“Given half a chance Sinn Féin will piggyback and colonise Labour”…

In the Irish Times today David Adams warns the Labour party from contemplating acceptance of Gerry Adams supplication for a grand alliance of the left… He argues that doing it duty and moving in alongside Sinn Fein and into power will cost it its political soul

…it remains debatable whether the SDLP was sacrificed to the peace process or to John Hume’s ego, what is not in question is the nature of the sacrifice itself. The SDLP got too close to Sinn Féin (who, if nothing else, are masters of media manipulation), and was almost destroyed as a result.

Its policies were hijacked and presented by Sinn Féin as its own. Every setback for nationalism, both inside and outside political negotiations, was attributed to the SDLP; and every victory claimed by Sinn Féin.

In a classic divide and conquer tactic, employed recently against the Rev Ian Paisley and First Minister Peter Robinson in an unsuccessful attempt to split the DUP, care was taken to separate in the public mind “good” SDLP members from “bad”. Good constituted those who wholeheartedly supported the alliance, whereas bad would have been those like Séamus Mallon, who never hid his contempt for Sinn Féin or his suspicions about the party’s true intentions.

At the finish, the once largest and by far the most capable nationalist party in the North was almost completely hollowed out.

It was left not so much with a crisis of identity, but with the task of trying to convince a by then former electorate that it still had any identity (and purpose) of its own left.

He note SF’ condition for any future alliance is to make its position on the national question public and clear:

There was little enough appetite for uniting with the North (or, rather, with its people) when the Celtic Tiger was roaring, and money seemed to be growing on trees. What possible popular support can there be now, in the depths of a depression, for joining with a people that annually draws down £8 billion (€9 billion) in subventions from Britain, and will fully expect to be kept in the fashion to which it has become accustomed? All things considered, I suppose it’s really a question of how stupid Gerry Adams must think Labour is.

“Not stupid enough to get into bed with you lot, Gerry,” should be the Labour Party’s answer. That way, it really would be doing its duty: to the country, to its electorate, and to itself.

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Unionists come in many differnet sizes, shapes and varieties but it always the same old song.

  • To be fair to David Adams he’s sung a few solo numbers in his time. The case for an independent NI being one that springs to mind.

    Still SF are out for SF’s interests, theres nothing they need to apologise for in that. All parties are out to promote their own interests. It’s what they do. You might as well blame a company for making money or a union for protecting its members. Of course how they go about doing that is a completely different issue and where the arguements should lie.

    David does however (as many from the North do) dramaticlly over estimate SF’s appeal in the South. Politics is a different game in the Republic and SF have yet to prove themselves good at playing it. During the last election they realised far too late that being radical may get you the odd first preference but won’t get you transfers. Then when they ditched their economic policies mid campaign and dashed to the already crowded centre ground, no one knew where they stood. Pointing at a border a large number of people never cross really won’t get many votes. In the south it really is the ‘economy stupid’, but to the electorate SF seem stupid on the economy.

    Labour should stick to ploughing their own furrow for now.

  • I find it somewhat remarkable that David Adams could write such a piece, and never once raise the very VERY important issue of Eamon Gilmore’s political background.

    I don’t like throwing insults, but in this case, its not Labour being stupid, it’s David Adams.

    A “stickie” going into alliance with the Provos?

    Let me know when that happens, as I really am looking forward to glaciers and icebergs in hell.

  • Labour has cooperated with the Provos on local councils, and would certainly do so in government if necessary. It will however attempt to maximise its own seats at the next election by refusing to enter into a pact with any other party. Note Gilmore’s talk about being Taoiseach etc

  • Modernist

    Instead of all this hearsay can someone here actually provide some scientific evidence that global warming is a myth or is caused by sunspots. This comment by the Japanese sounds alot like the excuse they give for killing whales; supposedly killing and eating of an endangered species can be justified by saying it’s all in the name of science. Like the creationalist mythology IT IS NOT BASED ON FACT IT IS BASED ON THE PURPORTED OPINIONS OF INDIVIDUALS LOOKING OUT FOR THEIR OWN SELFISH INTERESTS. By selfish interests I mean a self serving political,religious or monetary outlook that pays no head to the final consequences.

  • Wrong thread, Modernist.

    Regarding Labour and Sinn Féin, might the fact that Labour’s ‘sister party’ in the north is the SDLP not have some influence? If they were to enter a coalition with SF, this would imply a fairly close relationship with their sister’s main rival. Tricky!

  • veritas

    Garibaldy again with the past terms…why do you continue to use the terminology of the past?

    Why do you continually refer to SF as PSF or the Provos?

    Have you an axe to grind, why don`t you refer to the sticks as workersparty/official ira?

    Does the official ira not exist in the eyes of the workers party? Is the official ira/group b which sells drugs, threatens business` controls 3 social clubs in belfast a figment of our imagination?

    You sound bitter, twisted and very sad when it comes to SF, please gave your workers party view a rest!

  • veritas

    As to Davy Adams….The Irish Times love him….just as successive Irish governments loved Conor cruise O`Brien!

  • veritas

    threequarks: he was never a stickie…..he left when he found the existence of an armed grouping within the workers party and one that hasn`t disarmed….

  • credit crunch

    Donal Lyons
    “David does however (as many from the North do) dramaticlly over estimate SF’s appeal in the South.”

    Or perhaps he just over-estimates the ability of the likes of you to understand plain English, for this could hardly be described as over-estimating SF’s appeal:
    “Make no mistake about it Sinn Féin is marooned.
    Long outdated revolutionary rhetoric and a portfolio of policies which constitute little more than clichés and soundbites, has the party stuck on low percentage points in the polls. Moreover, it is incapable of moving beyond that position without help.
    And that, of course, is where the Labour Party would come in useful.”

  • kensei

    Can I sum up his rant?

    It’s easy to see what’s in for SF, but what’s in it for Labour?

    It’s a question SF need to answer if they want a “left-wing” pact. Current all I got is a transfer to SF or the Greens is a transfer not going to FF or FG, which could strengthen Labour’s position. Ultimately either FF or FG will be involved in the coalition, so in terms of getting a left wing agenda (if that si what Labour is propsoing, of course….) through it’s likely moot though I suppose if those two parties were stronger it might blunt opposition a bit.

  • johndoe

    Certainly Davy Adams is on to something here.
    Think of the cosying up thats been going on between Labour and SF in the Dail of late, O’Brien’s book claiming that they’re all out of the same socialist litter really, and then Gerry’s call for a left alliance.
    Labour would need to be careful, the parasitic party has them down their next host.

  • Credit Crunch

    Christ, if that’s you’re idea of a summing up, please leave with the confusion, it’s easier to understand.

  • threequarks

    threequarks: he was never a stickie…..he left when he found the existence of an armed grouping within the workers party and one that hasn`t disarmed….
    Posted by veritas on Feb 26, 2009 @ 04:27 PM

    thats precisely my point veritas. The thought of Gilmore allying himself with Provo SF , when he himself was part of the Democratic Left breakaway from the Workers Party over the armed question, is the stuff of fantasyland.

    And i use the term “stickie” in a loose sense i.e.slang for the SFWP (of which Gilmore was a member)

    One thing I have noticed about ex-Workers Party types – they disagree FF or FG ideologically, but they reserve their deepest bile and hatred for the Provos and SF

  • Stu Palmer

    i never saw a funny caption resulting from a caption competition.

  • Stu Palmer

    sorry wrong thread, fred

  • kensei


    Christ, if that’s you’re idea of a summing up, please leave with the confusion, it’s easier to understand.

    I think I got to the nub, without the tired nonsense that apparently must accompany any piece on SF.

    If you you have nothing to add other than you disagree, please feel free to direct the comment to someone who cares. kthanxbye.

  • fin

    The most common first name in the world is mohammed, the most common surname is Wong, how many Mohammed Wongs have you met?

    A Labour Party is a Labour Party, regardless of jurisdiction. It has the same politics and principles.

    Sinn Fein is courting the Irish Labour Party.

    Herman and others would prefer if the UUP courted the British Labour Party.

    Ergo, the UUPs and SFs politics are both most closely aligned to Labour principles.

    My mate Mohammed Wong hates elections, he’s always torn between voting for the UUP or SF.

  • latcheeco

    No mention of the fact that Hume,Mallon, McGrady et al were seen as tired older guys with no new plan, with nobody coming up to represent a younger, more confident constituency, and who were not in any way dictating the pace. Nor that the chucks were on a wave after neutering the OO in the nineties and were seen as central negotiators in the “process.” The Stoops smugly destroyed themselves: a lesson the chucks today have to remember

  • JD

    I think David Adams piece does misunderstand the situation down south. The SF Ard Fheis is not really a news event and I don’t see Labour engaging with Adam’s proposal as few in the south are aware of it.

    Post Mullingar Accord Labour are doing quite well – I don’t think they’ll be looking for pacts with anyone. Can you really see Pat Rabbitte looking for people in Tallaght to vote Sean Crowe back into the Dail or Mary Upton & Eric Byrne (a bitter divide if any!) asking people to transfer on to Aengus O’Snodaigh.

    David Adams piece to expose the hollowness of Gerry Adams offer – but I sincerely doubt it even figures on Labour’s radar. People in the North – Nationalist or Unionist don’t seem to understand how irrelevant Sinn Fein is to people in the south

  • Credit Crunch

    But it is that very irrelevance that Adams (Gerry) is attempting to address by piggybacking on Labour, and the unions. And Adams (David) is, legitimately in my view, pointing out exactly what his namesake’s true motivations are, no matter about the fine language, and the catastrophe this would prove to be for Labour if they go along with it. He uses the history of the SDLP experience to make his point.

  • Mark McGregor

    Is it just me or does anyone else think this was never thought a credible or realistic proposal by Adams and SF?

    To me it read like just trying to finally banish that additional electoral disaster of seeming willing to jump into bed with FF (or anyone at all for that matter) during the last election.

    Commentators treating it with any seriousness seem to be missing the most likely explanation, which is neither serious or based in any expectation that Labour will take the offer up.

  • Dave

    I’d say it’s more a case of being the same tactic, i.e. to create the impression among the gullible that either of the two main parties considered them as being fit for government, when the reality was that both of the party leaders had explicitly rejected them as suitable coalition partners. This offer is designed to create the impression that The Labour Party would consider them to be a legitimate partner on the left, thereby bolstering their (faltering) credibility among their own supporters.

    The green ties are now swapped for socialist red ones, so the new emphasis is on domestic politics as opposed to the constitutional issue in accordance with SF’s new Redmondite agenda. So it probably helps them along that road too.

    Just as they “hollowed out” the SDLP, they did the same to republicanism under the direction of their handlers. There will also be a reason found by the main Irish parties to exclude SF from government, but they won’t tell you whether or not their actual objection is based on intelligence reports and relates to injecting agents of The Crown into Irish government.

  • latcheeco

    Some believe freestaters have been agents of the crown since the attack on the Four Courts.