Within the Sinn Fein rank and file, there seems
to be a ground swell of opinion building that believes
more than enough compromises have already been made
in the hope of resurrecting the Stormont Administration,
and as this has still not happened, no matter what
the party does it will never be enough to satisfy
the DUP of Ian Paisley, and, more importantly, the
many SF members, the old maxim when dealing with
the British State, "'They never give you a
pair of trousers without cutting off the buttons,''
has come home to roost. One can only hope to see
the SF leadership, under pressure from below, begin
a reassessment of its strategy vis a vis the GFA,
and in the process revert to the straight talking
language of the six county street.
is the Brits who have responsibility for the north.
All logic points to the fact that it is they who
have the power to reinstall the Stormont Administration
with or without the DUP.
all, one of the reasons Ian Paisley Snr. is so popular
within his political constituency is that he refuses
to use spin and bullshit. He tells it as he sees
it, and by so doing even his enemies have a grudging
admiration for him.
SF has become soft and flabby during the years they
have spent enchanted by the type of international
diplomacy practiced by the British State, which
was used astutely to entice them into a process,
which for those who set it in motion, was never
meant to bring SF to their intended destination.
SF were allowed into the first class compartments
at the start of the journey, the British always
planned to downsize them further down the line into
steerage, which they considered to be more suitable
accommodation for the Shinners.
believing they had caught the 20.16 special-train
to Dublin, had in reality, by sleight of hand and
pomp and circumstance been deceived into catching
the over-night boat-train to no-where. Thus all
SF's rushing around, last minute packing, and organizing
their journey onwards was pointless. Unlike the
20.16 to Dublin, which is a one-off special, the
boat-train runs everyday, so there was no particular
hurry in the first place.
Peace Process was a device to end the seemingly
endless war of attrition between the PIRA and the
British State. That the PRM leadership decided to
enter this process is not to their detriment, as
the war had clearly reached a dead end. The duty
of the Republican leadership was to salvage what
they could from the debris of thirty years of armed
might help if we momentarily look at this from Mr
Adams' perspective and pose the question, how many
coffins can one man shoulder? If you answer this
question truthfully, then Gerry Adams' behavior
in going down the GFA road has not been dishonorable,
although I realize for me to attempt to sell this
to many of the Republican dissidents would be like
trying to sell sand to the Arabs.
real mistake the PRM leadership made was being enticed
so thoroughly into the trap set for them by Perfidious
Albion. Firstly, the British spent considerable
time and energy massaging Provisional Republican
egos and in truth many succumbed to this flattery.
There is no real surprise in this after the decades
of the long war, with all that entailed, not least
the years of excruciating boredom and anonymity.
PIRA and its volunteers suddenly found themselves
being portrayed in the international media as the
greatest guerrilla army history has known. Leading
Republicans', especially Martin McGuinness's, military
prowess was trumpeted in the media as being on a
par with any senior British Officer.
we were led to believe from the press that in officers'
messes throughout the UK, any mention of the name
'Martin' sent a cold shudder around the room. Senior
British Army officers, not known as a species for
careless talk, were overheard by journalists commenting
that Martin McGuinness, if he had been born across
the Irish Sea, would have risen to the top of the
British General Staff.
came the 'bumming' up of SF leaders, excuse my crudeness
but it is the only word to describe what happened.
Presidents stopped their motorcades just to say
"Hi". Presidential candidates shopped
in specific bookshops to do the same. The British
Prime Minister, we are led to believe, invited leaders
of SF into his inner-most sanctum at Chequers for
a bit of R&R.
the Third World, political acquaintances of Blair
and Clinton/Bush were encouraged to invite SF leaders
to their own countries on the pretext of asking
them for advice on solving their own often intractable
problems. That these same SF leaders failed to notice
none of these overseas dignitaries ever accepted
a word of their advice should have set the alarm
bells ringing; that it never did just shows how
this enticement worked.
SF friends would say, 'OK, you may be right, but
enough of the sour grapes, where's the beef, what
is needed is positive suggestions not more harking
back to the past'. Well, politics is not rocket
science no matter how much spin doctors pretend
it is. Today's politicians have the answer to most
of the problems which arise during their watch at
their fingertips, if they only looked. The one certainty
about political activity is no matter what situation
confronts modern politicos, it has occurred before
somewhere in the mists of time.
SF have an advantage, for during the years of armed
struggle, and despite the exaggerations I have mentioned
above, the PRM really did build a formidable grass
roots network of political activists prepared to
go the extra mile. Sadly much of this precious human
collateral has been squandered by the SF leadership,
but there still remains a fair amount in the bank.
The main reason for Sinn Fein's electoral growth
both in the north and ROI was sections of the Irish
electorate admired the party's stance on supporting
the underdog and their refusal to bend the knee
to Perfidious Albion. However, what held many of
them back from supporting SF at the Ballot Box was
the continuation of the armed struggle. Once the
second ceasefire became a reality SF saw its electoral
support grow considerably.
things has caused this rise in support to plateau
out. The British State, having been caught off guard
at the extent of the good will displayed towards
SF by the Irish electorate in both jurisdictions,
decided to attack SF in a more aggressive manner.
the overwhelming factor was the decision by the
Adams leadership to respond to these attacks from
the British State with sleight of hand politics,
softball returns and compromises. Whilst some compromises
were to be welcomed and long overdue, others were
a vain attempt to keep SF in the GFA game at almost
any cost. In the electorates mind, the party was
transformed from a gallant Celtic knight combating
evil against great odds, into a lickspittle political
'mob on the rob' who would do almost anything to
stay in the game.
of placing the blame and responsibility for the
stagnation of the Peace Process at the feet of the
British government, Mr Adams and his colleagues
kept harping on about the 'Secrocrats' being responsible
for all the north's political ills.
Time and again the opportunity to place the blame
where it belonged with the Blair Government was
passed up presumably in the belief that it was essential
to maintain cordial relations with the UK Prime
Minister and his Secretary of State. This during
a period when Mr Blair's political police were running
informers within Mr Adams' coterie, bugging Mr Adams
transport under a warrant signed by the Secretary
of State and briefing the media and the IMC with
often fictitious reasons as to why it was impossible
for SF to enter the Stormont Administration.
you are a physical force Republican of the Ruairí
Ó Brádaigh variety, none of the above
behavior by the SF leadership is a hanging offense,
a good flogging perhaps some may believe. In any
case it is not for me to say who should be in leadership
positions with in SF or any other political party.
But what is clear things cannot carry on as they
are. It is time SF returned to calling a spade a
spade and ceased all this 'thank you very kindly
sir' bourgeois nonsense.
the British State all but encouraging the DUP's
intransigence in their refusal to enter into a new
Stormont Administration, Sinn Fein has been gifted
a powerful propaganda opportunity which they will
pass up at their peril.
stood the PIRA down and participated with some success
in the north's democratic electoral process, are
Republicans expected to accept the DUP/UK States
refusal to honor their mandate passively and by
so doing acquiesce in the disenfranchisement of
those who voted for them?
should they demand of their former associates in
the Pan Nationalist Front (FF/PD ROI Government,
Irish America and the Nationalist political parties
from the north of Ireland) that they join with SF
and other Democrats and mount a campaign of mass
protest and civil disobedience until the British
State shoulders its democratic responsibilities
to the minority community in the north of Ireland?
Such a campaign is a win-win contest for Republicans,
as it will expose the democratic shortcomings of
the Northern Statelet or if successful will have
re-written the song sheet. Forget Sunningdale for
slow learners, what is needed is a 21st century
version of the NICR Movement, Lutta continua.