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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Man Without the Mask

At the end of the broadcast the Bearded One's face fills the screen in super close-up and in his most sinister basso profundo he uses the imperative of the manufactured Irish verb to order the viewers 'Votail Sinn Féin' - Brian Feeney


Anthony McIntyre • 10 March 2007

It is not often that the mask slips. But when it does the grotesquery that lies beneath the Gerry Adams public persona breaks through and gives those who witness it an unpleasant glimpse of what lurks behind the façade. Most accounts of the Adams meanness comes through anecdotes provided by those who were either on the receiving end of it or were in the company and witnessed someone else being exposed to it.

These things often have a way of being maintained in-house. The apparatchiks make it their business to keep the rough edges off camera. Theirs is all about public image. The anointed one must always be depicted in soft focus. In the battle for perception the public at large is normally only allowed to see the polished Adams, in contradistinction to the unbuffed version his detractors favour; the one that was always a peace activist and never a military leader, the kisser as opposed to the killer, the champion of women's rights rather than the architect of disappearing women.

The apparatchiks do their job well but unfortunately for them control freaks resent being controlled and the extent to which they can be chaperoned is not always measurable. When they look back on the Big Lad's performance on BBC Spotlight on Tuesday last they will almost certainly cringe. Adams' own pompousness will probably prevent him from seeing where it all went belly-up. A few probing questions saw the veneer peel back and viewers witnessed a metamorphosis from international statesman to back street corner boy in the space of seconds. It will hardly affect the great leader's popularity amongst his Northern following but if Sinn Fein's rivals in the upcoming election in the Republic fail to switch on the Spotlight performance at every opportunity in their campaigning some of them they may be left to curse the darkness that envelops them.

Given the opportunity to field questions from an audience in a televised setting it should have been a dawdle for the hero of the revolution. Yet curiously he chose the cryptic route by forsaking diplomacy for bullying. The audience hissed its disapproval. The leader of the so-called party of the younger generation condescendingly dismissed one probing challenger as too young. It was a bizarre put down from a man who at an age not much older than his questioner directed a war in this city in which many people died, needlessly now given what Sinn Fein settled for; a sectarian carve up between two ethnic dictators.

Another questioner was met with the put down that he was a member of the Workers Party. It hardly mattered what the man's political affiliation was, his question on Sinn Fein's attitude to Private Finance Initiative was a legitimate one and in the public interest should have been treated with the seriousness it merited. The problem as it frequently is was the Adams horror of detail.

As is becoming apparent the one presidential characteristic President Adams has emulated from President Bush is a weakness for detail. He tries to parry questions that demand a detailed response with meaningless platitudes, put downs and evasiveness, seeking to draw his inquisitor onto the tedious ground of the peace process which he masters through liberal applications of lies, fudge and ambiguity. Lure all difficult questions onto that bog and watch them quickly sink in the mire. Noel Whelan in the today's Irish Times caught it perfectly:

Indeed, many interviews which Gerry Adams did over the ardfheis weekend were a tale of two halves. When asked about the Northern Ireland elections, Adams was fluent, informed, specific and competent. However, when the interviewers changed tack and asked him about Sinn Féin's policy position for the general election down South, Adams was evasive, vague and even incoherent. One exchange between Adams and Bryan Dobson on RTÉ's Week in Politics was almost comical. Dobson had to ask Adams six times whether the party was still proposing a new income tax rate of 50 per cent and asked him to whom this tax rate would apply, but he couldn't get a straight answer. Dobson then asked him five times whether the party was still committed to increasing corporation tax and again Adams ducked the question.

Evasiveness works in the North where denial rather than detail is in demand. In the Republic the voter may not be just as forgiving.






























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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14 March 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Legal Aid Wrangle Continues
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

Statements on the Arrest of Gerry McGeough

Campaign for Noel Maguire
TJ O Conchúir

Paisleyites & Peelers
Anthony McIntyre

Equating Spectacle at Stormont with United Irishmen is Perverse
Tommy Gorman

Seacht mbuicéad caca go dtite ar a gcinn
Michael Gillespie

Nothing But the Truth
John Kennedy

Snapshot, 1993: Voters' Rights, MI5 Wrongs
Fionnbarra Ó Dochartaigh

Broad Church for Unionism
Dr John Coulter

The Man Without the Mask
Anthony McIntyre

The New Boyne Harriers
Brian Mór

UUP Possibilities
Dr John Coulter

Blinkered Vision
Anthony McIntyre

Damned by Debt Relief
Pauline Hadaway

6 March 2007

Irish Republican Ex-POWs Against the RUC/PSNI & MI5

Whispering Past the Graveyard
John Kennedy

RSF Campaign Reports
Tony McPhillips – Election Agent

Save Derry
Brian Mór

Support Peggy O Hara
Ex-POWs and Concerned Republicans Against RUC/PSNI & MI5

Only the Beginning
Mick Hall

St Bore's Day
Anthony McIntyre

SS Sinn Fein
John Kennedy

Election Guarantees Nothing
David Adams

Coulter's Pre-Election Report
Dr John Coulter

Others Promise...
Brian Mór

The Curse of the Caudillo Complex
Mick Hall

Rest, Do Not Surrender
Dolours Price

...We Deliver
Brian Mór

Super Six Dictator
Dr John Coulter

Anyone Up for a Serious Alternative?
Philip Ferguson

The View from Outside
Jerry Pepin

Boom to Bust?
Dr John Coulter

Tyre Trees
Anthony McIntyre

Cleanliness Not Next to Godliness in the Shankill
Marty Egan

Leadership Needed
Stephen Hughes

Where Does the State of the Union Leave the Rest of Us?
Richard O'Rawe



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