So on top of Ted, Tom and Rubber Ducky, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is now telling us he cavorts naked with his pet dog on a trampoline. Some of his critics are sanguine that it might lead to him being framed in a harsh light, which would allow the comparisons with Jimmy Saville to suggest themselves to an audience, rather than the audience being led to them.
But you would really need to believe Adams does any of this sort of thing for that to be a realistic possibility. He no more trampolines Starry Eyed and Bollock Naked with his pet dog than his pet rat Danny Morrison was “eating cornflakes and toast on Pluto” on a Monday morning back in August 1999. He merely laughs at those who believe him when he says he does.
As for those who actually do believe him, other than Sinn Fein members who swallow everything he tells them anyway, and a posse of journalists devoted to deflections and so out of touch that tactile dysfunction might best describe their condition, the gathering will not be a large one.
Noses will be out of joint for sure but that is part of the craic. Danny Morrison will be orange with envy that he does not get a chance to romp naked with the Master. After all it is probably the same trampoline on which Morrison learned how to summersault and subsequently resile from every position he ever held. The Jim Gibney column in the Irish News will explain in considerable detail that both dog and Master put bounce into the peace process at a time when the Dublin and London governments have disengaged and allowed it to go flat.
Others will mull over his state of mind to little avail.
Henry McDonald has offered a robust and persuasive analysis of the Adams discourse in which he says the caudillo has not lost the plot but is in fact the architect of the plot: the Adams musings draw attention to personal foibles and deflect from party faults that Sinn Fein cannot bounce away from just as easily.
Still, even with having read McDonald’s piece there is a part of me that feels Adams does it because he can; a master of stretching human credulity, he is endlessly fascinated by the nonsense that people will say they believe. He has long discovered Karl Kraus’s “secret of the demagogue” which is “to make himself as stupid as his audience so that they believe they are as clever as he.” He is conveying to the press the contempt with which he views it: throwing it a meagre morsel that will have it haring off digging up dog bones rather than the human bones Adams is more associated with in the public mind.
There is also the sense that he is taking the piss out of his own followers, to whom he has applied Frank Dane’s old witticism 'get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.' They in turn will trip over themselves in the rush to get to the International Wall on Belfast’s Falls Road to hurriedly paint murals of the Great Trampolinist, only for some Lower Falls wit to come along in their wake and daub out the 'olinist' to cries of 'heretic and blasphemer.'
Adams might not get an Oscar for his version of Dances With Wolves, but it is good acting nonetheless. And all the time the novelist John Banville’s “streak of sentimentality that marks the totalitarian mind” continues to be nurtured while the audience is busy watching the circus.