Sinn Fein’s failure an intellectual embodiment of partition…

Anthony McIntrye, writing just after the Republic’s election, argues that partition was the key to Sinn Fein’s poor performance in last month’s election. Not least in the sheer unfamiliarity with the political economy of the south of the party leader:

…he more resembled a luminary of the 1850s American Know Nothing Movement than a serious modern European political leader. His awareness of the issues in the Republic has improved little since attention was first drawn to this handicap by Paul Bew and Henry Patterson two decades ago. His is an intellectual embodiment of the success of partition rather than its failure. His knowledge of the island is restricted to its northern territory.

He then reprises a long term aspect of his own analysis, the party simply got the timing wrong. Footdragging in Northern Ireland possibly brought them an extra Ministerial seat, but according to McIntyre it cost them political viability in the Republic:

It will be very difficult to endow the peace process with the appeal it currently lacks to make it a serious electoral asset in the Republic. Sinn Fein failed to weave the threads between North and South at the appropriate juncture. Now it is left to sport a green shirt in the North but is naked in the South, where its dangly bits are dangerously exposed to anyone fancying a kick at them. By the time of the next election, who in the Republic will be even faintly interested in the North and its incessant demand for attention? Blair will have gone in Britain so access to No 10 will be rare. Ahern intends to step out of politics within the next four years. The US without prompting from Dublin and London will have other fish to fry. The media will plough different furrows.

Although it may not simply have been about timing, there were also, as Harold MacMillan once famously said, ‘Events, dear boy, events.’

Long before the emergence of the Ahern-Kenny squeeze phenomenon astute observers like Harry McGee and Noel Whelan were calling time on the march of Sinn Fein. They sensed that something else was at play. The seeming end of Sinn Fein as a serious electoral force in the Republic was the cumulative effect of its associates’ alleged involvement in the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney.

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  • Pól

    The robert mccartney/Northern bank theory does not seem to be backed up by opinion polls. All the evidence is that whatever happened, happened closer to the election than that.

    All the adams bashing about not being up to date with the economy etc is a little unfair. In fairness 100% of his time (and the majority of the parties ard comhairle time) has been devoted to the peace process. Developing economic policy had to take a back seat.

    I would take issue more with his arrogance of expecting to just wing it, rather than the fact he should know everything about southern issues.

  • URQUHART

    God bless you Mick. I never tire of reading this stuff.

  • kensei

    “The end of Sinn Fein as a serious electoral force in the Republic”

    What? Sinn Fein were never a serious electoral force in the Republic; and I’m not going to predict the state of the Dail at the end of the next election. They could lose a seat and still be more relevant than they have ever been, as there is less likely to be objections to cutting a deal with them.

    That statement is wrong at both ends.

  • It has always been a rule of thumb within the Green Party that those who constructed the Peace process and the resulting institutions would not, necessarily, be the chief beneficiaries.

    Just as this is true for the SDLP in the North it is now also true for SF in the Republic.

    Other configurations, including the Greens, are in a much healthier position to stake future claims, given the consistency of the Good Friday compromises with our core commitments to a rights based politics, dialogue, non violence and local democracy.

  • Cruimh

    An interesting article from McIntyre, but I think he may be over-rating SF’s electoral strength in the North.

    Are SF really that secure in NI ? After all as pointed out in the Irish Democrat after 2005, SF in the North FAILED to decimate the SDLP – a failure that was as significant as their miserable performance in the 2007 ROI elections.

    Edging towards a two-party tussle
    by Chris Donnelly
    THE 2005 Westminster and local government elections in the six counties were envisaged by some as a scenario where the two communities would return one dominant party each. We would have a two-party future, where Paisley and his ambitious pinstriped brigade would face off against the wily Shinners in a battle for the future of the six counties.

    In the end, only half of the story was written this time around.

    These elections will be remembered for the manner in which the Democratic Unionist Party delivered a hammer blow to the David Trimble-led Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). ”

    plus :

    “On the nationalist side, Sinn Féin failed to deliver a similar crushing blow to the SDLP, though it did succeed in further consolidating its position as the voice of northern nationalists. ”

    http://www.irishdemocrat.co.uk/features/edging-towards-a-two-party-tussle/

    So the next assembly elections in NI should be very interesting. If SF cannot wipe out the SDLP in the way the DUP destroyed the UUP, then SF will indeed follow the Workers Party into irrelevence.

  • kensei

    “Are SF really that secure in NI ? After all as pointed out in the Irish Democrat after 2005, SF in the North FAILED to decimate the SDLP – a failure that was as significant as their miserable performance in the 2007 ROI elections.”

    Pipe dream. 2005 was a the low ebb, remember, and SF still pulled a wee bit if the SDLP. SF pulled another couple of percent off the SDLP in the 2007 Assembly election – and the SDLP are vulnerable in various other place.

    I seriously doubt there will be a UUP style destruction, but I’d expect SF to shave another percent or two. The SDLP may even retain their Westminster seats, but right now there is no indication they are likely to reverse the trend. Sorry, right now the evidence is you are stuck with them for the foreseeable future.

  • Anthony McIntyre seems to have now made a career out of writing on soleley one topic ad infinitum. His habitual criticism of Sinn Fein is in stark contrast to Anthony’s own views on the way forward for Irish republicanism. He has absolutely no vision whatsoever for how he feels that the struggle for Irish Unity should be pursued.

    In the end, his pieces all becomes a bit meaningless, really. Whereas broadly Nationalist commentators such as Brian Feeney can give insightful and objective insights into Sinn Fein, Anthony’s pieces are immersed in his unbalanced hatred of the party based on his own personal prejudices.

    The worst thing i can say about Anthony, is that, there is at times very little difference between some of his views and those of Malachi O’Doherti…

  • Cruimh

    Must be a worry though kensei – back to a single dominant unionist party and nationalists fighting among themselves ? SF won’t have a power base in the ROI to offset the DUP dominance – so they really need to be able to get rid of the SDLP.

    I’m struggling with your claim that Brian Feeney is “broadly Nationalist ” Mac.

  • kensei

    “Must be a worry though kensei – back to a single dominant unionist party and nationalists fighting among themselves ? SF won’t have a power base in the ROI to offset the DUP dominance – so they really need to be able to get rid of the SDLP.”

    No, not really. I’m not of the opinion that The Single Voice is particularly good idea, much preferring some competition to mix things up. i find the Unionist fascination with it bizarre in the extreme.

    Anyway, as I explained there is little evidence of SF’s Northern dominance being challenged right now. Perhaps the SDLP do something with a Southern party. But at the moment the best the SDLP can hope for them to stop infighting and running 3 candidates in places where they can only win one.

    I know the ROI result is a new wonderful experience for you, but I’d be careful of drawing too many conclusions yet. It’s perfectly possible that fighting real elections will make the SF machine even better up here.

  • Cruimh

    “I know the ROI result is a new wonderful experience for you”

    Not really – the writing was on the wall in 2005 when SF failed, despite all their hype and boasting, to do unto the SDLP as the DUP did to the UUP 🙂

  • “I’m struggling with your claim that Brian Feeney is “broadly Nationalist “ Mac.”

    Thats a bit surprising actually Cruimh. How would you describe him then…?

  • PeaceandJustice

    Cruimh – “I’m struggling with your claim that Brian Feeney is ‘broadly Nationalist’ Mac.”

    I agree with his nickname on another blog – Bigoted Bri. I also agree with a previous comment about him on Slugger “I stopped reading him ages ago because he never seemed to criticise the Shinners.”

  • Cruimh

    Mac – he’s as “broadly nationalist” as Gerry Adams.

  • Decal

    SF’s increased success in the North is proportionate to it’s increasingly more moderate positioning. Across the island of Ireland it is seen as a party concerned primarily with one single issue, that of Irish unity. Of course it has “detailed policy documents” on everything under the sun but there’s no escaping the fact it is seen as a Green party. People in the South are comfortable with their Irish identity and face more pressing issues and that’s what they told Gerry in the election. Now just as the SDLP will never be able to “out-green” SF, it is equally true that SF will never be able to be more moderate that the SDLP. Ironically, one strength of the SDLP is their weakness. They are the grey-suited, academic, house-owning middle class that socially people aspire to be. They are clever but boring. They are what people vote for. Gerry’s artificial celebrity status will be short lived and the new breed of SF representatives appear unable to even attempt to defend what the Provisional Republican Movement took it n themselves to do in the name of Ireland. As peace and stability become increasingly more commonplace, SF will itself become like Gerry, outdated and tired.

  • Anyway, as I explained there is little evidence of SF’s Northern dominance being challenged right now.

    Ken is absolutely right and Cruimh is living in his own fanstasy world. The SDLP obtained by far their lowest share of the vote ever this March, and the fact that Cruimh has to ignore the most recent election and look to one that is, in political terms, ancient history shows how weak his argument is.

    There’s not the slightest sign of an SDLP revival against Sinn Féin, so don’t get too excited yet.

    Perhaps the SDLP do something with a Southern party.

    And perhaps that won’t help them in the slightest. I’ve yet to see any evidence that this is more than wishful thinking, and wishful thinking largely propagated by SF supporters.

  • dave

    “…he never seemed to criticise the Shinners”

    Of course not, Gerry is a good gravy train for him.

  • Godper

    Sammy,

    “There’s not the slightest sign of an SDLP revival against Sinn Féin…”

    I’m saving that one for you Sammy! I think you need to take more than a few steps back from the canvass. I think “decal” is right to suggest that SF will become increasingly more irrelavant as the peace process begins to bed down. I’m not suggesting that it will happen anytime soon, ten years or so I guess but happen it will!

  • Cruimh

    Sammy – what can SF do to advance ? All the pariah stuff ( it doesn’t matter what we do , the DUP will never go into government with us) has flopped, the attempt to be a meaningful party on both sides of the border has flopped, they have made the big jumps through the Unionist hoops of decommissioning and signing up to policing and the courts. Beyond the annual Orange-fest ( the orangemen will steal your children and ravish your wimmin ) they don’t have a lot left, do they?

  • I’m saving that one for you Sammy! I think you need to take more than a few steps back from the canvass. I think “decal” is right to suggest that SF will become increasingly more irrelavant as the peace process begins to bed down.

    You’re assuming that:

    a. Sinn Féin don’t learn how to adapt to new realities, and;
    b. the SDLP have the capacity to adapt to new realities.

    Big assumptions.

  • All the pariah stuff ( it doesn’t matter what we do , the DUP will never go into government with us) has flopped

    Catapulted them from 12% of the vote to 26% of the vote.

    Some flop.

    Assuming the Paisley-McGuinness administration stays in place, which I think it will, the people who do well over the next five years will be the people who adapt to new realities the quickest.

    Adams is a master flip-flopper and the Shinners have learned to flip-flop with them. Look at Conor Murphy’s accomplished volte face over water charges – the mark of a real pro, and accomplished with barely a hiss from the electorate. The Shinners are to a large degree masters of their own destiny; if they want to complete the journey from pariah party to catch all people’s party for a prosperous and confident Catholic community in Northern Ireland, I don’t see what’s stopping them.

    They flopped in the South because of partition, pure and simple – the South is a very different (and better) place than the North and their leadership doesn’t understand it.

    On the other hand, the SDLP need to ask themselves why anybody should vote for them. The only thing they’ve done of any consequence since the elections is put out a few press-statements that sound more bigoted than anything the Shinners would say these days and put together a smart arse, overcomplicated, political deal in Belfast City Hall that will end up coming back to haunt them because the Shinners are livid.

    Seriously, why vote SDLP? So SDLP Youth can get excited about an architect’s drawing on Ikea’s website? Wise up. The Alliance shared community stuff might be like a broken record but at least it’s a unique selling point (a popular one with a lot of habitual SDLP voters, too). What can I get from the SDLP that I can’t get somewhere else, and usually better articulated?

    Sorry if that offends our well meaning, SDLP-sympathising, Southern audience but at the moment the Shinners are wearing the big strap-on in Northern nationalist politics and the SDLP haven’t even shown any sign of realising how much trouble they’re in.

  • mnob

    Sammy – everyones assuming that we’re stuck in tribal politics for ever, its SF vs SDLP and DUP vs UUP. Now *thats* depressing.

  • Sean

    If anything with all the rumours of a giant split forming in the DUP, likely only to be exacerbated when the old passes out, there well might be 3 voices for uionism. More intent on cutting each others throats they might make the opening the nationalists of both parties to move into the majority.

    And if the SDLP wants to appear more relevant then cutting backhandled deals with the unionists and whingeing like babies probably isnt the best way forward.

  • Cruimh

    Sammy – you misunderstand my point about the DUP in Government – yep, the “DUP will never share Government with us no matter what we do” MOPEry did play it’s part in their success – BUT they can no longer use that! That’s my point – the things that gave them the impetus in the past are all done and gone. They cannot decommission again, they cannot have another ceasefire, they cannot announce that they have persuaded (!!) the provos to stop murdering people …. apart from having Chris and various others play the orange card, they haven’t a lot left.

    “Seriously, why vote SDLP? ”

    It’s a nationalist party without terrorists.

    A question more interesting – why should those voters who switched from the SDLP to vote for SF to encourage the move away from Provo terrorism
    continue to vote SF ?

  • “Mac – he’s as “broadly nationalist” as Gerry Adams”

    Cruimh,

    I think even impartial scribes might dispute that one. I have seen Feeney write some very critical and at times disparaging pieces about SF over the years. Lets not forget, he is a former senior member of the SDLP after all. The BBC often tend to pull him out when discussing general Nationalist debates on programmes like Hearts and Minds. I think you’re categorisation of his political viewpoint is perhaps a little wide of the mark on this occasion.

  • Cruimh

    Mac -I’ve been reading his stuff in the Irish News for years – Jim Gibney comes across as far less prejudiced. Feeney can never get past that he detests The Brits and the Unionists.

    As for him being a former senior member of the SDLP – Billy Leonard used to be both Police and SDLP – does that mean he’s still broadly nationalist?

  • CTN

    Some points of view for your comsuption.

    1 Brian Feeney is an ex SDLP councilor in North Belfast, who appreciates the ingenuity of how SF came from humble beginnings to the no. 1 nationalist party- in my opinion although he makes the odd mistake him, Tom McGurk and Suzanne Breen are the sharpest journalists re the north.

    2 Ken is right- SF could lose another seat and still be relevant if the Dail numbers fall that way- in fact they could lose 2 and be were the PD’s are now, although it is unlikely that FF or FG would go near them- it is still not the end of SF down south.

    3 The reason for their collapse in Dublin was a result of membership defection/resignation as much as those Adams media goof ups- their vote has dropped by 46% in Dublin (despite electing new councilors) since ’04- a whopping 27,000 votes in total. With more turbulence expected re the economic debacle and further resignations/defections possible they could melt down here as O’Snodaigh’s seat is only held by 69 votes and he is supported by two vulnerable co-optees in Dublin City Council.

    4 Anthony McIntyre’s writings seem to be more in protest against the Adams/McGuinness autocracy than SF itself.

    One wonders as the skepticism about A/McG’s ability to take SF to their goal grows are Anthony, Richard O’Rawe, Darkie Hughes, John Kelly and co. enjoying a thaw in relations within the republican community?

  • We will agree to disagree then. I really enjoy reading his pieces actually. I find them a bit more intellectually challenging than some of our local scribes (on both ‘sides’)…

  • Cruimh

    Mac – I wish he’d nail his colours to the mast.

    The latest-

    http://www.nuzhound.com/articles/irish_news/arts2007/jun20_Major_Ireland_failure__BFeeney.php

    not a mention of the SDLP, just adoring tripe about the republicans accompanied with deprecatory remarks about the Brits and Unionists.
    Canary Wharf ? Major’s fault ?

  • Ian

    “[The SDLP] political deal in Belfast City Hall will end up coming back to haunt them because the Shinners are livid.”

    The SDLP did the Shinners a favour as if SF get the mayoralty next year rather than this year then they’ll go into the 2009 local elections with their candidate in office – surely good PR?

  • Cruimh,

    Re what you refer to as “deprecatory remarks” about Unionists. In fact you may not be aware of this, but I doubt that Jim Molyneaux would actually contest Feeney’s analysis of his contribution to the peace process.

    When the IRA ceasefire was finally announced, Molyneaux decribed Sinn Fein’s entrance in to exclusively democratic politics as “the biggest crisis that Unionism had ever faced”. Hardly what you would call a ringing endorsement of a prospesctive new era of peace.

    As for Feeney’S analysis of Major’s contribution, I have also read several articles from Unionists who are also highly critical of Major’s handling of the situation here at that time. He has been criticised across the board, not just by Nationalist opinion…

  • Sammy – everyones assuming that we’re stuck in tribal politics for ever, its SF vs SDLP and DUP vs UUP.

    No, it’s just a stage on the way to our glorious liberal future!

    It’s a nationalist party without terrorists

    Er… so is Sinn Féin. Even in Northern Ireland, the past is still the past.

    Brian Feeney is an ex SDLP councilor in North Belfast

    And a worse than useless one. He used to breeze into the New Lodge once every six months or so to do a TV interview where he came across as sneering and superior, and then disappear. He did the SDLP a lot more harm than good. Now, Marty Morgan was a different kettle of fish altogether and politics in Belfast is the poorer for his absence from it.

    The SDLP did the Shinners a favour as if SF get the mayoralty next year rather than this year then they’ll go into the 2009 local elections with their candidate in office – surely good PR?

    Depends, it might be an extended council term because of the still to be completed review of local government boundaries. And the Shinners do not think that the SDLP did them a favour over the Mayoralty. To put it mildly.

  • Sammy,

    I would agree that Martin Morgan was a bright prsopect for the SDLP. Perhaps though, his eventual downfall though was a little bit of egotism. When he stood in The European Election he greatly over-inflated his chances of securing a seat. Although he was well-known and widely respected in Greater Belfast, he didnt have quite the same profile West of The Bann.

    His resignation from the SDLP was a great surprise following his European Election defeat. I think perhaps he maybe expected too much too quickly. Local politics can be a tough business and I wonder if Martin ever looks back and feels that perhaps he acted a little hastily when resigning at that time…?

  • I wonder the same myself macswiney. And only Hume was capable of holding the SDLP seat in 2004.

    But remember, it wasn’t the first time he’d been shafted – he missed election to the Assembly in 1998 entirely, totally, because SF voters in Ardoyne were so tribal that the majority of them wouldn’t transfer to him (I tallied the boxes) and let Frazer Agnew sneak in for the last seat. I can see why, after all that, he felt very bitter.

    His big weakness was his lack of any sort of election machine – he was well liked and respected in Oldpark but never had any real election-time presence.

  • Justin Moran

    “The reason for their collapse in Dublin was a result of membership defection/resignation as much as those Adams media goof ups.”

    This is simply not the case. With all due respect, you seem to have some fascination with this notion that Sinn Féin in Dublin was crippled by people leaving to join Éirigí and that the latter is the coming force in global politics.

    The reason Sinn Féin messed up in Dublin had less to do with Adams’ on the media than with mistakes and errors made during the campaign at a national level.

    Did the departure of so many good comrades do no damage? Of course not, it weakened the organisation in a couple of areas, but enough to exlain, to even begin to explain the loss of votes? Not a chance.

    You’re over-inflating the importance of an issue to suit your political agenda.

  • CTN

    Did Morgan not return to the SDLP fold or has he resigned again?

    In relation to Sinn Fein in Dublin, unless they can convince 60 former chuckie zealots to uproot from the north and move into the constituencies of McDonald, Crowe and O’Snodaigh to give them full time attention- they will bite the dust here period.

    Adams knows on current figures with his left flank exposed to the SWP candidates- (fancied to take at least a council seat of the struggling O’Snodaigh in Ballyfermot) and further exposure to the center parties, without much spirit of ’16 on show his “All Ireland” project will collapse- at it’s hub here in the capital…

  • CNT

    How do you Dublin folk feel Gerry Adams would do in one of these Dublin seats if he were to get down from his presidential perch and join the fray like a normal politician. [Maybe where Mary Lou stood or where ever]

    Mick

  • CTN

    Hi Mick

    At the moment he has a loser tag but a re-launch with a humble admission of complacency and disconnection due to peacebuilding at its heart his chances of election would increase- the only problem is one of relevance- would the relaunch after-effect be effervescent or would it be enough for a post recruitment drive SF to get back out there campaigning again on a high,- who knows?

    The IRA claimed to have fought the british war machine on a full time basis, I cannot understand why Adams cannot use his influence over 60 members of that “disbanded” organisation to switch their zeal for the same objective and -join Dublin Sinn Fein.

    Republicans speak ever so proudly about “Ten Men Dead”- can they not now raise 10 men a county for their flagship- the DSF hub of what was supposedly to be an inevitable mass movement?

    Perhaps the bungling Adams/McGuinness diktat have disillusioned their base to a point were even that is not possible…

  • CTN

    Hi Justin just noticed your post,

    I’ve lost count how many times I stated Eírigí are a small group- your comment is unfair as I did not even mention them.

    You have lost personnel to all the rival republican groupings and these detractions are hitting home when added to the amount of resignations DSF have suffered.

    If you cannot “even begin to explain” why DSF have lost 27,000 votes in 3 years, then I suggest you turn your snipes of me for suggesting how your party can get out of this “leadership” inspired quandry and start looking in the mirror.

    Just because a non-activist like myself offers advice/suggestions doesn’t mean we are out to get you or that we have an ulterior agenda.

  • Justin Moran

    This is going to be my last post on this as I only started posting on Slugger because of references made to an article by me.

    Firstly, you are pursuing an agenda to suggest that Sinn Féin in Dublin has been crippled or seriously damaged by resignations and defections. This is a statement that has no basis in reality. We lost people, mostly to Éirigí and a frankly negligible amount to anywhere else and we have already replaced those in terms of raw numbers.

    Secondly, I outlined in An Phoblacht exactly why I felt we lost the votes we did and what went wrong. I have not only ‘begun to explain’, I have done so in some detail both in the article and within the party.

    The simple reality of this is you are attempting for your own reasons to explain Sinn Féin’s poor election result as a consequence of resignations. It certainly never helps to lose members, especially top class activists, but to suggest it cost us tens of thousands of votes is fantasy.

    I reject utterly the notion you are doing this without an ulterior motive. Considering your posts on this site and politics.ie, and the fact that I know how inaccurate they are yet how single-minded you are on the issue on both sides in multiple threads, an ulterior motive is the only reasonable explanation.

  • Cruimh

    I suspect that is you off Justin’s Christmas card list CTN!

  • kensei

    “If you cannot “even begin to explain” why DSF have lost 27,000 votes in 3 years, then I suggest you turn your snipes of me for suggesting how your party can get out of this “leadership” inspired quandry and start looking in the mirror.”

    This is also a wee bit dishonest. You are comparing Councils / Euros with a General election, and voting patterns tend to be a bit different. As effectively, a protest party in the South, that counts double for SF.

  • CTN

    You keep missing the point here- I offered umpteen suggestions on how SF can recover, praised the ingenuity at them becoming the main nationalist party up north and “confessed” to giving them a high preference at this election- making vague allegations that you cannot substantiate reflects the insecurity of your position and will not recover those 27,000 votes- and thats what it is ken regardless of the type of election.

    In regard to the honesty spin- you are fooling no-one as there only was a local/Euro election in ’04 and I could not have tried to mislead anyone that a general election took place in that year.

    Justin you have not successfully explained the loss of 27,000 votes in three years- the electorate have crippled DSF- no-one else and the fact that you are no longer on the ground is the main reason- plain and simple.

    Shooting in the dark at bloggers is the sign of a party too introspective to help itself.

    You need to cool down and as they say during the turmoil and challenges of conflict “go to that deeper place within yourself” – it is only when you become more clinical and less emotional in your analysis will you release the futility of repeating your mistakes and lame excuses….

  • CTN

    Off it for sure now Cru!

  • Hib

    “With all due respect, you seem to have some fascination with this notion that Sinn Féin in Dublin was crippled by people leaving to join Éirigí and that the latter is the coming force in global politics”.

    All due respect Justin, but pre-election did Martin McGuinness not state that would be SF.

  • Southern Observer

    ‘Bigoted Bri’, spawned as it is in the Hades of A. McCannism, is more than a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

  • snakebrain

    “With all due respect, you seem to have some fascination with this notion that Sinn Féin in Dublin was crippled by people leaving to join Éirigí and that the latter is the coming force in global politics”

    It might be a while before Eirigi, or SF for that matter, is any kind of force in global politics.

    I’m going to interpret this as a Freudian slip revealing the astonishing hubris of the NI political class, who genuinely believe that their petty squabbles carry any weight on the grand stage.

    The reality of the situation is that the rest of the world would be quite content to turn its back on NI, if only we would stop killing each other, and leave it to catch up with advances in modern thought.

    Like the enlightenment.

  • CTN

    Good point snakey, as my father always says “when you have traveled the world you realise, that however beautiful, special and friendly a place- we live in small little unimportant country”.

    My only problem with that is- can I override my temptation to comment on the maelstrom of political evolution in Ireland on slug- in some net cafe abroad?

  • we live in small little unimportant country”.

    CNT
    I take your point, but there are many lessons the rest of the world can learn from the years of armed conflict, I am sure I do not need to spell them out to you, but at the fore would be what can occur if a democratic state allows part of its population to suffer from a democratic deficit. Plus when internal political differences spill over into armed conflict the lengths a state can legitimately go to suppress it without becoming a ‘democratic dictatorship’.

    These two and many more questions must be thrashed out, this is why it is vital to have a T@RC. The fact that the powers that be, whether the British government or the Stormont administration are opposed to a cleaning of the stables bodes ill for the future. For it is impossible to over look the fact that well over half of the population of the island of Ireland is still smarting over the injustice of partition and thus it is only correct that they are told how and what means were used to maintain it.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Cruimh is living in his own fanstasy world.< < LOL. Yep you sussed that out pretty quick Sammy! Here he is here claiming that the Pogues and Shane Mcgowan are/is English. http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/atw-friday-jukeboxpart-2-1.html#comment881080

  • CTN

    My point is that whilst trying to sort out the problems of imperialism, paramilitary corruption and injustice here in Ireland- we all need to realise that we are here for a good time and not a long time as well- it does no harm to get out and travel or broaden the mind so to speak.

    I empathise greatly with your points although I don’t think McGuinness wants to brush Britains wrong doing in Ireland under the carpet- more a case of him being to incompetent to address it properly.

    Always remember that as the British Government at one time occupied the whole island, that we Irish have been on a incrementalist journey to total independence since 1922- it is been slowed down by faustians, charaltans, criminals and moronic republican leaders more so than Britain’s own terror tactics….

  • CNT

    Bar McG as the man is a mystery to me but time will tell, the rest of your post is spot on.

    Mick

  • CTN

    Indeed.

    I thought I detected the same line of thinking in your own posts- we live in interesting times Mick but I think the most interesting phase for a long time is the next two years in Dublin- were Adams will have to put the wheels back on the juggernaut.

    Unlike other phases this one will not be gradual or predictable and may be a further defining point in the decline of Adams.

    In my view the “Prime Time pantomime” was a watershed, wereby now even his most ardent fans wonder if he can shake of the limp picked up from his mauling by McDowell….

  • ciaran

    I think the prime time incident was a miscalculation by Gerry. In the run up to the northern elections it seemed to be sf’s policiy not to get involved in shouting matches with opposition politicans. In many of the debates the other three parties drowned each other out with their shouting while sf sat back and waited for order to be restored.This seemed to work in the north but for the southern debates a bit of shouting back at the likes of mcdowell would have been a better policy.Also I don’t think gerry is ignorant of the facts and figures that the other politicans were quoting, I think he probably thought that he had to give a more general overview of sinn fein policies to voters who might be unsure of sf’s stance on bread and butter issues. Obviously the wrong tack. On sf’s longevity, they will be around for a very long time in the north at least because they are very active on the ground were the people need them.In general I have heard nothing but good reports about the party members from the public. If they can do the same in the south then they might be in with a chance there.On m mcdowell, the green party showed that he is an unashamed liar, and gerry was probably right not to engage him when all mcdowell could do was call gerry a drug dealer instead of trying to come up with some sort of solution to the drug problem.

  • CTN

    Lot of solid points there ciaran, especially about SF up north.

    In regard to griz on prime time- McD stuffed him regardless that he pleaded the 5th and SF took it in the groin subsequently….

  • CTN

    Fellow bloggers as this article is now in my opinion dated please be aware as I shall not be giving it further attention I will not be able to comment on any replies to my blogs.

    Thanx,

    CTN