Because I’m now starting work every night from 6 p.m. I’ve been trying to catch up on a mountainous backlog of decorating during the daytime, a task not helped by my spectacular failings as a handyman. Suffice to say I’m less a Do-It-Yourselfer, more a Fuck-It-Upper. Which brings me to Sinn Fein; everything these days seems to bring me back to the Shinners, since I have a morbid interest in them akin to a schoolboy fascination with the sort of creepy-crawlies found under rocks, bins and discarded old matresses. So, as I carried the laptop round the house with my tin-and-brush I noticed this interview on the Morning Ireland site (Wednesday Nov. 5th), and couldn’t resist having a peek, or should I should say a listen. And immediately thought, that’s a sloppy bit of whitewashing, Adams! So the bauld Gerry, Mary Lou and all are suddenly refusing to pay the water charges themselves out of ‘solidarity with those who can’t pay’? Pull the other one! This is a cynical, and rather desperate reaction to the unexpected success of the protests on Saturday, as is clear from the way this Teflon Don talks about how “everybody was surprised” by the numbers on the streets. Yes, everybody, including the clever boys and girls in SF HQ, who thought they had this whole water thing sussed! This is what I think of the Shinners’ actual stance on the matter, obvious from their explicit statements and implicit behaviour.
Sinn Fein did of course help to organise the protests, as part of the broader campaign, but they have deliberately taken a backseat to ourselves in the AAA on the actual marches. For instance, I couldn’t help but notice how, in Tallaght, Sean Crowe and his cronies kept a tight formation some way behind our lot, and throughout, they’ve been distancing themselves from our “jumping up and down” demands for a boycott. Adams repeatedly maintains that distance in this interview; he has, suddenly he claims, been moved to a new position by a meeting in Louth, where people in distress, not those feeling outrage on point of principle, affected him. He, on behalf of his party, is now expressing “solidarity with THOSE people,” the can’t pays, not the won’t pays. The best he can say for us in the latter camp, and he sounds as if he does it through gritted teeth, is that Sinn Fein “supports” those who make that “personal decision, fair play,” while spending the bulk of his time actively undermining us, “the poor punters,” who will end up like “my mother” who was left with “decades of surcharges” after a failed SDLP rents/rates boycott up north. It’s a deliberate strategy of raising spectres in the hope that ‘punters’ (a word saying much about how we’re actually viewed by Adams and his cabal) will be scared off the boycott, and it’s a strategy Padraig MacLochlainn tried on Morning Ireland again just yesterday, pointedly reviving notions of Revenue chasing water bills (“they may well do it …”), which the government itself has put to bed! All of which indicates that, irony of ironies, Sinn Fein down here are becoming a latter day version of the SDLP during the troubles, losing ground to an insurgent force on their left, and hoping, secretly, that the establishment can defeat that insurgency before it completely displaces their ‘thoughtful’ and ‘respectable’ brand of moral (ha!) suasion. For what else does ‘calling on the government to scrap Irish Water’ amount to, though the Shinner version of moral suasion has a typically cynical purpose.
More than any other group Sinn Fein understand political weapons and their likely effects, so these ‘calls’ are precisely-calibrated to fail; it’s a deliberate selection of a peashooter so that the thick-skinned coalition will carry on its callous way. Deep down, in places they don’t talk about on marches or Morning Ireland Sinn Fein want the water meters, they need the water meters, because if those meters aren’t in place then they’ll get no leverage from election promises to ‘abolish them within the terms’ of any new coalition they join. And if that means the ‘punters’ are left paying the big bills for five, six years or more, as they surely will be if Sinn Fein’s user-friendly condition is laid down when the next coalition takes office, well, that can be filed under ‘collatoral damage.’
Seems an over-cynical depiction of Adams and co.? Then I’ll make this further point. It’s the boycott, the loud and clear declaration that people WON’T pay, which alone has thrown the government into disarray; so why don’t Sinn Fein instruct all their own party members to join that heave? I mean, Adams clearly implies that it’s only concern for people being left in dire financial circumstances which stops him calling for the population in general to refuse payment. But that’s no problem where his own membership is concerned, is it? For like all Sinn Fein public representatives Gerry Adams has followed the Joe Higgins template of living on the average industrial wage while depositing the rest of the salary in his party’s account. Well, that must amount to a tidy sum by now, given SF numbers in the Oireachtas, surely enough to cover the expenses of grassroots members as and when they face any fines? So why haven’t all the cumann footsoldiers nationwide been told to add their critical mass to the one-and-only tool that can finish Irish Water once and for all? Because, with a level of cynicism that would make a Haughey blush, the clever boys and girls, Adams and Mary Lou included, have decided they’d rather keep it in place until the election; you can’t have leverage without something to press against! Though of course I may be underestimating Adams and his hypocrisy. After all he did tell the nation in this interview, perhaps carelessly, that “I can afford to pay this, of course, I’m on a decent wage.” So not the average industrial one, you lying, hypocritical worm! Take it from another incompetent white-washer, you missed a bit Gerry!