Booby Trapped

Sinn Fein's metamorphosis from terrorist to errorist is seemingly complete although the rewards have been that spontaneous laughter once described by Ken Livingstone as "often more politically revealing than any number of sanctimonious newspaper columns and political debates."

Except that it wasn't, the party's booby moment bore all the hallmarks of an ambush by political opponents and ne'er-do-wells determined to be unhelpful to the peace process: a carefully laid trip wire that would cause the party a wobble or two on its journey to a destination approved by radical revolutionaries in the mould of ... Lloyd Blankfein.

Having told the world it owned and would therefore never forget Bobby Sands, the party instead remembered "Booby" Sands in its election literature. It was such a howler - imagine Chip Guevara - that many other parties might easily have got away with an explanation that placed the blame on the dirty tricks of detractors. Calculating that nobody would seriously think the party would have made a serious faux pas regarding its foremost icon, Sinn Fein resorted to bluffing it out, describing the booby trap as the work of its opponents. 

There was just one hiccup: courtesy of its leader’s serial dissembling, Sinn Fein never finds itself on terra firma when screaming "liar " at its foes. It eventually abandoned the pretence and admitted that its Booby moment was a typo of its own making.

Typos, sure, no big deal, they happen all the time ... just not to Sinn Fein. It is always somebody else hostile to the peace process or Sinn Fein’s electoral ambitions who is responsible for Sinn Fein misfortunes. Had another party in its election literature have called Sands, "Booby", there would have been howls of indignation from Sinn Fein, depicting it as an affront to a great Irish Patriot. The benefit of typo would not have been afforded them. 

So far from being a booby trap laid by political opponents, it is very much an own goal. Unfortunately for Sinn Fein it came days after party members had ridiculed Fine Gael with a witty graphic of their own. Fine Gael’s gaffe was not a typo but the stuff of high politics and merits more scrutiny than Sinn Fein's errorism. A witty one liner like "we will never forget you Booby Sands" is the mote that distracts from the log and so it proved to be.

It is not actually that Sinn Fein does forget Bobby Sands even though the party has abandoned everything Sands stood for. A prolific writer who left a considerable literary trace the late hunger striker never penned anything that remotely resembles Sinn Fein positions of today and which, to the contrary, were diametrically at odds with Sinn Fein positions. Sinn Fein remembers Bobby Sands but in the way the Irish Labour Party remembers James Connolly. Somebody whose image can be waved and sold but whose substance is never followed.

Still, it is hard not to feel sympathy with the unfortunate who made the gaffe, knowing the growls and barks they would have faced afterwards. It is so easily done. Anybody who has not made a typo has never written anything. Most likely rushed and tired from electioneering the designer has probably taken the lion’s share of the abuse. But former republican prisoner Tim Brannigan hit the spot with his comment "Dear me. Booby Sands? A typo of Curb Your Enthusiasm proportions. How did no-one see this?" His point: it should have been seen. Terry Adams or Merry Lou McDonald would most certainly never have made it to the streets. The real culpability here lies with the proof reading: not with the hand who wrote it but with the eye who let it by.

Sinn Fein's vulnerability on this issue is not that it fails to remember Bobby Sands but that it fails to resemble him. The blanket is the blanket and the banquet is the banquet and never the twain shall meet.

Banquet man


Blanket man

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

12 comments to ''Booby Trapped"

  1. Great article and bang on the spot , I was unlucky enough to bump into a shinner in the Basque Country a few months back and my my he was Sinn Fein thru and thru , an Antrim man by all accounts and somewhat older in years than me , our conversation got around to the up and coming 1916~2016 commemorations around Ireland.

    He seemed quite chuffed about all the activities and so on the Shinners will be organising but he was a little bit peeved that Roddy McCorleys name didnt appear on an Easter Rising roll of honour which he said he had seen , i pointed out to him that McCorley was long dead well before the rising , an indeed that he died in another century and in an altogether different rebellion , but to no avail , he was adamant Roddy died in the G.P.O.

    If this is who is representing Sinn Fein abroad then im quietly confident i could put a fairly decent team together for a 1916~2016 Easter Rebellion University Challenge Special , wonder who Sinn Fein would have on their team.

  2. Good article. I love the comment 'The blanket is the blanket and the banquet is the banquet and never the twain shall meet."

    About the typo gaffe - Maybe it's the eyes that saw it and never let on having printed all those copies. I think that speaks volumes. If you tell me they did not spot such an obvious and terrible error I would find that hard to believe.

  3. typos are forgivable, constant lying and manipulating arent. saying that, sf will probably win the erection. they could top the pole in certain areas. we will be some cuntry then. slob murphy could end up in arse an uachtarain some day. we could twin our country with north korea then. im sure that dude over there has a poster of gerry in his bedroom. finally, dont vote in the forth coming election - its a fact that THE GOVERNMENT ARE GOING TO WIN. victory to the saordonian marxist lennonists.

  4. SF only hang on the republican history/tradition in an attempt to make sure it is never resurrected. Many of the young ones in the party today most likely couldn't tell you anything about the troubles or hunger strikes. It is indeed as relevant as the GPO in 1916. Just a badge of some sort. That may actually be a good thing. People need their heads taken out of their historical holes in this country. The tragedy is FF and FG have done little for the country in spite of all the EU money power hosed into the place for decades and are merely gearing up to give us more of the same. They have succeeded only in disgustingly and shamelessly enriching themselves. As I told their canvassers here in recent days. Time to let someone else have a lash at it. Independent and SF. Nothing else for it. That's the real Booby-Trap. Lack of choice.

  5. Liberal democracy is designed to ensure there is no choice Larry. Choice is only an illusion fed to the masses once every four or five years. A Sinn Fein-led government in the South would make zero difference. What you need to understand is they are ALL capitalist parties and all of them will serve the needs of capital before the people when the time comes - Sinn Fein included. That you're now intent on voting for a party led by paedophile protectors and touts is simply inexplicable from where I'm sitting. It shows how messed up this country really is when THAT'S now our idea of change

  6. Larry I hope you don't vote sf, vote independent if you have to . I have a iPod the words pop up as soon as you type the first letter or two , that is totes amaze balls

  7. Sean Bres + Jerome G

    it is a despicable scenario to be sure to be sure. I don't see any real or lasting benefit from electing any of them. But by the same token nor is awaiting the return of 1916 an option either, there's more chance of JC coming up the Liffey on a jet ski. Short term needs mean the fat slugs who have infested that colonial parliament and taken over from the Protestant ascendancy in their own interests require rooting out. Abstention politics is a dead duck and appeals to no one. As for Paedos sure that's what this country has been ruled by for centuries. Adams will be in his element. Though I will be voting for Vincent Browne's favourite draft dodger, Mc Loughlan. In fact every one on the list bar FG Lab.

  8. Larry a chara, politics and the mainstream media are funded, and thus controlled, by powerful financial elites emanating from Wall Street and the City of London. Despite common misperceptions that in such institutions reside power - held especially to be true of politics - they are in truth then mere instruments of power, who serve power rather than wield it. Power in truth lies with those who control and manipulate both, through funding but also other more sinister processes, such as drug-running and paedophile rings. Understanding this, and its impact on the political process, is crucial to understanding the true purpose of 'government' and 'democracy' - which are a facade. At the end of the day it doesn't matter who you vote for in a rigged system and the actual casting of your vote itself is a deliberate mechanism employed to draw you into that same system - to make you feel as though you were part of the club. I'd sooner be an abstentionist any day and waiting on a re-run of 1916 is fuck all to do with it

  9. Sean Bres

    then it is either the option to do nothing at all to spite the system or attempt to spread what little crumbs we peasants are permitted to receive better than at present. FG are Anglo by blood and in heart. FF are today sadly A-Political/non republican cute hoor scoundrels. But lament not WW3 is brewing in the middle east and a nuclear winter could be about to supersede all that shit talk of climate change! I'm part of no club amigo, I just want to see that colonial closed shop the Dail emptied big time.

  10. All you're proposing is to fill it up with yet more scoundrels and you know it

  11. lads, i really miss the taxi as i cant bounce off people anymore. bres, u are right about banks corporations and media control etc. blackmail paedos etc. the great thing is the internet and the fact a small few are beginning to see the secret government etc and ur not regarded as a screwloose nutcase anymore if u talk about it. i worked in a small printers back in 89 and i typeset a book for an old catholic woman who was on about money manipulation and freemasonry rothschilds, secret socs, control of education , karl marx being a false prophet, fake left right paradigm. she had a chapter on a guy called rakovsky who was let off nuremburg trial - unreal reading. imagine - that was in 89. a mate of mine has a copy but i will try and get it up to u bres if u need. deirdre manifold - towards world government.i remember the cool trendy writers who used to come into the office saying she was a paranoid who should write a novel!!!! everyfuckingsingle thing she wrote about has come to pass. she was on about the eec and how it was going to break ireland by breaking up the family and getting people off the land and into towns. as i type this from the internet cafe twenty past nine in the evening all i can hear is drunken roaring and shouting from the rag week students outside on the street. ignorant fucking gobshites with no fucking manners and they scare old people and tourists. i dont give a shit who wins the election. i would gladly become a fascist and go around the streets and knock manners into people and intern without trial the drug dealing scumbags in dublin and traveller gangs terrorising old people up and down the country. theres a novena on in the cathedral as well. mad. larry, if ur right about whats brewing in the east, well that is shite, but at least we in the marxist-lennonist unpopular front have a good chance of surviving because we have always promoted natural food and shelter - cob cottages, polytunnells, etc. a civilisation of love. beir bua. check out cob cottages, they are awesome. and finally, as jim morrison sang - the future is uncertain and the end is always near.


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