So sez Squinter, 20 years on, Gerry must face the truth:
“Adams has been the West Belfast MP for 20 years.
If a week is a long time in politics, then 20 years is the Upper Paleolithic Age. It is in that same 20-year period that the slow, steady decline into chaos in certain parts of West Belfast began, and it was on his watch that it has gathered pace to become the runaway train that it is today.
…there are many people and many agencies to blame for the state of the lower Falls … But while Adams can and does point the finger at some or even all of the above, Squinter has to say that he has never heard Adams accepting any responsibility for the fact that large parts of his constituency are no-go areas …
Who’s to blame for the failure to press home the Harry Holland momentum? Gerry Adams is to blame, that’s who.
Gerry Adams is the MP, has been for 20 years. He’s supposed to know how to marshal and direct; he’s supposed to give us the ideas and the leadership; he’s supposed to make things better. When he asks for and gets our votes he accepts a host of very onerous responsibilities, and the most basic of those responsibilities is to make his constituency a good place for decent people to live and for parents to bring up their families. In that he has failed terribly.”
“It wasn’t as if Adams didn’t have the clout and the contacts. A former aide of Tony Blair has been making frankly embarrassing revelations in a new book about how close Adams and Blair were. Adams was the Oprah Winfrey of Irish-America. And what did we get? InBev gone and Visteon going. A huge investment conference that holds its nose as it swishes past West Belfast ferrying ministers and Invest NI suits to Hillsborough and Cultra. Adams might have got away with pointing to the lack of investment in his constituency in 1983 and saying: “Nothing to do with me, mate.” 20 years on and you’d buy a house in Ross Street quicker than you’d buy that.
20 years. Two decades. Four parliamentary terms. Four US Presidents. Two Popes. 11 Secretaries of State. Five UN Secretary-Generals. Five Taoisigh. Five Prime Ministers. In Ross Street the wind of change blows in empty Budweiser boxes and despair; it blows out good people and hope.”