There’s a tweet going around saying, and I paraphrase, that whatever about David Norris’s skeletons in his closet, at least they’re not actual skeletons. Sinn Fein’s decision to nominate Martin McGuinness for president is an interesting move. McGuinness is respected in the south in a way that Adams isn’t possibly because he’s seen at times as Collins to Adams’s Dev, the soldier as opposed to the politician, and that will help him, as will the images of him and Paisley, as soldier turned peacemaker. It’s a De Klerk-Mandela thing, and it has traction.
Yes, his opponents will want to bring up his past, and footage of him advocating the killing of collaborators et al, but they’d be fools to think that will hurt him. All that will do is confirm the prejudices of people who will never vote Sinn Fein, whilst reactivating the normally non-voting hotheads who love the smell of sulphur that Sinn Fein has lost in recent years. If anything, if McGuinness can set himself up as the two fingers to the IMF/EU/Banks candidate, he’s going to do very respectably. It also puts paid to a significant guerilla vote spoiling campaign by disgruntled Norris supporters, if he can’t get on the ballot.
There are, however, some issues worth considering about putting a Sinn Fein candidate into the Aras. For a start, the penetration of Sinn Fein by MI5 is a fact, and a serious issue. Does a Sinn Fein president increase the likelihood of having British agents in the park seeing Irish government documents during, say, EU negotiations, or advising the president against bills not in the British interest?
Secondly, there is an issue as to how other countries will see the election of McGuinness, especially Britain. I’m not for one moment suggesting that any country have a veto over who we choose, but never the less, would we be that surprised if the Queen, having had a close relative murdered by McGuinness’s close colleagues, chose to not having dealing with the Irish president for the next 14 years? Do we want 14 years of the scumbag British media going on about it? Does it matter? Possibly not. But I remind people of how Kurt Waldheim was treated when he was president of Austria.
On the plus side, I do look forward to seeing Martin McGuinness sign a new EU treaty creating a defacto federal Europe into law. Or would he resign first?