Sinn Fein's game is flagging
Published 08/05/2008 | 01:00
As a boy, his father told John Hume, 'you can't eat a flag'. But, as demonstrated in marketing leaflets, Sinn Fein believes people will swallow anything wrapped in national colours.
In 1974, Tricolours waved in opposition to the Sunningdale Agreement and carried on waving in support of IRA violence, until the 1994 ceasefire when Sinn Fein camouflaged the defeat of physical force republicanism by waving a whole forest of flags.
No Tricolours greeted the Good Friday Agreement, which Sinn Fein didn't sign. Neither did it issue referendum leaflets supporting a 'Yes' vote. However, during subsequent Stormont elections, out again came the Tricolours.
Now, after another whole year without a single piece of legislation, Martin McGuinness uses green, white and orange leaflets to boast that "Sinn Fein and the DUP are working together delivering effective Government".
Barnum once said "you can't fool all the people all the time". If there is a funny side to Sinn Fein's attempts to bamboozle us with green, white and orange razzmatazz, then the joke is not just on those falling for it, but on all paying dearly for jingoistic flimflam.
The SDLP designed, engineered and delivered the Sunningdale and Good Friday Agreements, settling the constitutional problem so that all would benefit from normal bread and butter politics. In a world of increasing food shortages and rapidly rising prices, the SDLP answer to jingoism? 'Put bread on tables, not slogans on gables.'