jump to navigation

The McGuinness candidacy… all good for Sinn Féin…even if they lose… September 16, 2011

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
trackback

…which by my reckoning they’re quite likely to do. First up let’s accept that this is a bit of a coup. General thinking was that McGuinness wouldn’t run for fear of destabilising the Executive and Assembly. General thinking was wrong.

IELB has an excellent post here which pointed to some aspects of the contest for SF and he predicted that McGuinness would be the candidate. I won’t add much more and I’m echoing a fair bit of what he wrote.

Some consider that this is going to bring front and centre asepcts of the past which SF might be happier left back and to one side. I’m not sure. Given that McGuinness is in government with the DUP one suspects that for the bourgeois sensibilities of this state may be an easier challenge. Maybe not, admittedly, but…

… the man has a modicum of personal charm and in a field notably lacking in charisma, bar perhaps David Norris (and talking to one close enough to his campaign today there was a real sense that he may not make the numbers to become a candidate), that may count for a lot. I mean let’s put it this way, Gay Mitchell as a Chuckle Brother? It does not compute.

Which doesn’t mean he’ll win. An SF first preference vote of 9 per cent isn’t enough by a long shot. And even if we thrown in disenchanted Fianna Fáil voters and various others drawn from all corners of the state he’ll do well to get up into the high teens. But… on the other hand this is a volatile electorate as proven by the General election and this is a contest crying out for some serious political wattage.

And for SF this is proof of two things. Firstly they’re big enough to contest ahead of Fianna Fáil. There’ll be a lot of people watching this and drawing necessary lessons. Secondly that they’re willing to pull out all the stops to emphasise that fact. And a good Presidential campaign for McGuinness even if he loses is going to be a good election campaign for Sinn Féin.

It really is just beginning to get interesting.

ADDENDUM… one more thought. They really do have an enormous advantage being able to push their capable people around the island like this. As evidenced by Gerry Adams arriving in the Dáil it reaps dividends for them.

Comments»

1. Mark P - September 16, 2011

What a choice this election gives us. The likely candidates consist of some business type independents, two candidates of parties administering vicious austerity in the South and one candidate who was actually jointly in charge of administering vicious austerity in the North.

I’m slightly worried that there won’t be enough room on the ballot paper for me to express my contempt for all of them.

Like

2. Niall - September 16, 2011

Any presidential race will have a life of its own so I know that there is a chance that McGuinness could win, I just can’t see it happening. Still, anything that helps push FF closer to extinction is good in my book.

Looking forward to this Sunday’s “Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week”.

Like

Garibaldy - September 16, 2011

Feel free to take it on yourself this week Niall – there’s liable to be a deluge, particularly from Harris and his glove puppets.

Like

shea - September 17, 2011

harris was on marrian finnuicane this morning. sort of disapointed he wasn’t spitting bricks. his line seems to be ‘brutas was an honorable man…..’

Like

3. barrygruff - September 16, 2011

It will be interesting to see how it goes. They certainly have plenty of cash to run the campaign, which is a huge advantage.

Like

Mark P - September 16, 2011

We were being told during the Lisbon 2 campaign, when with the exception of McDonald they were nearly invisible, that they were broke,

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

That’s true, but that’s also the difference 17 members of the oireachtas as against 5 makes.

Like

Ramzi Nohra - September 17, 2011

Money versus incredibly hostile media. Not sure they’re particularly advantaged, even if they are in strong financial health.

Like

4. Mark P - September 16, 2011

I quite agree that SF are likely to benefit from this election, if only because they are in it and neither Fianna Fail nor the left are.

However, I think you are pushing it a bit when you describe McGuinness running as a “coup”! McGuinness is part of the SF leadership, of course he’ll do whatever that leadership decides.

As for them having the “advantage” of pushing their “capable people” around the island, again yes, but the other way of looking at it is that it just underlines once again what a lack of capable people they have in the South. They brought down someone to run the Dail operation and now they show that they don’t have anyone they consider to be a viable Presidential candidate. The only Southern figure they have who shows any sign of having much substance is O’Broin and on evidence to date he couldn’t get elected to run his local chess club.

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

Two thoughts, it’s a coup in the sense McGuinness has national name recognition, as against Davis who? Or the other independent guy whose name quite genuinely has escaped me and I suspect he’s better known than Mitchell, so even on that level it works better than pushing COC or MLM into the contest for them.

Secondly, you may be right re the disparity in available talent but remember the development of SF north and south in the past thirty five years. No disrespect to any comrades in SF but in the early 80s when I was first active in WP there wasn’t much politics coming from SF in the south and that took time to develop, whereas already by the early 70s there was a generation of somewhat politicised people like Adams up and coming in the north and ready to take over from the old guard. That cleavage is as much generational itself now, consider how they actually do have able people in the south but few of an age or profile to go for the Presidency. People like Ferris or Ellis are capable whatever ones view of their politics, and I tend to think Ellis is leftist, but without national reach. It would be absurd of them to run OBroin whatever his qualities. He has no national profile. You may not like Pearse Doherty but he too is capabl but way too young. MLM likewise.

Like

Mark P - September 16, 2011

The term “a coup” tends to imply that they have pulled something difficult off. Getting one of their central leaders to do what their leadership decided is not a coup. It’s probably a shrewd move, but that’s a slightly different issue.

Doherty was correctly included by a prominent former colleague in a category of young SF figure “more suited to selling insurance than to radical politics”. McDonald has got slicker in front of the cameras, but is still devoid of substance. Ferris and Ellis have a record of being capable at something, but it’s not the sort of thing SF like to be reminded of these days. And I wasn’t suggesting that they run O’Broin, merely pointing out that thus far he has proven unelectable in a whole range of Southern elections despite being one of the few Southern SF leaders who gives the impression that he can tie his own shoelaces without first receiving detailed instructions from the Northern leadership.

As usual, you are too nice. “No disrespect intentended”? I intend every disrespect.

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

“Publicity coup”… that’s the sense I mean… I obviously didn’t make it clear enough… hence my point about how well known he is, etc.

Re Doherty, whatever your views on his politics I’d figure his byelection win and demeanour during and after it added a couple of points to the SF vote at the subsequent election. Look at the graph of support for SF at the end of last year, it went up to 15 per cent. Now it shed a lot of that, but it remained higher at the election than it had for much of the previous year.

Like

que - September 17, 2011

sheesh MarkP, thats a self-Righteousness post.

It reads more like sour grapes that SF have a candidate and the SP is incapable of getting close to even being that central to political life in the state.

Like

ejh - September 16, 2011

on evidence to date he couldn’t get elected to run his local chess club.

Your point being?

Like

sonofstan - September 16, 2011

And anyway, he was elected to Belfast City Council in 2001

Like

5. Jolly Red Giant - September 16, 2011

There is actually a danger that this could backfire on McGuinness if he starts to attack austerity in th South. I don’t think he will – I think the SF campaign will be as bland as the rest of them and I think that SF will play the nationalist card which I don’t think will motivate anyone. So nothing to get excited about in my opinon.

Of course there is always a chace we could see the re-emergence of the Chuckle-Brothers during the campaign – now that would be interesting.

Like

LeftAtTheCross - September 16, 2011

“SF will play the nationalist card which I don’t think will motivate anyone”

I don’t know, I’d expect there might be quite a nationalist vote for him in the absense of an FF candidate, especially amongst older FFers who might not feel inclined to vote for the independent-FF candidate Gallagher. I expect we’ll hear plenty of All Ireland green flag waving sh*te over the next few weeks anyhow.

Like

Jolly Red Giant - September 16, 2011

Votes yes – motivation, I doubt. It will be a boring, bland campaign with little of consequence and the ballot paper would be more useful in the toilet than the ballot box (metaphorically speaking).

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

I think you raise an excellent point JRG, re the problematic aspects of austerity in the north as against austerity down here. Whatever one thinks about that as well it’s a framing issue that will be enormously tricky to pull off and yes, that may well lead to a very bland campaign indeed.

Like

irishelectionliterature - September 16, 2011

“..re the problematic aspects of austerity in the north as against austerity down here. …”
Didn’t exactly damage them in the General Election did it?
I remember trying to explain the contradiction of their policy in the North with their policies down South and you may as well have been talking to the wall.
What they will push is that McGuinness is a Statesman, also one known throughout the world, especially in America.
He also appears to have a very agreeable personality.

There’s a long way to go yet ….but I reckon he’ll poll very very well winning at least 20% of the vote.

Like

Jim Monaghan - September 19, 2011

As was recently point out by the German ECB (I think) rep. who resigned. We no longer have autonomy. So McG. having experience running a glorified County Coubncil could give advice on this basis.The tying of wages to the average industrial wage is a brilliant thing. Why not a max of say 3/4 times the average wage.

Like

6. shea - September 16, 2011

they could argue in the north there trying to get fiscal power in the south there giving it away.

Like

7. sonofstan - September 16, 2011

Very interesting. I’ve been at work and away from any media all day, so coming to this fresh, but my first impression is that if I were in the Mickey D camp I’d be halfway between pleased and anxious: pleased because McGuinness will bring out voters who wouldn’t otherwise vote, and those who bother with a second pref will go in some numbers towards Michael. Anxious. because if the McG campaign takes off, he could stay ahead of MD in the count…

As JRG says tho’, because its who it is, SF won’t be able to run an anti-consensus campaign: it’ll be all about the peace making statesman etc.

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

Mind you he’s the guy to put forward if that’s the line.

I think Niall’s got a great point. The Sunday Independent this Sunday… it’s going to be quite a read.

Like

sonofstan - September 16, 2011

A further thought, following on from Niall’s remark: this may galvanise the Mitchell campaign as the candidate to stop the Provo, and unite the FG vote behind him

Like

8. shea - September 16, 2011

if SF try to win it it will be about the stateman etc and if they win it he’s out for seven years. not much use for them. raise there vote share and make a platform are the goals iam guessing. Its cynical but they can go after cuts. there already pushing that he’ll take the average industrial wage so guessing it will be a part of the campaign others could take advatge of it against sf and thats part of the game so what. people on the left could use it to re inforce there arguments if he’s singing of the same or sililar hymm sheet as them. all this is a platform.

Like

shea - September 16, 2011

what comes after the election is the budget dohertey ad adams was raiseing a flag during the week that there budget submission was going to be different from the other parties. At a guess there going to use this campaign to lead in to that one.

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 16, 2011

That sound interesting Shea, I wonder different how?

Like

que - September 17, 2011

different i assume in that it will not be an austerity works submission.

Like

9. roasted snow - September 16, 2011

McGuinness will also allow the Shinners to make much of the disenfranchised northerner argument. Im a northerner and an emigrant, I’d love to vote for the president of Ireland. SF will probably be the only party pushing this point. Its a valid one and if we could vote then SF would stand a good chance.

Like

Mark P - September 17, 2011

You’d love to vote for one of this shower of bastards?

Like

Roasted Snow - September 17, 2011

Yes, I know what you mean.

But you see to someone like me and those who would consider themselves Nationalists / Republicans in the north it would be such a novelty to even spoil your vote. You lucky things. Being denied Irish citizen rights for generations now, what a treat it would be for us to participate in the presidential election. It’ll never happen of course. We’ll always be the Nordys who from time to time annoy by defeating a southern team in some GAA thing. And the president will always be the president of 26 county Ireland.

I’d love to see a candidate that could articulate the needs of the Labour movement across the country and for workers north and south to be able to vote for them. But that’s not going to happen either.

Like

10. Joe - September 16, 2011

I think he’ll do quite well. However I remember Claudy and the rest so I won’t be voting for him. In saying that his and his party’s trajectory over the last 20 years is to be applauded.
Has to be a good move by SF in terms of replacing FF in the south. FF opt out and SF put forward a very credible candidate. FF seem to be suffering from post-traumatic stress after the general election. Death throes. They might die roaring!

Like

PoisonQuill - September 16, 2011

And yet, Joe, – WHO really owns the Banks here? Is the entire nation in NO DOUBT whatsoever, NOW, as to the ownership of debt. Quite different to 17 years ago.

Like

11. McHale's Irish American Bar - September 16, 2011

Sinn Fein’s northern policies won’t matter a damn- even southern SinnFein voters are partitionist. Anthony McIntyre cast his eye on the Ard Fheis…

http://thepensivequill.am/2011/09/style-sans-substance.html

Like

12. McHale's Irish American Bar - September 16, 2011
13. irishelectionliterature - September 17, 2011

Slightly off topic…. Norris got some grilling there from Tubridy. To me anyhow he didn’t come across that well.
Cant see that he would have persuaded any more TDs or Senators to back him .

Like

Mark P - September 17, 2011

Tubridy’s background is Fianna Fail. It’s interesting that he was so hostile to Norris.

Like

14. Crocodile - September 17, 2011

Just what we needed.
A choice between someone who made some comments years ago, that were interpreted as condoning paedophilia, but which he’d now like us to accept do not represent his mature views on the subject..
and…
someone who made some comments years ago, that were interpreted as condoning bombing and kneecapping, but which he’d now like us to accept do not represent his mature views on the subject..

Like

15. make do or mend - September 17, 2011

My main concern with SF throughout is that it seems they didn’t have any notion of negotiating on an economic level during the peace process. This was a huge failing and indicative of their general lack of a baseline economic policy direction. The received wisdom is that they were niave on economic matters.

Or, do they mostly accept the status quo on economic matters?

The impression forming for me personally is that SF more or less accepts the capitalist formation of government. Capitalism just needs reforming. This isn’t good enough from where I sit. Far, far from it.

I can accept the argument that their hands are largely tied on economic matters in the North. They are given a budget and merely shift funds between departments. Fair enough.

But, and this a big but to my mind, SF are actively pursuing a policy of multinational tax fraud by trying to reduce corporate (wealth) tax in the North. Obviously they’ve bought into the big lie of making the rich wealthier concept which, in turn, is somehow supposed to help working people. They own this policy, and it reflects a basic economic conceptulisation of how the political economy should operate.

Given the paucity of options in my locality, I’ve voted SF just in order to stick a big middle finger up at the establishment in Ireland and the various formations of the bourgoise extant. Plus, I always vote.

I had already rejected identity sexual politics in the form of Norris. So, I will reject identity nationalist politics for the same reason. Given we where we are politically, socially and economically, Liberalist approaches become cul de sacs – disbursing energy while achieving no baseline change.

I’ll be watching this circus from the sidelines.

Obviously the ULA, such as it is, can’t field a candidate. This leaves me with no alternative but to spoil a vote. I’d certainly spoil the vote as a protest if other likeminded people across the state did likewise. A signficant vote spoilage (5 – 7%?) would begin to send the right signals among ourselves. (I’ll probably spoil the vote anyway.)

I’ve always deemed such manouvres as childish in the past. But I’m at a state now where there is simply no alternatives, or my only alternative is to become politically neutered. This only aides the capitalists.

Like

shea - September 17, 2011

on opinion polls is it something like 30% are going for non of the above. Dustin getting the highest vote in tallaght or something like that in the mary robinson election is probably the most noticeable vote spoilage campaign here, did it achive anything more than a chuckle though. not so sure it works myself. political parties factor it in to there camaigns instead of trying to win that vote dismiss it as part of the equation. but then could argue they dismiss the people who vote for them once they get in as well so dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t.

Like

que - September 17, 2011

“Obviously the ULA, such as it is, can’t field a candidate”

But thats not good enough is it. Mainly because the ULA will likely never be able to field a candidate in any presidential election.

What party can then meqningfully offer you and many who feel like you a way of giving real voice to that spoilef vote.

Gap in the market

Like

16. CL - September 17, 2011

Gerry Adams was full of it last night announcing the McGuinness candidacy. Martin will represent not just Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, ‘across this island’ but also the disenfranchised diaspora in Australia, U.S. etc. And he also embodies the indomitable spirit of the Irishry who have come through 800 years of oppression and colonialism, blah blah blah.
A few years ago there was some consternation when it was revealed that just 50% of working-age males in Harlem had jobs. Ireland is now moving towards this disastrous figure. The symbolism of the presidency and the campaign for it deflects energy and attention from the failures of the capitalist Irish state. Symbolism and bs are crowding out real political engagement with the harsh material reality.
But unlike the other candidates McGuinness does have some real qualifications and experience to be the chief of the defense forces of the Republic of Ireland.

Like

shea - September 17, 2011

politicians have seconds and best minutes in frount of a camara. summaries short slogans etc are the best your going it get in that situation. if there smart they use there seconds as a hook to attract people then offering greater content. don’t think the problem with mondern politics is the soundbites, think its the lack of content when you go looking.

Like

CMK - September 17, 2011

[i]But unlike the other candidates McGuinness does have some real qualifications and experience to be the chief of the defense forces of the Republic of Ireland.[i]

Scope for lots of fun with this one. President McGuinness as chief mourner at a funeral for a veteran of 1970s/80s Garda Special Branch or G2? How will the officer corps react to having Martin as the head of the defence forces? I expect a tidal wave of leaks about McGuiness to ‘security correspondents’ between now and October 27 on a scale that will drawf the Donal De Roiste affair.

Like

17. Shay Brennan - September 17, 2011

Honestly, if you think Norris has skeletons in his closet…there’s a shed-load of stuff from McGuinness, and some of it’s even on Youtube, why the IRA is right to kill informers etc…I’m looking forward to the footage of the Peter Taylor interview where he’s walking around the Bogside with McG talking about ‘GHQ’ and justifying bombing the shite out of Derry city centre.

Like

que - September 17, 2011

Hoe much mileage in that? McG in IRA is hardly new.

When will that card finally not be a winning trick. Adams seemed to roll passed it despite the usual garbage so maybe McG will do the same and poll reasonable

Like

18. irishelectionliterature - September 17, 2011

McGuinness has got the 20 needed for the nomination.
Two South Kerry TDs Micheal Healy Rae and Tom Fleming and Ming Flanagan agreed to sign his nomination papers

Like

19. Jolly Red Giant - September 17, 2011

The Chuckle Brother nominated by King of the Gombeens

Like

Mark P - September 17, 2011

Which of the three are you anointing king?

Like

que - September 17, 2011

Mick wallace also nominated I believe

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 17, 2011

That I would imagine is that for Norris… No? Fleming and JHR are irrelevant but Norris would presumably have thought Wallace was on any potential list and Ming too. I guess he could do it if all the rest of the indos both Dail and Seanad went with him but…. Very tough.

Like

que - September 18, 2011

you are right.

Like

20. Martin McGuinness – Uachtarán na hÉireann? « An Sionnach Fionn - September 17, 2011

[…] is clear that this is a win-win situation for Sinn Féin. Even if they don’t succeed it getting Martin McGuinness elected to the […]

Like

21. CAMPAGNA PRESIDENZIALE 2011. GERRY ADAMS PRESENTA IL CANDIDATO DELLO SINN FEIN | The Five Demands - September 17, 2011

[…] The McGuinness candidacy… all good for Sinn Féin…even if they lose… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com) […]

Like

22. Shay Brennan - September 17, 2011

‘Hoe much mileage in that? McG in IRA is hardly new.’

Yes, it’s hardly news. But….firstly there’s the matter of his being interviewed/described widely as O/C of Derry from 1971 onwards but his testimony to the Saville Tribunal that he was in fact second in command and that he left the IRA after Bloody Sunday (hence the joke that he was the only Derry man to leave the ‘Ra AFTER Bloody Sunday). Why would the Brits fly the second in command to London? Secondly his various statements (all on TV) about elections not being important as only the cutting edge of the armed struggle would free Ireland, why informers have to be shot, why the war would go on until the Brits left etc…well, they haven’t left and that calls the war, and his leadership of it, into question. Thirdly even a lot of republicans find the Patsy Gillespie business hard to stomach, especially as contacts with the Brits were already underway.
I say this as someone who hopes McGuinness gives Michael D. a good scare but if it’s justified to investigate Norris’s indiscretions, and it is, then it’s only fair to examine Martin’s past.
(SF will pull out a fair few voters who wouldn’t have bothered otherwise, and they will take some younger votes from Labour and older ones from FF- I reckon your looking at 20%+ easy.)

Like

vostoklake - September 17, 2011

I suppose I’m confused by the extent to which this isn’t already all common knowledge. I don’t know what you think the securocrats might have on MMcG which isn’t already out there and having been done to death ad nauseam in the Sindo etc.

Like

23. que - September 18, 2011

Every single bit of its known and I think has been rehashed so many times that its lost affect.

When the Sindo crew, and foolishly Gay Mitchell, start bashing McGuinness it will look bad because even if voters might not be in the Republican corner they may still respect the leadership shown by Martin.

Look at then an attempt was made to bring down Martin Ferris before the election. That bit of political dirty tricks only helped him because people know his past, and while they may not all have supported him they in the main supported his actions in the process.

A dirty tricks campaign on McGuinness may simply turn this into referndum on the role of McG in the north and if it becomes that then the only person with international standing in the race will come off better than the rest.

Like

Quiver - September 18, 2011

See: Richard J.Mulcahy (1886-1971).

I.R.A. Chief of Staff 1919 – 1922
(and pro Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921).

“77 Anti-treaty prisoners were executed
by the Provisional Government”.

Leader of Fine Gael : 1944 – 1948

Like

24. TheCommons - September 18, 2011

This campaign may turn into a party political quest for affirmation. Given that the Labour Party are about to instruct us on the virtues of penury, probably via their ‘pensioned-up-to-their-ears’ slappers in FAS and HSE; it may be dubious that M.Higgins will poll well.

The ‘second dip’ financially, now being upon us, does not augur well for F.G.

An odd aspect of Sinn Fein seems to be that they seem naive, in the politics down here.
That said, they do seem to be centrist? And that may attract some votes?

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2011

Yep, I think there are significant dangers ahead for both the LP and FG is the second dip gains a purchase on the minds of the electorate.

Like

25. Blissett - September 18, 2011

Whatever about the whole ‘implementing cuts in north’ stuff, which is an argument for another day, I dont see how anyone thinks that the bulk of the anti establishment isnt going to end up with McGuinness. He will do very well, and the response in working class areas will be something to behold. Very much looking forward to it.

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2011

Very interesting point Blissett. The distribution of his vote is going to be very telling. I hope in a good way 🙂

Like

Tomboktu - September 18, 2011

‘distribution’?

As in, “who his transfers go to when he is eliminated”. Or did you mean “source”? 😉

Like

WorldbyStorm - September 18, 2011

Hmmm…. 🙂

Like

Mark P - September 18, 2011

No, it’s not an argument for another day. It’s an argument for every single time McGuinness rears his head. And it isn’t just that he has been joint chief neo-liberal hatchetman in the North, it’s his record as the biggest and most enthusiastic privatiser and advocate for PPP/PFI.

You are correct that he will still, by default, attract most anti-establishment votes.

Like

26. paul b - September 18, 2011

martin says he will take industrial wage only with the rest going back to the state. what will the others take?

Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: