honest just spending the money over the next five years is probably more sensible to get the infrastructure up to scratch, then pushing for fiscal responsibility.

  • interested

    So according to SF
    “Gerry Adams has an unparalleled record in representing his constituents in west Belfast”

    Well they would say that, wouldn’t they! Its the standard politicians response in response to any query about their ability.

    And anyway, he may well be fantastic at getting the DLA forms filled in, but exactly how does that equip him with the knowledge and expertise for Government? Its a relevant point that he’s never sat on any Assembly committee which is bound to give at least a little preparation and insight into the workings of Government here in NI. And anyway, a fair bit of the DLA form filling can be done with a few half-decent staff in the office. He might pop in to sign a few of the letters if the rubber stamper gets broken the odd time.

    Frankly if sitting in the gallery in Dublin is supposed to qualify him on the economy then Government could be run by any nutter who has the time and inclination to sit through debates in any Parliament. Get the Dail televised live with a channel equivalent to the Parliament Channel and he brush up on his ladybird economics in his pyjamas without having to leave the luxury pile in Donegal!

    It does beg the question – just what is it that Gerry does? And for the Shinners out there, exactly what use is he to you now?

  • DC

    “Though, given this is how the Assembly raises its money, what exactly else can he do?”

    Well he could grow-up a little and attend Westminster, look into lobbying officially rather than being a back-door attender at the British political table once listened to mainly as a former threat-boy.

    The point I am making is that Northern Ireland is in fact a more socialist economy than the South what with a stable if not planned economy, given the nature of employment and block grants.

    It is driven by people’s money, a UK subsidy, something which Gerry wanted to do in the South but because he couldn’t find the resources via economic costings the people used their voting rights to say no.

    Patronage politics maybe one way of looking at it; however, it’s a stable economy of which the likes of Donegal and the west side of Ireland would be truly grateful of.

  • Briso

    Posted by DC on Jun 15, 2007 @ 12:29 PM
    >Patronage politics maybe one way of looking at
    >it; however, it’s a stable economy of which the
    >likes of Donegal and the west side of Ireland
    >would be truly grateful of.

    Simply not true. Compare Letterkenny to Derry and see which is on the up and which being subsidised to painful death…

  • Mark

    “just what is it that Gerry does? And for the Shinners out there, exactly what use is he to you now?”

    That’s a really good question, and I for one don’t know the answer.

    He spent the last few years traipsing around availing of photo opportunities with various domestic and international leaders, who for the most part swallowed hard and tolerated him with the greater good in mind. But now that NI is ‘fixed’ as far as they are concerned, they have no reason ever to speak with him again – it’d be Ian or Martin they’d be calling up, you know, people with clout, however limited.

    He has no role in SF in the ROI, in fact he is a liability south of the border, increasingly seen as not just irrelevant but a bit of a joke.

    He treats the assembly as an aside, a place to drop in on if he has nothing better to do, and will have to truck with Westminster.

    I suppose he could write some more bestsellers.

  • lib2016

    Sinn Fein along with all the other smaller parties in the South had a setback at the last election. As the Greens have already pointed out what counts is the price one is prepared to pay for power and how much one is prepared to endure.

    Sinn Fein and their leadership have proven that they can endure and survive short term reverses. Don’t think that elements in the parties opposed to Fianna Fail aren’t wondering right now whether they can do a deal with Sinn Fein next time around if it becomes necessary. Fianna Fail will always deal with whoever has the votes.

  • kensei

    “Frankly if sitting in the gallery in Dublin is supposed to qualify him on the economy then Government could be run by any nutter who has the time and inclination to sit through debates in any Parliament.”

    You know, deep down I suspect that really isn’t that far off the truth.

    “Well he could grow-up a little and attend Westminster, look into lobbying officially rather than being a back-door attender at the British political table once listened to mainly as a former threat-boy.”

    I’m sorry, but there is fuck all Gerry could do at Westminster. The only possible instance where SF as a block, never mind Gerry, could have any influence is in a hung Parliament where Unionists or other parties didn’t control the balance. Chances of that happening: next to none.

  • DC

    “Simply not true. Compare Letterkenny to Derry and see which is on the up and which being subsidised to painful death…”

    Yea right the two are not great comparators, Derry is a fabulous city, one-way street Letterkenny is nice and often visited but Derry is superb and a marketers dream in terms of tourism.

    But maybe you call tourists’ money backdoor subvention although shame about the airport fiasco as any limits on it no doubt restricts the drive towards increased economic development.

  • quincey

    Yes Adams and the problem of detachment. That is detaching his right hand from the british £1.
    Gerry wants to have his cake and eat it.