Sunday, November 20, 2005

Next Sinn Fein Leader.

Did you ever get that DOH moment when you realise something you should have known all along. You read or hear something and suddenly it is obvious. Well I had one of those moments the other day.

So what revelation did I have. The next president of Sinn Fein will be Mary Lou McDonald. Now I know that some of you are laughing at this suggestion Mary Lou doesn’t have the polished edge of Adams or McGuinness. Others are wondering how stupid have I been for not realising this before. For the people who doubt this claim here is my reasoning.

Gerry Adams has been around along time and he is ageing. Sinn Fein want to move away from the image of Sinn Fein/IRA they want to be seen as an independent party. So this rules out the likes of Martin Ferris and Martin McGuinness. They also want to appear as a young dynamic party. So this rules out the likes Barbara De Brun and Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. They want someone from outside the working class to remove the image of Sinn Fein as a working class party in an Ireland that is increasingly becoming a Middle Class state. Interestingly enough something their arch-enemy Maggie Thatcher wanted Britain to be. They would want a southern candidate to alter the image of Sinn Fein being primarily Northern in focus and the image of the one of the largest party in the North headed by a southerner would be gold so that rules out Conor Murphy. Also they would want a high profile candidate whose face is recognisable thus ruling out Pierce Doherty (as does his teethHat tip Slugger). Mary Lou fits all these characteristics . They may even want a female leader to soften their image. I mean you can imagine McGuinness knee capping someone could you imagine Mary Lou holding a black and Decker drill aloft? She is already more recognisable then most of the other parties front bench and definitely the most recognisable Irish European member of parliament.

Wherever Gerry Adams is Mary Lou is in tow. She is been groomed to be seen as the obvious successor. She is wheeled out in front of the cameras more often then Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin Sinn Fein leader in the Dáil. This is all part of Sinn Féin’s long term plan of increasing her profile. While she might not be the polished performer that Gerry is yet that will be worked on her. Seemingly on TV3 The politcal party when asked about Willie O' Dea's picture she said it was completely inappropriate when asked about IRA pictures on the Sinn Fein bookshop site she didn't have a reply. So they may still have some grooming to do yet. She is also active in European politics asking 18 questions in parliment to De Brun 6and equal to Fine Gael golden boy Simon Coveney

In the modern world name recognition everything. Mr Ahern benefits immensely from being Bertie. Bertie is a nickname is just seems more friendly. Bertie doesn’t have the charisma of a Blair or Clinton but what he does have is he comes across as a mate the likable guy in the local. This dynamic serves him well and he plays to it. Think about it we know Bertie drinks pints of Bass. Does anyone now what Edna Kenny’s preference is. That’s the way it will stay Enda Kenny will never be the Kennster, the Endanator or even Enda. Mary Lou has that name thing going for her as well. People refer to her as Mary Lou she is on first name terms with the entire nation and is not even a member of the Dáil yet. The fact that you can put her name into a Disney Film song is an election strategists wet dream

Jungle book Mary Lou I wanna be like you I wanna walk like you Talk like you, too You'll see it's true

On the Sinn Fein website they held an auction for a book. Sinn Fein 100 years of struggle. Which was signed by some of the most influential republicans. Mary Lou was one of the signatories. I mean seriously what has Mary Lou done for the Republican cause. This is all part of the Sinn Fein myth building exercise to include her in the memory of the struggle.

(To the tune of abba’s Waterloo) Mary Lou - I was defeated, you won the war Mary Lou - promise to love you for ever more Mary Lou - couldn’t escape if I wanted to Mary Lou - knowing my fate is to be with you Mary Lou - finally facing my Mary Lou

So if we take it as fact that Mary Lou is going to be the next leader of Sinn Fein. When is Gerry going to retire. While the term spring chicken could only be used to describe Garry Adams meal choices in March. He still has a few years in him yet. He would like to see a United Ireland during his term but with Catholics not out breeding protestants as quickly as they would like due to increased catholic monetary status it is probably unlikely to happen before 2011. 2011 is the year that I think the change over will happen. As in that year there will be another presidential election something Adams would like to be. This gives them 6 years to build up Mary Lou’s image. They may give Barbara De Brun a few years as head to build up Mary Lou or Gerry may stay on a few years if he loses the election but Mary Lou’s time will come. But they need to get her elected first.

Hence the movement of her into the Dublin Central constituency. It was seen as a controversial move. Nicky Kehoe lost out on a seat by only 70 votes last time. So Sinn Fein must be thinking that with the added Mary Lou factor they would be granteed a seat in Bertie territory. But Nicky Kehoe is seemingly a tireless local representative well known for his constituency work. Mary Lou does not have that reputation. So she might struggle to take that seat.But she also doesn't have the 12 years in jail that Nicky Kehoe has. But Sinn Fein are no fools this move has been well planed. The scalp of stopping the returning Taoiseach bring his running mate in with him is to good an opportunity to miss. With Tony Geogery and Labours Costello in that constituency as well the scalp looks likely.

So with her seat in the Dail the next phase of Mary Lou would kick in. If Sinn Fein end up in power. She will be given a high profile ministry but not something potentially damaging. She wouldn’t be in health or transport my bet would be education or environment. If they are not in government she will be given the choicest speeches to enhance her reputation.

Sinn Fein’s future is going to be Mary Lou. But the name thing can run both ways.:)

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