It seems that we cannot go beyond a week in NI without a senior political influence making a comment that is simply inconceivable.
Rivalling the cultural contempt expressed by Gregory Campbell, Gerry Adams quite casually stated during an event in Fermanagh that Sinn Féin’s emphasis on equality is nothing more than a smokescreen for advancing the aims of republicanism:
“That’s what we need to keep the focus on – that’s the Trojan horse of the entire republican strategy – is to reach out to people on the basis of equality.”
As much as Gerry Adams is now trying to insist otherwise (he claimed since the event that it was merely a “gaffe” on his part), the above comment has put the northern strategy of SF in plain light.
By his own admission, equality is not something that SF have truly evolved towards, it’s just a way of lulling the northern electorate into believing that Irish unity is not the be all and end all of SF policy.
As their increasing north/south mandate illustrates, this strategy has been effective. SF rhetoric about emotive issues such as equality has affected the tendency of moral-based nationalists to vote for the SDLP, and likewise, it has eroded reservations that southern voters have about the party.
It is important therefore that Gerry Adams’ “gaffe” in Fermanagh be highly publicized.
If we consider the concept of the Greek Trojan horse, we see a grand act of deception. The Greeks deceived the city of Troy into believing that they posed no threat, and once that deception had been executed (i.e. Troy granted entry to the the seemingly empty wooden horse that was sitting outside their city), the Greeks inhabiting the giant horse proceeded to destroy Troy in brutal fashion.
Adam’s use of this disturbing analogy is a mark of the sheer arrogance which the SF leader has been allowed to act with. SF have successfully developed an image of progressivism, yet, as Adams explicitly indicated, it is exactly the sort of grand deception masterminded by the Greek intruders.
While senior SF members will try to distort the meaning of their leader’s comment, there is only one way to perceive what he said. The exterior of the Trojan horse suggests evolved SF policy, but as soon as it becomes clear that NI trusts that exterior, SF will strike towards its true ideal of Irish unity.
It’s appalling that SF are disingenuously selling equality to advance Irish unity, but candidly expressing that strategy is a mark of the lack of accountability they are subject to. There is no red tape for SF because if the forces of democracy (i.e. the media, the people and the establishment) aggressively pursued them, the party would quickly get rid of its other Trojan horse – the notion that it is a democratic party.
Adams’ comments during his appearance in Fermanagh appear to indicate that he would take great satisfaction in deceiving a significant section of NI society. Voters north and south of Ireland therefore need to seriously ask themselves if a party that will present an illusion of increased equality is a party that they should want to empower. Contrary to the inevitable Adams’ revisionism, calculated deception is precisely what any objective analyst would deduct from Adams’ outlining of the SF strategy. As far as qualities in a possible leader go, I imagine that calculated deception isn’t particularly high up on the list of desirable traits.
In terms of the SF’s leader that his comments were a spontaneous gaffe; it just doesn’t wash. The analogy of a republican Trojan horse clearly isn’t something which just slips off the tongue during a scheduled speech. It is quite obviously an image that Adams has been harbouring in his mind – long before any speech in Fermanagh.
As Adams himself said, it is precisely the Trojan horse analogy which underlies the SF manifesto. While more youthful members of SF may genuinely subscribe to the exterior rhetoric of equality, reconciliation… and all of the other buzz words – the deliverance of the romantic united Ireland is what Adams’ philosophy revolves around.
Adams’ revelation is especially important because unlike more autonomous political parties – where certain dubious views of the party leader do not automatically become party position – everything he says is treated by the SF faithful as a visionary insight. When Adams makes a comment like the one he offered in Fermanagh, it isn’t just the musings of a dithering political leader, it’s a clear glimpse into the SF psyche.
If they didn’t already, the unionist population of the north will now see through SF’s hand of friendship. Exactly like Peter Robinson outlining a regard for Catholic voters in 2012, Adams has exposed SF’s seemingly progressivist attitudes towards unionism as a political strategy. An uneasy fact for the people of NI is that unlike Scotland – who during their recent referendum emphasized that regardless of outcome, they were ultimately one people – neither of the major constitutional positions have a genuine respect for one and other. Any sense of progressivism that radiates between the two positions is purely based on the need for both nationalism and unionism to works its way into one and other’s support.
As long as the voices of nationalism and unionism are being shaped by figures that privately harbour a great deal of animosity, the fairy-tale of social reconciliation is doomed to be exposed as yet another play by the national strategists running NI politics.
Darren Litter | Pic Credit: