The Four Amigos

  • Gerry Adams' uncertainty and discomfort when repeatedly pressed about Sinn Féin's plan to raise the marginal tax rate for those earning over €100,000, once again raises questions about Mr Adams's grasp of economics, budgetary matters and policy detail - Shane Coleman.  
If we were already of a mind to vote rather than ignore the lot of them, having watched the leaders' debate last night on RTE Prime Time, nothing came through that would cause a change of voting preference. Same old, same old from the leaders of four of society’s capital friendly parties. 
Apart from a great moment when Gerry Adams caught Taoiseach Enda Kenny like a rabbit in the headlights regarding the appointment of John McNulty to the board of the Irish Museum of Modern Art and a horrendous moment when Adams seemed utterly contemptuous of Senator Mairia Cahill, there was little else to make it memorable.   Only one of the four looks like Taoiseach material and it is not the current incumbent. 
Regardless of the formation of the next government, Micheal Martin has radically increased his chances of avoiding the unprecedented drop of becoming the only Fianna Fail leader never to make Taoiseach. If he resists the Gimore syndrome of office at all costs, opts to lead the opposition, even supporting a minority government on a case by case basis, the timing of the next election will be in his gift. He can strike at a moment of his choosing, when the electorate is ready to choose him as its Taoiseach. If he goes into government with Fine Gael as a junior partner and no revolving Taoiseach arrangement he is finished.  
Last night’s was the first leaders’ debate I had actually watched. I am relieved to know there will be no more. I frequently complain that the post man should simply dump all election leaflets in the green recycle bin at the front of the house where there is a reasonable guarantee that they will eventually be turned into something useful. The postie doing it would also save me the bother of having to strain my arthritic riddled back in bending down to pick them up en route to the bin anyway. Like religious tracts and pamphlets, political election leaflets receive only a perfunctory glance in case they might be something useful like pizza promotions. After that - destination green bin.  
The leaders debate is hard work for the viewer but there is not much hard labour involved in discerning the sagacity of Miriam Lord’s point that: 
In Adams’s case it’s more like “Why do Sinn Féin have to explain everything twice? Once for Gerry to say it and the second time for Pearse/Mary Lou to clarify. 

It is what makes it easy for Labour's Ged Nash to slag off Adams that he needs to take off his socks to count to twenty. While it will not require a professor of mathematics to work out that Gerry will have substantially more votes counted for him than Ged will accumulate, the Sinn Fein’s leader’s command of economics is no better than my own. Piss poor.  

Although this electoral outing has delivered nothing like the thrashing Adams sustained in 2007 at the hands of an inquisitorial Michael McDowell, the performances by the old caudillo have caused more than a few nervous flutters within his party.

Matt Carty, one of the party’s MEPs, sort of confirmed this in the studio discussion following the debate in which he said that the job of Adams was to provide a general vision and not a detailed account of policy. Plausible only up until the point where the public are expected to trust a leader who will be in endless hock to mandarins and bureaucrats because he lacks the knowledge of detail to challenge them. Visionaries are fine until asked to explain the vision. Well, it's more of this and that for him and her.

As the four Amigos rode off into the sunset Adams at least must take credit for having chosen the best steed - a horse called Shergar


  1. Hearing conflicting reports on the Shinners but some are saying they can expect as many as 25 seats? Going to read the article now from 'Buncrana Together' and have to confess I've enjoyed a lot of their stuff thus far on the site

  2. Read a few results of recent polls, I know, I know, nut it seems that Adams and his merry bunch are set to do very well....they could be the junior partners! Power is power and money is money...FG and FF will lie down with the devil if they thought they could secure both!

  3. Surely it is only a surprise Sinn Féin will do well if you ignore the opposition, many left indies have reverted back to sectism which has been decreed by their 'politbureau' as their fall back position, LP deserves a good pasting, FG and FF are part of the neoliberal crime family. Apart for a handful of solid indies, apart for Sinn Féin I cannot see any other viable candidates worth voting for.

  4. Good article. I have been finding it very difficult to listen to the debates generally. I find most stuff and those putting it out, cringeworthy. Poor campaign but one that seems orchestrated by the media.
    One thing that has generated a little interest in me, is my observation on Gerry Adams' dress sense. Most photographs,well sanitised ones anyway, depict him wearing the ubiquitous scarf. It's a bit like the Healey-Rae guys in Kerry and the caps. What is that all about I am sure there is some deep psychological meaning to it all?

  5. but why vote for one amigo and not four?

  6. Mick a chara, surely it's clear by now that the Shinners are likewise a part of the 'neoliberal crime family'. They fully endorse the Washington Consensus and are indeed implementing the neoliberal agenda where they are already 'in power'. Here, that is, in the Occupied Six Counties, which they administer for their colonial overlord and paymaster. The notion that Sinn Fein are a party of the left, or in any way anti-imperialist, has been exposed yet again with that party's support for the Dalradian mining company here in Tyrone (despite recent manoevres to draw back from that support due to an emerging public backlash at plans to use cyanide). In short, they are populists with no real principles and will gladly jump into bed with the establishment to further their own end. These people are not worth voting for as suggested

  7. Agree 100% with Sean Bres....nothing else to add.

  8. Sean, but why does anyone find this surprising, the Provisional republican movement is a child of the national liberation movements which came to prominence after WW2. Politically they were broad coalitions of the best elements of the bourgeoisies and the working classes. They naturally reflected the politics of the classes which made them up. When the USSR existed for all its shortcomings it anchored them on the left. When it imploded the West' led by the US enticed them into their orbit with goodies, ego massaging and threats of oblivion.

    They were especially prominent in Africa, from Algeria to South Africa, with the old French and Portuguese imperialist colonies in between, almost, if not all of the liberation movement fell into this category.

    Should the left have supported them, yes we were correct in doing so, not only was it necessary it was in my view a matter of honour. For despite all their shortcomings they were a progressive turn of the wheel of history.

    The only difference between the Provos and the ANC is the former never had a strong communist faction within its leadership. It leaders after the split in 1969 were either bourgeois revolutionaries or northern workers who wished to hit back at their oppressors. if ever there was a movement which grew out of spontaneous outburst of working class anger it was the PRM, but it remained ideologically bourgeois to the core.

    As Lenin said the only choice is – either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology) true no matter what Clinton and Blair once claimed.

    Come Elections.
    But if there is not what I would regard as a solid socialist or in your case a Republican socialist alternative, should we abstain. Or should we consider the field and vote for the party or individual which will do the least damage to the working classes. A wise old trade unionist who represented the baggage handlers at Minneapolis airport once told me. "I judge the success of a presidency on whether they leave office with the country in worse shape than when they came in.

    At the time I thought this was defeatist but in truth I am not as dogmatic as I was when younger, With Corbyn in charge of the British LP I will be voting for it if there is not a viable socialist candidate standing in my area or some wretched blairite.

    We have to work with the world as it is not as we would wish it to be, I suppose my real question was if not Sinn Féin, then whom?

    Comradely regards

    Having said this we are living in interesting times politically

  9. Mick,

    where that ultimately takes you is that you support the least worse - the party that will introduce not as much draconian measures as the next party, will build fewer torture chambers, will implement less austerity.

    While I acknowledge there is a certain logic to it and it has its own reformist appeal, it merely conditions society into lowering its expectations. Why not just point out in advance what SF will do in government? Just as Syriza did.

  10. 'Should the left have supported them, yes we were correct in doing so, not only was it necessary it was in my view a matter of honour. For despite all their shortcomings they were a progressive turn of the wheel of history.'

    Absolutely Mick but New Sinn Fein are not the Provos.

    'With Corbyn in charge of the British LP I will be voting for it if there is not a viable socialist candidate standing in my area or some wretched blairite.'

    I've no problem with that Mick, it's most certainly your right, but when all's said and done when we look at where New Sinn Fein are on the political spectrum then surely we can see they are an echo of the 'wretched Blairites'. As limited as Corbyn's socialist policy may be the Shinners are nowhere near it.

    When all's said and done it'll be interesting to see how the results turn out. There are good people in Sinn Fein, such as Aengus O'Snoidaigh and Peadar Toibin, but unfortunately there are also the wretched likes of Adams and McGuinness.

    Hope you are well and I promise I'll get those magazines posted this week! (Says you I'll believe it when I see it!)

  11. Why not just point out in advance what SF will do in government? Just as Syriza did.


    And then what?

    Politics is about much more than elections, as important as they are. if this was not so the city of London would not control the Tory party, the LibDems and a sizable number of LP MP's. Sinn Féin is not immune from extra parliamentary political pressure. What their electorate wants and thinks especially in the south will become an important factor in how the politics develop

    I noted RTE reported today they are now the southern party with the most working class support, this alone will drag the party leftwards, as too will the election of People Before Profit/etc TDs who will biting at the heals of SF if they support more austerity, which is on the cards if a FG/FF coalition comes to power..

    By the way I don't know many people who saw the Syriza retreat coming, section of the Greek CP perhaps. Whether Syriza had enough in their armoury to take the EU Troika on I don't know, true it would have been nice to find out, but if they didn't some might say better to retreat and fight another day.

    Would a Sinn Féin government disappoint, of course, left or right, as far as people like us are concerned it's what politicians do.
    but would a good election for Sinn Féin help to re-shuffle the pack, yes, and I feel that would be a good thing.

  12. Mick,

    what then? Don't go into government just to break your promises solely to get your jaxy on a seat.

    Many people saw the Syriza retreat coming. It was always on the cards that they were going to do nothing else but shaft the poor and implement austerity. They knew they would not stand up to the Troika but lied that they would just to get elected. How often has this happened? What we had was elements on the Left talking crap about the need not to run Syriza down rather than stating outright that the truth about Syriza should be told. Syriza did not retreat to fight another day but implemented austerity on behalf of European capital.

    Why would SF be dragged leftwards? They have consistently moved to the right throughout their political trajectory. The working class can swing right as easily as it can swing left.

    Reshuffle the pack? Like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?