Saturday, March 6, 2010

Video of Sinn Féin Ard Fheis on motions that would prevent Sinn Féin from going into coalition with FF or FG


  1. Yet again the leadership blow hot on the evils of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to win the audience only to hold open the door for coalition on the grounds of 'realism'.

    Only if they negotiate a 'republican' programme for government will they consider it...well all you have to do is look at the 'republican' programme of government that the party supports in the north. Things like PFI, the privatisation of waste charges, closure of schools and rationing of investment in public transport while roads get everything. Not easy to give much confidence...

    Wouldn't it be clearer for the people if the party positioned itself against either Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. That way people might start to believe once again. Fair dues to Eoin for carrying the battle once again.

  2. Féilim Ó hAdhmaillMarch 8, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    I think it is a mistake for Sinn Féin to leave the suggestion open that Sinn Féin MIGHT enter into a coalition with Fianna Fáil after the next election. (We all know it wouldn't happen with Fine Gael). Besides anything else it makes the call for a Left Alliance look ridiculous. What Sinn Féin needs to be doing now in the South is creating clear blue sky between the party and the other establishment parties - not blurring the difference. It's not going to increase transfers from FF or FG voters because neither will trust SF NOT to form a coalition with their bitter opponents. It's not going to encourage support from disillusioned voters because they won't know whether or not SF can be trusted NOT to put one of the right wing parties back into power. It also leaves the door open for Sinn Féín to be attacked by others on the Left as a party of rhetoric but not to be trusted with delivering on that rhetoric.

    Will it lead to SF growing in the South? I doubt it - where is the growth coming from in the context of what I have just said above? I suspect that there is a view within the leadership that a coalition might be possible on the basis of a FF Govt. agreeing to a plan for Irish unity. That sounds grand from a Northern perspective. However, for political growth in the South SF needs to be offering more than a plan for unity. People in the South are not particularly interested in Irish unity. Any that are are voting SF already! (That's the core SF vote!). Ratherm people in the South want their socio-economic problems solved. They already have very well qualified and experienced politicians on the Right they can turn to for neo-liberalist or Social Democratic responses to their problems. There is no space for SF growth there. Political growth is only possible via proposing socialist alternatives to the existing political establishment. That seems less and less a possibility if the way is left open for participation in a Right wing Govt. I am surprised though that Southern delegates went for this - though listening to their speeches I thought initially that they were voting against coalition! But maybe again I'm just getting old!

    Féilim Ó hAdhmaill

  3. Couoldn't agree more Féilim I think you summed it up perfectly.

    I know the argument is that a specail Ard Fheis will never to approve any coalition, but can you see it rejecting a organised push by the leadership to get the party to agree to a programm. We will be asked to trust their judgement and I'd prefer if they would trust our sesire not to go in with FF or FG.

  4. But if the party had voted no to coalition then that would have probably seen us pigeon holed as being irrelevant because a vote for SF was a vote for the opposition benches no matter what.

    For all the votes we'd lose by ruling in coalition we'd probably lose the same amount ruling out coalition.

    I have to say I'd find the prospect of a coalition with FF fairly repugnant. Even more repugnant than being with FG actually.

    But rather than ruling people out i think the correct course was to at least allow us to figure out our tactics closer to the time rather than deciding now what our tactics must be and fitting it to every event.

    Just as a hypothetical situation, and its purely hypothetical. What would we do in the following sitautin after an election:

    Sinn Fein 10 seats
    Labour: 24 seats
    FF: 49
    FG - 68

    Labour decide they dont want to go into power with FG cause there is more rewards elsewhere. With SF they approach FF .

    The offer is 8 full ministers from the left, half of the junior ministeries to the left and an agreed left wing economic and social programme. A battered FF wants to recover and accepts what is effectively the souths first Leftwing govt.

    However it would juxtapose a progressive alliance with Labour and a coalition with Fianna Fail at the same time.

    Is there really no circumstance at all possible where we can rule out any coalition option.

    The other flip sde in your well argued post is rightfully that if we look like a new Green party who'll be tamed in govt. then that wont help much either

  5. As one of the so called Southern delegates who voted for motions 18 and 19 and against the AC amendment I have to agree with nearly everything posted above (except being called a southerner as that could apply to a Kerryman or God forbid a Tipperary person). When are we going to learn the lessons of Free State history, that to go into Coalition with a large right wing party is fatal or extremely damaging to small parties of the left or even of the right. Clann na Poblachta, Labour, The PDs, Democratic Left and now the Greens have all learned to their cost that supporting either FF or FG as minor Coalition Partners has led only to a decline in their fortunes, sometimes even to fatal decline and extinction. The only space open for SF to grow in the 26 Counties is to the left of Labour and whilst we were for a while engaged in an attempt to build a left alliance with them and others, it seems that this idea is being spurned as the Labour Party isn't particularly interested, as they pursue their own agenda to enter Coalition with FG. So the choice facing most of the electorate is either FF plus anyone else to try and make up the numbers or FG/Lab to form a Government. Both these options will give us right wing neo-liberal economic policies and a lot of people may be wise enough to see their isn't much choice there. This means we have to put our Left credentials forward stridently now (especially and crucially left wing economic policies) and stick with them as we attempt to open a space for ourselve, so that we have a fighting chance to get a larger slice of the 25% + of the electorate who are disillusioned and resentful with the legacy of the Celtic Tiger. I don't agree that everyone votes in a general election for the same reason i.e. to elect a government only. There is a protest vote out there who may with encouragement say "a plague on both right wing houses". We are now running (or see sawing) somewhere between 7 and 10% in the polls. I believe that if we don't increase our share of the vote in the next election to at least a few points above 10%- say optimistically 13%, stagnation is likely to set in and this will make Coalition even more likely as a disillusioned party seeks an outlet to get some few of its policies implemented. So we who don't want a coalition with FF or FG have to get out there and work to increase support for SF as a stand alone party, as we will need the evidence of the increase in party support to convince enough delegates in the future that SF is on the right path and that Coalition would be a hindrance more than a help to our success.

  6. Red what did you think of the quality of the debate at the Ard Fheis?

  7. First of all, I thought Gerry Adams speech was excellent, best in a while as was his performence. However some of the debates have lost the raw edge and passion that was there in the past and what we have have now is a series of set piece speeches lacking excitement. The speech content was excellent in the main but Composite motions,steering committee arrangements, time constraints (on some but not all speakers) and the denial of the right to speak to members who are not delegates all hinder a frank and full debate.The amount of young (and not so young) talented speakers was impressive but I wonder did it come across as a bit bland to TV viewers.

  8. how many debates where there? coalition, hare corseing, two?

  9. Anon there were three days of deabte. Check out the sinn féin website for more videos and the voting on all the motions