6 April 2006 Edition
BY FRANK FARRELL
Republicans are well used to dishonesty and distortion from the Sunday Independent, to abuse instead of reasoned argument; but last Sunday's front page lead by that professional anti-republican Jim Cusack surely takes the biscuit.
Cusack has found a natural home in the Sindo for his opposition to the peace process, and argues the case for victory over the IRA even as the political process leaves such bigotry long behind it. He is always to the fore in disseminating securocrat accusations of criminality and so on against republicans, with dire warnings to hapless Sindo readers as to the fate that lies in store for them.
With Sinn Féin well placed, North and South, to play crucial roles in the political administration of both parts of the country, Cusack has been driven more and more to hysteria.
And so a straightforward Sinn Féin discussion document on options for political action is presented as a "secret plan to sweep to power". And how is the "Sinn Féin hierarchy" to achieve this? By creating a mass party to "mobilise even greater numbers of Irish people around our vision." Or that was the plan they supposedly unveiled to "an inner coterie" in the North.
And in a way, it is shocking for people like Cusack, to imagine the unimaginable, that Sinn Féin can win power (like any other political party) through mobilising mass support in the community. "Radicalised and mobilised communities are the seedbed from which the new republic will be built", he quotes, as if such a concept were itself worthy of condign punishment.
And the normal process of recruitment, in which all political parties are engaged - though Sinn Féin more successfully than most - is presented as the "indoctrination of young people into Sinn Féin". Why? I'm afraid the game is given away because the document "refers to the need for political education programmes."
And in Cusack's twisted bigoted imagination, all this proves that "internal Sinn Féin strategy is controlled by a secret group of IRA members, who subscribe totally to Marxist politics and subterfuge"!
Well, there you have it, and you thought that Sinn Féin's democratic debating of political activity and defining of objectives was a normal part of the political process.
For satire, this couldn't be bettered, except that Cusack and his Sindo paymaster, Tony O'Reilly - sorry Sir Anthony O'Reilly! - write as if they believe this rubbish, or at least would like to.
More lying rubbish appeared in the Sindo's 'People' section where it reprinted a completely false assertion that An Phoblacht had 'blacklisted' recently deceased author John McGahren.
But enough of the gutter press. Let's turn our attention to that bastion of right thinking - and the emphasis is on the word 'right' - the Irish Daily Mail.
Mary Ellen Synon (remember her?) She who departed the Sindo after her a nasty, scurrilous, contemptuous piece jeering disabled athletes in the special Olympics). Well, Mary Ellen is now regaling us every Monday with some serious admonition of how we're getting it all wrong.
We don't have decent leaders apparently; leaders who would be prepared to slash public spending, end wasteful expenditure on social services and so reduce taxes allowing the rich to get even richer, while the rest - in keeping with Michael McDowell's philosophy - find inequality a real stimulus to changing their situation.
Of course, like Michael McDowell she doesn't fancy it too much when inequality drives people to end inequality, but that's the plebs for you: you can't rely on them to do the right thing, or vote the right way: look at Ukraine or Byelorussia, where the people voted in a deeply flawed way by not electing pro-Western governments. Tut, tut.
Anyway, back home, who is the leader who is going to be the saviour of Mary Ellen's nation? Why none other than that scourge of hospital beds, Mr Dirty Dozen himself, Charlie McCreevy. He apparently has the "vision" - please don't laugh - to see the country right.
Fresh from achieving the capitulation of the Irish Labour Party and others to his Services Directive, McCreevy is now turning his disapproving attention to French "rioters." "The riots in France against increased labour market flexibility are counterproductive," The Irish Times reported the EU Commissioner as saying.
But counter-productive in what way? Leaving aside The Times' uncritical reporting of the word 'riots' to describe the legitimate protests of masses of French working people, of whom only a small fraction engaged in rioting, is McCreevy worried that these "rioters" will obscure the anti-exploitation message? Or does he believe that "overcoming resistance to 'reform' requires leadership, staying power and determination, not being tempted to bend to the pressures of the street."
This just days after The Irish Times again reported, without comment, that Serbian workers on an ESB project were the latest to have been shown to be paid not just less than the going trade union rate, but even less than the legal minimum wage.
The only comment The Times could muster on all of this, was to warn Bulgarian and Romanian applicants for EU membership that they must reform their judicial systems. These apparently do not understand the need to subordinate the rights of workers to the free play of the market.
Still, don't delay, urges The Times. "This continuing momentum to enlarge is closely bound up with European political stabilisation and security," it intones.
An Phoblacht Magazine
AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:
- The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
- It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
- There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.