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:
— David McCann (@dmcbfs) March 9, 2015
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]
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