Sinn Fein need to engage with intractable political realities…

Phil, a guest blogger at the Dreaming Arm blog, has good analysis and some interesting responses on Sinn Fein’s poor show in the Republic’s election in May. He argues that the battle-a-day scenario once promised us would not serve to strengthen the party’s appeal in the south, and any overt action to destabilise the settlement would similarly erode its image as a credible political creature.He concludes:

Sinn Féin, if it is to retain its position as the leading nationalist party in the north (quite apart from preventing its complete political annihilation in the South) will have to respond and adapt to the new social and economic realities which will face it with greater urgency over the next decade. Whether they are capable of pulling this off, or whether they will be met with the further challenge of a reinvigorated SDLP in the future are currently matters of conjecture.

It’s probably worth noting this comment from ‘anonymous’ too:

…one factor that should be pointed out is that Sinn Fein did not contest the Irish election in any way that posed a serious threat of meaningful engagement with either the Irish electorate or the main policy issues of the election. Therefore your argument that there was a pre-election perception on behalf of the Irish electorate that Sinn Fein was a ‘Northern’ party and that this perception was the reason for their failure is perhaps correct, but the electorate’s perception was probably dramatically strengthened by Sinn Fein themselves.

…I’m not convinced that they are destined to suffer poor performances in the South based on their activities being primarily Northern Irish, but just that they need to develop as a party to pose a challenge. Of course you may say that this would be a ‘new’ Sinn Fein and so any future success this ‘new’ party would have wouldn’t fall outside your thesis, but I believe you can’t ignore the fact that their campaign was a shambles.

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  • Good analysis?

    “With many of the outside pressures on the nationalists having been removed, nothing dissolves the bonds of community solidarity more than increasing prosperity and the absence of adversity, and this is increasingly the case even in the Republican heartlands of West Belfast and South Armagh”

    69.9%(+4.9%) and 84%(+8%) of the vote suggests otherwise

    Nothing original in his “analysis” at all, many inaccuracies though

  • Mick Hall

    I agree with Chris, this piece although well written is just another of those SF must move to the right type articles, which are so beloved by those who detested SF in the old days. The writer is well aware if SF did that move right they would be finished in the south, for that space is occupied by FF and the rest of the snake oil salesmen.

    This talk of prosperity never ceases to amaze me for it totally ignores those who have not benefits from the southern free for all. Yes some people have done well, money managers, gamblers on the markets, construction and drug dealers[legal and illegal] those who have their snouts in the peace process pot. Plus those ordinary folk who fish for their living in the aforementioned groups wake. But in truth how many of these vote SF in any numbers?

    What strikes me is that no one has considered, [the republican left included] whether the SF setback in the south is due to the watering down of the Republican message and practice.

    Could it be that people previously voted for SF because they refused to bend to the will of the British State; and once they did so with the GFA, voters turned away angry and disillusioned. Myself I do not know the answer to this question but would be interested how other republicans feel on this. However if this is the case any further move to the right would be absolutely disastrous for SF.