Sorry Ger, but is it time to throw in the towel?

15 03 2010

Following on from the question of Margaret Ritchie’s leadership, there seems to be good reason too to question the effectiveness of Gerry Adams’s leadership.

Adams is not such a dynamic leader all things considered. He’s like an ageing, broken up southpaw boxer – not the big hitter he used to be, overuses the clunking Left, offers nothing with the Right, and got a bad case of blurred vision. He’s also making an increasingly easy target of himself.

It’s getting ugly to watch.

I’m not going to rehearse the personal stories relating to child abuse and allegations by rape victims, though the fallout from these will persistent for some time.

But consider a more general truth, that Adams is past his prime as a media asset and it is negating his effectiveness as a political leader. Consider this:

The Indo deplores ‘Tactical Use of Irish Language’ and reckons last week’s Ard Fheis saw Sinn Fein redefine “bilingualism” as the ability not to use both the Irish and English languages, but as the tendency to speak out of both sides of the mouth at once. It went on to suggest Adams spend more time in Gort a’Chiorce.

Following the Ard Fheis, this appeared in the Sunday Business Post. It deconstructs SF economic policy, and is dismissive of its ideas. Critically, it adds that Adams’s flubs on economics don’t affect him ‘partly because economic policy was never as important as the national question, and partly because most voters don’t take Sinn Féin that seriously on economic policy. That’s one of the reasons why the party hasn’t been able get beyond 10 per cent.’

Then, there was the story about Gerry’s support for St Patrick’s Day events which are viewed as anti-gay and anti-women. This got picked up in The Kerryman. Stateside, also looked into the charge of support for an organisation which engages in discriminatory behaviour.

I know, a few swallows don’t make a summer. But these pieces reinforce for me that I haven’t seen any really, consistently positive coverage about Adams in quite some time. It’s nearly all negative or, well, agnostic.

There seems to be a gathering consensus that – across a whole range of issues (personal to political) – Adams is just not credible; that he talks through both sides of his mouth; that he cannot be trusted.

Adams told the Politics Show last week that he would continue on as president while he had something to offer. He’ll have to work pretty hard to compensate for the dripfeed of negative material coming through from the media.

Adams is taking too many easy shots and isn’t as sure-footed as he once was. Is it time for someone to throw in the towel?




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