It is clear at this stage that Sinn Féin is practically in a zero sum fight with Labour come the general election. They will be competing with us for the last seat all over the place and we both can’t win.
A lot of friends see Sinn Féin as basically a Republican version of the Labour Party and of marginal relevance to them. It doesn’t matter that the perception is fed by a lazy media and a three-party conspiracy to stifle us - we have to overcome it. And with an election fast approaching we need to have the reasons for voting Sinn Féin instead of Labour to hand.
My own view is that, as pointed out here previously somewhere, Eamon Gilmore is essentially the same as Bertie Ahern - mediocre intellect, lots of media appearances and spin, all things to everyone while dodging big decisions. They bang on about FF’s style and then they go and mimic it shamelessly. Ivan Yeats summed him on the radio one morning saying his style was more ‘followership than leadership’.
And where he lacks a hard line you can bet your last cent that this will be exploited by Enda Kenny in government.
The hope is that in the course of an election campaign the bluffing will catch up with him - the same media that hate us will do us a favour by exposing Gilmore’s guff. When the time comes we must be ready-in-waiting with concrete answers to all the issues that he ducks.
Also, for our own members and canvassers, we’re going to need to spell out why Gilmore is a spoofer and why they’re better off with Sinn Féin.
Here is a sample of some of the main differences between them and us.
Closing the gap, 2014 V 2016
Labour (along with FF, FG and the Greens) is looking to close the gap in the public finances in three years. Sinn Féin believe such rough treatment would only serve to kill an already delicate patient and urge phasing out the balance over a longer timescale. The prospective FG/Labour coalition have also indicated that they want to front-load the cuts to the tune of €6 billion at the first opportunity. Sinn Féin is certain such a blunt attack on the economy would move us from recession territory to depression.
Labour has indicated their wish to either cancel or delay Metro North and other such badly needed infrastructural projects. They want one third of the cuts that they deem necessary to be made from the capital budget. Sinn Féin look at it as an opportunity to put thousands of unemployed trades people back to work at a knock down cost to the state.
After the customary flip-flopping Labour now seem to be on message with the government and FG re water charges. Sinn Féin say ‘no to water charges’ and suggest they start by fixing the bloody pipes! They point also to the fact that we already pay for water via general taxation and have separate plans to increase the tax take from those who are able to pay.
Education and Health
It is difficult to pin down exactly where Labour stand in these areas as Gilmore is evasive by nature (Bertie Mark II) and their web-site is vague. On the other hand Sinn Féin opposes third level fees and rejects that cuts to front-line health-care are necessary. Unlike Labour’s, the Sinn Féin web-site is laid out clearly under these areas. They also propose a far greater sharing of health and education facilities with the north.
Okay the campaign is over but it provides a telling insight into the differences between the two parties. One year on from the passing of the re-run of the Treaty and the Labour promise that a ‘Yes’ vote would deliver ‘jobs and investment’ has been exposed for the sham it was. They are ganging up again this week to slash the deficit by 2014 at the behest of the European Commission. Sinn Féin naturally smell the bullsh!t by now.
Despite Gilmore’s membership of Official Sinn Féin there hasn’t been a peep out of him on the national question in years. On everything else he sounds a bit shifty. On this, he’s strangely silent. Sinn Féin remain committed to unfinished business and is the only party with the strategy and policies for achieving unity and independence.
Please feel free to add to the list or develop these.
**Let’s ignore the trolls on this one lads**