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Democracy is a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
- H.L. Mencken



Empty Rhetoric, False Promises


Tommy Gorman
Andersonstown News


If Robin Livingstone feels "physically ill at the idea of men and women arselicking and grovelling" in front of Betty Windsor, he should understand that others are similarly affected by his own sycophancy towards Sinn Féin. Personally, I find such praise grossly inappropriate and misplaced.

Sinn Féin has moved with consummate ease from the cold revolutionary fringes to the comfort and conformity of the constitutional centre-right. All radical principles have been jettisoned to facilitate this metamorphosis. Erstwhile anti-imperialists and radical republicans are now very much at home kissing arse on the White House lawn and administering British rule in Stormont. In the process they have fully embraced private finance initiatives in the two ministries they control, Health and Education. These initiatives allow for the sell-off of key parts of health and education provision to the private sector. When financial gain becomes the end object with such vital public services, the future is bleak for all except those who reap the profits.

Sinn Féin's claim that more and more people are being convinced by the 'republican' analysis is about as valid as Tony Blair's claim that Great Britain turned socialist overnight by voting New Labour. In essence, New Labour is old Conservative. In like fashion, New Sinn Féin is old SDLP in denims, or old Fianna Fáil, if you are south of the border. The rightward shift of Sinn Féin and their new-found electoral responsibility has allowed former SDLP and even Alliance supporters to vote Sinn Féin with a clear conscience.

In today's global village, political trends, swings to the left and right, are usually reflected to differing degrees in most countries. Europe is at present witnessing its latest swing to the right. Eight countries, including the Irish Republic, are going into or have just come out of an election. Excluding Ireland, the other seven states are expected to show a substantial increase in support for far right parties. Some may even end up in government on their own as part of a coalition.

Are we bucking the trend in Ireland? Or is the electorate of Ireland not as sophisticated as we like to think and will rally behind any miscreant waving the biggest, greenest flag, and fall for empty rhetoric and false promises.

In the words of Leonard Cohen: "It's come to this, it's come to this, and wasn't it a long way down."



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