Sinn Fein’s social media evolution has eroded its old mystique of ‘Leadership’

Exceptionally good piece by Fionnuala O’Connor in the Irish News yesterday. To summarise, she thinks despite it’s obvious successes with social media (Gerry Adams is the most influential politician in Ireland for example), that he and the party have been over communicating:

Sinn Fein is resilient, for good reason. Handling the fallout from atrocities over decades taught the fore-runners of today’s machine-minders. Rule number one is still to say whatever needs saying. Much as other parties but with the exceptional element that you expected to be disbelieved, indeed scorned.

Rule number two used to be then say no more. Today’s leaders abandoned that some time back, and as a result have talked themselves into various binds.

The Adams persona stood up well to early peace processing. Bearing, gravitas, withheld personality all contributed desirable seriousness, a touch of statesman to combat the scary IRA reputation, reassurance that whatever about bombs under roads and taped-up bodies in ditches, this person had leadership quality. These past few years leave that quality a touch shorn.

The frippery of social media in senior hands, the triviality of blogging, rubber ducks, teddy bears have arguably played into this shearing as much as the tragedy and ugliness of sexual abuse, the loss of credibility involved in denying IRA membership.

Indeed. All that ‘self hacking’ has led to some very embarassing (nay, inexplicable) moments.

Fionnuala also notes that what insiders and outsiders think about the Sinn Fein leader can diverge dramatically. Chris Dillow refers to something akin to this, which he calls the the false consensus effect, one of the down effects of which are:

It’ll cause us to under-estimate the benefits of cognitive diversity. If we believe that everyone thinks like us anyway, we’ll not invest in ensuring we get a plurality of perspectives and we’ll be overly inclined to trust hierarchical decision-making processes.

Quite. The evolution of Sinn Fein from a paramilitary based hierarchy into a modern democratic party will not be, as Dan O’Brien noted last week, an automatic process.

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  • Jag

    Over communicating? Absolutely, that Leargas blog which stated abusers had been “expelled” was suicidal and will drag on SF for years to come, because it’s a loose thread just begging to be pulled at.

    As for “leadership”, Mick, it’s 2014 you know. Barack does the correspondents dinner and Leno, Dave broadcasts his domestic chores and Silvio? Celebrity trumps leadership. Teddy bears and the little ones in my life, aaah, as cute as Gizmo, the gremlin before midnight and not to be confused with the watered, post midnight, coffin carrying unpleasantness of the civil war.

  • Was involved in East/West meetings in the 1980s. It was remarkable the absolute belief of East German (Party members of course) that the DSR was perfect. Problem is that in breaking that faith, what then to believe? If Shinners do not believe Adams, what becomes of the project? That the IRA is not the Army of Ireland, that SF is not a Government in waiting, that Ireland is just an island and not a national territory?

  • Barneyt

    Those that back SF now are likely to remain unchanged. Have the church atrocities grossly affected their following? or can any loss of faith be put down to generational disillusionment and perhaps enlightenment. Both the Church and SF issues regarding abuse and seemingly turning a blind eye will be placed in a particular box, a box that belongs to a different past. That’s how it will be rationalised.

    If I was pushing SF, I would be concerned about the impact to the future female following, however, there is enough left for SF to gain in the present and future, for the past to really damage them in the longer term…and by that I mean six months.

    FG will become increasingly unpopular as more austerity bites. They will turn to FF before remembering who perhaps got “us” in this mess. SF may return if not go beyond the currently popularity. I suspect the SF opposition is working hard to see where their next genie will come from…..asuming the current one is about to issue its third wish and disappear into the ether.

  • Robin Keogh

    Ha ! So when they are genuinely good at something; its bad news for them. Brilliant, you couldnt make this stuff up…….oh…erm…no i am wrong there. Clearly some people can. Hilarious.

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Fionnuala O’Connor joins a long list of reporters who want Gerry Adams to call it a day- although O’Connor says Gerry should Quit for the cause- ( that’s a first )- this reporter then Quotes the good old days -( when there did not look like a breakthrough in the Dail was possible )-now it is possible this reporter is looking Gerry to stand down-she would take no heed if I told her to stop writing- so why should anyone take any heed of her bad advice-

  • chrisjones2

    Absolutely.What social media and the internet do is make past statements accessible which make consistently lying much much harder

  • chrisjones2

    By the way where was your big bang on Sunday that was going to blow cahill apart? Did I miss it or did your bahandlers over promise

  • Robin Keogh

    Could you quote back to me where i ever mentioned” Sunday “and where i ever said Ms Cahill was going to be “blown apart” …as you so eloquently put it

  • babyface finlayson

    I think it was Monday and it was to be a ‘bombshell’. I am assuming it was the RNU connection, hardly a bombshell in my opinion.
    I see Seamus Finucane has at least distanced himself from the unpleasant ‘belfast child blog.
    Sadly no sign of his version of what happened at the meetings with Mairia Cahill when he was trying to help her.

  • chrisjones2

    You deliberately misinterpret. You are correct you said ‘the weekend’ not Sunday and the Cahill refers to the story

    The question sstandds…where is the bombshell?

  • chrisjones2

    Bombshell? That tawdry little piece of attempted character assassination?

    IT just served to show how desperate SF and its acolytes are.

    I just cannot understand why they are so keen to cover up paedophilia and rape ..or why the voters let them. Still after 2500 murders I suppose that a little rape may seem inconsequential

  • chrisjones2

    I would prefer to see him and his associates competently investigated to see if any crimes were committed

    But its nice to see a SF member calling for journalists to be silenced ….just like the old days eh Mickey

  • chrisjones2

    Was it a no comment interview?

  • Michael-Henry Mcivor

    Who has not been completely investigated- Well apart from the old RUC special branch- we are being told that they helped the Omagh bombers and kept those under suspicion out of the investigation loop-

    I don’t want to see any journalist silenced and I would like to see everyThing out in the open for the public to see- unfortunately the British governments will not allow it’s wee secrets about Ireland to be made public for another 50 100 more years time-they are the ones hiding the truth- but where are yours and the medias call for the truth to be set free-

  • babyface finlayson

    He gave an interview to the Irish Independent, saying he had not read the blog (it was 7 pages) before putting it on his facebook page. He does not endorse the sentiments expressed by belfast child. No comment on the alleged meetings or court martial.

  • chrisjones2

    If he hadn’t read it why link to it? Especially on such a sensitive matter?

  • chrisjones2

    “I don’t want to see any journalist silenced ”

    …..but thats what you called for

    “and I would like to see everyThing out in the open for the public to see” ….

    ……. and given your posts here that is comparable to Gerry’s denial of IRA membership

    Personally I would love to see it all set out but to do that would so undermine so many people in politics and expose the threadbare SF Sockpuppet

  • Jag

    Tumbleweed, dog barks somewhere in the distance….

  • babyface finlayson

    well as I understand it he saw the title;
    “Mairia Cahill’s Kangaroo Court – Trial By Media”
    and put it up, without realising what was in it.
    He could probably do with a good PR man. Where is Ulick?

  • Anyway, back to the point of this post.

    “The frippery of social media in senior hands, the triviality of blogging, rubber ducks, teddy bears have arguably played into this shearing as much as the tragedy and ugliness of sexual abuse, the loss of credibility involved in denying IRA membership.”

    I don’t actually buy that argument. What’s damaging to Gerry’s credibility is the on-going drip, drip, drip of toxic issues from the past Gerry always seems to be linked to.

    Talking of which:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/man-arrested-over-jean-mcconville-murder-1.1981909