Tuesday, December 22, 2015

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Tomfoolery

For now despite an intense media barrage and Katyusha style flak from political opponents Sinn Fein is holding the line on Thomas Slab Murphy, last week convicted of tax evasion in Dublin’s no-jury Special Criminal Court.

Mary Lou McDonald has now added her voice to the chorus of tomfoolery that the party’s public discourse is so often reduced to when embarrassing issues arise. The party that promised to tax the rich is now being portrayed as the party that eulogises
a millionaire tax dodger. 

Sinn Fein’s moth like attraction to the flame of public ridicule and bad publicity is one of those Northern conflict legacy issues that ensnares the party more than it enables it to move forward on the issues of today. Martin McGuinness has expressed surprise at the reaction to the Murphy verdict but he shouldn’t really. The Murphy conviction has mushroomed in relevance only because of the South Armagh man’s longstanding association with the coterie of martial politicians which has remained firmly in situ at the heart of the Sinn Fein leadership for decades. Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour each have had around five different leaders since 1983. Sinn Fein is now in its fourth decade of being under the firm control of the same caudillo and his camarilla. Burning political ambition, the determining factor in maintaining that status quo. 

One of Sinn Fein’s main lines of defence, or deflection depending on how you view it, is that Murphy should never have been tried in a no jury court. It is an argument that surely has merit in any society and which should be applicable to all citizens. The weakness in Sinn Fein’s posturing is that in the North where the Diplock system is still regularly used to try republicans the party has nothing to say in opposition to the British state’s prosecutor doing his utmost to haul people in front of juryless courts. In contrast to its harsh criticism of Director of Public Prosecutions Claire Loftus it lauds Barra McGrory, depicting him as a wizard rather than a weasel. 

While Murphy is being defended for now, the time might come where Adams will decide that such a course is no longer conducive to the furtherance of his political career. The axe may yet be brought to bear on one former IRA chief of staff by another. In that closed world the interests of the primus inter pares come before all else. 

What many of those in the grassroots - including those who have sympathy for Tom Murphy’s current predicament - have long failed to grasp is that when Adams came into the republican forest in the form of an axe, the ranks of trees, in the words of the old Turkish proverb, reassured each other that things were fine, “the handle is one of us".

They never paused to consider that the British state could have said the same thing with greater conviction.

1 comments :

sean bres said...

'What many of those in the grassroots - including those who have sympathy for Tom Murphy’s current predicament - have long failed to grasp is that when Adams came into the republican forest in the form of an axe, the ranks of trees, in the words of the old Turkish proverb, reassured each other that things were fine, “the handle is one of us". They never paused to consider that the British state could have said the same thing with greater conviction.'

A simple, if terrifying, assessment and one extremely difficult to discount. Adams has recently alluded that a United Ireland may not be as that traditionally understood by republicans. But given that they sold the Agreement as a staging point to the Irish Republic, a point on the road waiting on a nationalist majority in the Six Counties to see it realised in full, why then would they start moving the goalposts, before a negotiation has even happened and whose end does this serve? Could it be that a Nationalist majority is already there in the North and they are laying the ground as to how it can be channelled? Seems so to me. I remember Gerry McGeough making mention of this at his getting out party, that a Nationalist majority in the North was already there, a point backed up by the recent census figures, which may not be entirely accurate but which claim there are only tens of thousands now between the two communities. This is dangerous for the British interest, even if it remains unlikely all of those in question would vote for a United Ireland. Just in case, they will no doubt craft a new political settlement, when the time comes, which protects British interests within a United Ireland and that is likely what Adams is laying the ground for. Who is he working for is definitely something that needs to be considered because everything about this man is plainly wrong