One does not have to be a clairvoyant to see where Sinn Fein’s response to the recent disquiet expressed within the core Republican working class heartlands might lead. The party intends to shirk its own responsibility for the rise in anti social behavior in places like West Belfast by placing the blame on the community as a whole. ‘Bad parenting’ is the most common words one hears from SF reps these days, followed by, ‘these young hoods need to be dealt with by the courts far more harshly.’ In other words the SF party has reverted to the standard right wing speak so beloved of the English middle classes, although there is one major differences. When the English middle class media parrot such unthinking rubbish to avoid getting to the heart of societal problems that have there roots elsewhere, they are demanding that someone elses children be punished, i e those of the working classes. One can only hope that wiser heads will prevail and this response by SF was a knee jerk reaction after the leadership were taken by surprise by the anger that erupted after the murder of West Belfast man Frank McGreevy.
The press are doing what they can to take the pressure off Gerry Adams, one former Loyalist who now writes for the Irish Times even told his readers that, ” It is hard to know what precisely Gerry Adams and his party should be doing”
Oh really, perhaps I can help him here, what Sinn Fein’s leadership should start doing is resisting and by this I do not mean a call to arms, but a return to the pavement politics SF once excelled at, instead of spending all their time at Stormont or traveling the world. To a man/woman all the SF speakers at the Easter 1916 commemorations failed to deal with the issues that their constituency prioritise, Jobs, education, anti social behavior and policing. Instead they prattled on about the bright sunny uplands of an Irish Republic and boasted that SF presence in the Stormont administration had brought massive gains to the Republican heartlands,
Take Pearse Doherty, an able and likable up and coming Sinn Fein politician who told a crowd of more than 1,000 people at an Easter commemoration in Derry that progress was being made towards a united Ireland, that he was “greatly moved” by the sight of 125 Tricolors over graves of republicans, including the graves of 45 members of the Derry Brigade of the IRA who were killed on active service.
“Much has been done in the last twelve months. We are now in government, leading a power-sharing Executive at Stormont. We set ourselves a series of objectives, all of which have been achieved. We have Irish politicians taking decisions on Irish affairs.
Doherty’s oration to my mind smacks of circuses today and bread tomorrow, perhaps someone should remind Pearse that it is Ian Paisleys Democratic Unionist Party that leads the Stormont administration, and SF merely holds the position of deputy first minister. He also failed to mention exactly what the objectives he and his SF colleagues achieved in the last twelve months, without being over critical, about the only thing that stands out is that SF reps have joined the PSNI committees in the North, which to-date has brought the republican heartlands diddly squat.
Across the island of Ireland, SF speakers spoke almost identical words and contained with in their speeches is the worm that is destroying Sinn Fein as a party for progressive change. If all that was required was for Irish politicians to make decisions on Irish affairs there would have been no need for 800 years of struggle. As sadly throughout history; the English have always been able to find Irishmen to do their bidding, and as James Connolly once wrote,
“If you remove the English Army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts will be in vain. England will still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.” *
The Sinn Fein speakers boast that they have power and influence but it is an illusion, however from where they sit life might seem fine, a regular wage, the ability to gain a mortgage on a nice home, subsidized travel at the tax payers expense and god knows what else, British civil servants calling them sir.
Yet none of the aforementioned means power as Doherty claims, it is merely the widow dressing of power. For real power within the northern Statelet resides where it always has within Whitehall in the bosom of the UK State.
The daily lives of those who live in working class West Belfast, and a number of other similar nationalist communities are an abject lesson in just how powerless politically SF has become. Jobs are still far and few between, eduction is not up to scratch, streets remain unswept, an underclass element amongst the youth are beginning to prey on their own communities, not least because idle hands do the devil’s work. Plus for the overwhelming majority of working class nationalists the PSNI is a British police force which is still unaccountable to the local communities it is supposed to serve. [Dirty streets are always the first sign of political incompetence, for if MPs,MLA,s and Councillors cannot jointly get the streets swept they are hardly likely to be able to deal successfully with more serious issues that weigh heavy on their constituents]
Instead of looking at the core reasons that lay behind this list of failure, all we are getting from SF is talk of tougher sentencing, bad parenting and such reactionary crap, which in itself raising the question, if SF are running the northern statelet as they claim, how come sentences are not tougher and bad parenting is not a thing of the past.
* James Connolly, from Socialism and Nationalism in Shan Van Vocht, January 1897.