Put her in to get her out
If Marian Price or a surrogate nominee were to stand on her behalf for the soon to be vacated Mid-Ulster seat, it would present Sinn Fein with opportunities that should not be hastily disregarded.
Again last Friday, Martin McGuinness told the IRISH NEWS that the British were under no illusions about Sinn Fein’s commitment to see Marian free. Yet Marian, like Martin Corey, remains in prison. Apparently Sinn Fein appeals against Internment by License, even those personally conveyed by Martin McGuinness, mean as little to Theresa Villiers as they did to Owen Paterson.
If Sinn Fein held real political sway with the British, and wants, indeed demands, an immediate halt to Internment by License, how can the British simply carry on regardless and ignore them?
The British obviously believe they have tethered Sinn Fein to posts in Stormont and on constabulary boards so tightly, that the party can no longer break ranks with the crown and walk out, even at the price of sitting still for Internment.
Unionists are so emboldened that Peter Robinson thinks himself worthy to lecture Republicans on the names we may or may not use for the British ruled portion of Ireland, while Mike Nesbitt misinterprets the “sorry initiative” apologies for specific IRA operations as a sorry admission that the entire struggle was criminal and illegitimate.
Sinn Fein‘s own roots in using British elections to campaign for Republican prisoners, go back long before Bobby Sands MP, and the slogan “put him in to get him out” was used to fight for the freedom of Republicans interned after the 1916 Rising.
Today the party seems reluctant to break ranks and challenge the British by a walk-out from Stormont or constabulary boards. Standing aside for a Republican prisoners’ representative in Mid-Ulster would provide a middle ground requiring no walk-out from any seats and merely substitute one abstentionist candidate for its own.
Backing this type of bold initiative and showing the political leadership necessary to “bring them home” and end Internment would show the British, Unionists, and all shades of Republicans that Sinn Fein will not sit still for Internment. It could mean freedom for Marian and Martin and for other Republicans who will be next on Britain’s list if we do not end Internment by License now!