Like Pete, in today’s Irish News Brian Feeney was less than impressed with Gerry Adams’s speech to his party activists at Gulladuff. In fact he points out that for all the grandstanding about near dates for a referendum on unification, there is no plan:
You can’t just have a question asking: “Do youse want a united Ireland?” Would it be a unitary state, a federal state, a confederal state? Would the northern assembly remain as a subordinate administration to the Dail similar to its present relationship to Westminster, something de Valera advocated in 1966, or be abolished?
In the case of Scotland we already know the preferred question Alex Salmond wants in his 2014 referendum and we know what Scottish independence entails because he has spelt it out. As a party leader Adams has a duty to spell it out. What exactly does Sinn Fein want? People have to know how they will be affected.
If they don’t, they’ll vote No.
There’s another important question Adams and others like Martin McGuinness dodge. As former military men, though Adams of course doesn’t know he was in the IRA, they will be aware that if you have an objective you need a plan to achieve it.
The truth is that not only do Sinn Fein not know how a united Ireland would be structure, they have not got a plan to achieve it. They haven’t got a notion what to do next. They’re beginning to sound like Fianna Fail in the fifties and sixties.
Constantly repeating 32 county republic become known as verbal republicanism, a substitute for any political action. The sort of fare Adams dished up in Gulladuff is Sinn Fein’s 21st-century version.
It’s nearly 30 years since the New Ireland Forum produced a set of blueprints for constitutional change. John Hume had to present his preferred option to the forum. What’s Gerry Adams’s preferred option?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty