Sinn Fein pull another ‘reverse ferret’ on welfare reform (oh yeah, and Syriza)…

So what have Gerry Adams and the megalomaniacal (and, let it be said, commercially successful) demagogically simplifying former editor of The Sun Kelvin McKenzie got in common? They are/were both aficionados of the Reverse Ferret. Wikipedia describes it thusly:

…used predominantly within the British media to describe a sudden reversal in an organisation’s editorial line on a certain issue. Generally, this will involve no acknowledgement of the previous position.

In today’s Irish News, Tom Kelly filed a column on a parallel reverse ferret over abortion making the rather well timed observation that Sinn Fein suffers “no sense of irony or political indigestion comes about from eating their own words or doing political u-turns”.

Kelly’s assertion that its leadership is unquestioned by its membership underwritten by the fact the party was both publicly and privately still pushing the Stormont House Agreement at it’s Derry Ard Fheis over the weekend. David picked up this rather forceful pushback to the party’s critics from Bobby Storey:

This will be Sinn Fein’s third volte face on the matter in two years, which is probably an indication that it’s the source of some considerable pain somewhere. As Alan has noted, Martin McGuinness is blaming Peter Robinson, but rather tellingly without pointing to anything specific he has or hasn’t done.

It seems more likely that having hyped up expectations of what they could get from London, they simply could not live with the reality of what they actually negotiated.

The fact they kept the Ard Fheis in the dark was probably an attempt to keep this latest flip flop out of the southern papers (and so far it’s been largely successful, as it happens).

In other news, as Greece’s Syriza is reportedly lining up for a third Bailout from the Troika. And just as the London Spectator was picking up last week’s message [and the Greek deputy Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos was barely on the plane home] Mr Adams was already putting clear green water between himself and the Greek populists:

“We are not Syriza and this is not Greece. There is a better way of sorting out our problems.”

Ouch! [“Hey, it’s just bidness.” – Ed]

 

  • Cue Bono

    So what can be going on? Well my theory would be that originally Adams insisted that they shouldn’t allow Welfare Reform to go through as it would affect his chances of becoming top dog in the south. Meanwhile the Nordies, presumably led by Marty, were complaining that not implementing welfare reform was costing millions of pounds in fines, was likely to collapse Stormont and was making them look like incompetent idiots. A couple of Spads even resigned didn’t they?

    Presumably at some stage Adams relented and allowed them to negotiate some face saving stuff in order to keep Stormont going. Then the southern parties started calling him out on implementing austerity in the south whilst opposing it in the south. On top of that a few polls come out that make Adams think he could just make it to being Taoiseach, so he loses the run of himself and starts crapping it that his Janus like policies might lose him his big dream. So he instructs the Nordies to pull the plug on welfare reform plunging Stormont into crisis, but leaving him able to claim that he is anti austerity in NI as well.

    Sound plausible? He is after all the guy who allegedly let the hunger strike go on after Maggie had given the prisoners concessions that they were happy with in order to get Owen Carron elected and kick start his own political career. He also happens to be the Dear Leader and what he says obviously goes.

    To think that people regard the Adams dictatorship as being modernising and progressive. Hilarious.

  • chrisjones2

    This is just the Political Version of the Northern Bank

  • kensei

    I’d say Sinn From need to come up with concrete stuff that the DUP has reneged on. Given that the DUP reneged on quite a lot of stuff previously, I’m not sure it can be so readily ruled out – particularly as I’d guess the DUP would be more adept at working the detail to their own ends. But they really need to show what that is to have any credibility.

  • David Crookes

    Never mind the ferret. Wouldn’t you rather be a skunk than a limp obedient member of this gang?
    “We don’t know what we think about a certain important matter today, because the Dear Leader has yet to pronounce on the matter.
    “The present case confronts us with no problem. On Saturday the Dear Leadership implied that all was well. At the time, so it was. Today we have a crisis, because circumstances have changed completely in the course of two days. We limp obedient members of SF should be grateful that our Dear Leadership has been able to discern how things have changed. Whatever happens, the Dear Leader is always right.”
    They need to be careful. The old line about the Troubles starting up again if the Stormont house of cards falls down may no longer accord with reality. Lots of people on both sides of the fence are heartily sick of the Stormont house of cards, and if it does fall down those people will do their best to get on with their lives.

  • Tacapall

    “The old line about the Troubles starting up again if the Stormont house of cards falls down”

    You flogging your own propaganda David ? Who from Sinn Fein peddled the
    above line, if truth be told you should be pointing your finger at the
    PUP and Billy Hutchinson who just lately hinted at what your talking
    about if the PSNI didn’t stop unearthing all those RUC agents within the
    UVF who they allowed free reign to murder at will.

  • mickfealty

    They must have their own reasons Ken, but they ain’t telling anyone what they are. Which nicely allows everyone to fill in their favoured narrative. Mine is: “what do you mean you hadn’t a clue what we signed up to!” But I’m guessing the actual truth is much more bizarre, (and unprecedented).

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Tacapall. I didn’t attribute the old line to SF, because I’ve heard it articulated over and over again as an orthodoxy by wiseacres on both sides of the fence.
    Sorry if you thought I was propagandizing. I can’t forgive the unionist politicians who helped to give us squalid #flegs and squalid Twaddell. In the present case I see SF as behaving in a perfectly squalid manner.

  • Tacapall

    “They must have their own reasons Ken”

    Like political maneuvering but isn’t that what all political parties do, forewarned is forearmed an all that.

  • Practically_Family

    I would suggest that SF walked out of the talks thinking that the “discretionary fund” would ensure that the welfare reforms were, well.. Reforms. A new name and a new IT system, but everyone gets the same handout. And they could take that to their left leaning following.

    I shall admit that that is pretty much what I thought had had been negotiated myself. It allowed everyone to save face as long as nobody looked at the figures too closely.

    Then I reckon someone looked closely.

  • kensei

    It could equally be they know, the DUP know and the DUP moved some goalposts. If they are hurting it probably wouldn’t take much. But who knows?

    I also think it is a bit dangerous suggesting SF didn’t know what they signed up to as if it is monolithic. You can be certain parts of the party on both sides of the debate understand fully, they have pathologies but aren’t fools. They could be having a full scale split on it and we wouldn’t really know given the party discipline.

    I think you are applying your own assumptions equally. Maybe you have more information. But at this point it seems all that can be done us waiting for a bit more light.

  • james

    Speaking of the ‘Dear Leader’, one wonders who will take the throne whenever he finally falls off it (or the madness finally takes him). I’d quite like Alex Maskey.

  • james

    You don’t need real reasons when your supporters will blindly obey whatever you tell them to do.

  • Cue Bono

    Surely it would have to be one of their more intelligent members. The sort of person they would put in charge of something important like education, or someone highly articulate such as the sort of person they would put in charge of culture.

  • james

    Indeed. John O’Dowd. Wouldn’t that be a delight. But who would write his cheat notes? I note he has taken to parroting Adams’ “the IRA have left the stage”, but not yet Marty’s ” over the course of the last number of…..”. Perhaps Gildernew whom I note was looking as lovely as ever in, incongruously, a poppy print dress at the SF festival.

  • Cue Bono

    That wouldn’t have added up though. The money has run out and maintaining the same handouts was never an option.

  • Cue Bono

    Apparently Gildernew is unwell. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/my-20year-battle-with-depression-by-michelle-gildernew-28923072.html

    The heir apparent was always Conor Murphy though he disappeared slightly after being caught out at his sectarian antics.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/sinn-fein-minister-found-guilty-of-religious-discrimination-495007-Jun2012/

  • alexbr

    I’ll take what Martin McGuinness has to say stick it in an anagrammer and believe whatever comes out it before I’d trust Mick Fielty on anything regarding Sinn Fein.

  • alexbr

    They’ll have so many elected reps across Ireland they’ll be spoilt for choice.

  • alexbr

    You mean the orange order surley? Become a member and throw away your conscience when you wanna marry a taig.

  • alexbr

    Sinn Fein are the only show in town and this is more proof. Everybody’s talking about them, even haters like your goodself spending so much time on it,
    fascinating.

  • Zeno

    “Kelly’s assertion that its leadership is unquestioned by its membership”

    Fear maybe?

  • Zeno

    What have they actually achieved though? They are starting to look like empty suits with empty heads and empty promises.
    Still if you guys are happy with that good luck.

  • james

    Hmm perhaps that will lead to infighting and damaging internal feuds. After all, those elected reps won’t be practised at thinking for themselves. Could be a huge implosion.

  • james

    I’m not surly at all.

  • alexbr

    Thats just wisful thinking on your part.
    Incapable of thinking for themselves makes you wonder how they get out of bed in the morning.
    Sinn Fein don’t punish members who marry a person of another religon. They don’t care for those things.
    How many unionist elected reps can say the same?

    Section 31 now in full force.

  • mickfealty

    I don’t Ken. Honest. I cannot think of a single reason that amply justifies this turn on a sixpence. But your mention of pathologies is as close to a rational explanation as anything I’ve heard of…

  • mickfealty

    I’ve made my analogy to “Soap” here before, and this evening on Twitter. Confused? You will be!

    This even contradicts the election literature FFS!!

  • alexbr

    No James, you’re deluded.

  • mickfealty

    Just in the mood for handing out cards.

  • james

    Oh I see….you’re a troll…aha my bad, should have realized sooner. Shan’t feed you any more.

  • mickfealty

    He’s gone.

  • mickfealty

    You boys want to follow Alex? Wise up, and play be the rules!

  • Guest

    “I cannot think of a single reason that amply justifies this turn on a sixpence.”

    Not even the one they stated?

  • james

    Point taken. My apologies.

  • Dixie Elliott

    There’s another storm coming so it’s cover up time again…..

  • Tacapall

    Election literature, who even reads that, nothing surprises in this part of the world, not even the PSNI admitting collusion but have no duty of care to the victims of their agents. Alice wouldn’t get a look in down this rabbit hole.

  • Cue Bono

    Any way you look at this the Sinners come out of it badly. If the theory that this is all about Adams and his ambitions in the south is correct then they look terrible. Willing to sacrifice years of tough cross community work, put in to make Stormont work, for one man’s hubris. It is also very likely to backfire on them with the southern electorate.

    If the second (much less likely imho) scenario, that the DUP have hoodwinked them into thinking that they had gained much more than they thought they had, is correct then they simply look like incompetent idiots. A party that is incapable of doing simple sums let alone negotiate financial settlements.

    In any normal party this would cause internal earthquakes and heads would be rolling left right and centre, but this is SF and SF is clearly a dictatorship. They do what Adams tells them to do and they like it. Should be fun watching how they row back from this though.

  • David Crookes

    Agree 100%, CB.

  • chrisjones2

    …and this time all these crimes were in Ireland not the UK weren’t they so why was SF not reporting them to the Garda

  • mickfealty

    Yeah, my mistake was and remains thinking any of this was real…

  • Zeno

    There is a long list of events where you would expect them to come out of badly, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect on their support. It could be that that has led them to believe they are immune and they actually do think they can do anything they like and be sure of retaining their support.
    In this case we don’t have all of the information so we can only speculate.

  • Guest

    Isn’t this a good thing?

    This issue is neither protestant nor catholic, neither unionist nor nationalist. It’s a difference of economic/social policy. SF & SDLP have a position and it’s opposed by the DUP & UUP.

    The merits of the diverse opinions of the parties are being poured over & debated.

    And we may get an election off the back of it?

    Isn’t this exactly what people are always demanding Stormont evolve into?

  • murdockp

    The public sector striking because of a voluntary redundancy scheme ?

    Political parties that won’t live within their means.

    Let the house of cards fall

  • Kevin Breslin

    People want unrealistically simple politics and no debate and more money to spend on crisps, coffee and chewing gum … if politicians can’t deliver that, what use are they?

  • Gerrynearly

    The key word in there is allegedly. All the accounts that I have read (and that’s a few) state that the SF leadership wanted the strike to end but it was the strikers themselves that insisted on continuing, but maybe that doesn’t fit your narrative?

  • barnshee

    “Isn’t this exactly what people are always demanding Stormont evolve into?”

    Really- It reminds me of children squabbling in the back of the car because big sister has not shared out the sweets fairly

  • barnshee

    You would have to provide stats on “Sinn Fein members who marry a person of another religon. ”
    PS I would think being an SF member would ensure that no prod would “take them on”