Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The British Prime Minister has finally called the Westminster election. It
will be on Thursday May 6 th . The date comes as no great surprise. It has been widely expected for months now.

This blog likes elections. Except for canvassing in shopping centres,
which I hate, they are great craic. You get out of the office; you meet
people on their doorsteps and on the streets. You get a chance to connect directly with punters for a short but very intense period of weeks.

It’s an opportunity to listen. To engage with citizens directly about our
hopes, fears and plans for the future. But equally importantly it’s a chance to talk.

This year the election and the annual series of Townhall Meetings held by
Sinn Féin dovetail together. We first started these in January 2007 in the weeks leading up to the Sinn Fein special Ard Fheis on policing and justice. That was an intense time! And we have done it each year since because it’s a democratic exercise.

The party has been preparing for this election for some time now. Apart
from the organisational work that is the necessary backbone of every election campaign, and the PR preparation around posters and leaflets and the like, most areas across the North have already been involved in canvassing.

So, we have a good idea of what the main issues are at this time; the
political institutions, job losses, job security, the state of the health service, the economy, education, Irish language rights, housing, policing, public services and so on.

Sinn Féin is also, as all regular readers of this blog know, a republican
party. That means Irish reunification will be at the top of our political agenda.

Most people aren’t born nationalist or republican. Yes, family and
environment play a big part but it is possible to persuade someone to adopt a different view of the world.

So, this blog will be asking all of you who are unionist to consider your
future; to consider what the union has meant and now means for you and your family; what it offers you in the future? If you live in the lower Shankill or Springmartin,or Ballymena or in Fermanagh South Tyrone; what has the union delivered for you? How have your unionist politicians represented you? Can Sinn Féin do better? Would Irish unity give you greater control over your own destiny and deliver a better quality of life for you and your children?

Think about these questions and let’s talk about them on the campaign
trail over the next few weeks.

Think also about the peace process and the political institutions and the
recent agreement at Hillsborough. This process and the improvement it has ushered in are proof that slowly but surely, Sinn Féin is creating a better society. And we need your support to keep going and to finish the job.

Every election the media latch on to some issue. An angle. Sometimes they
get it right. Sometimes they zero in on nonsense.

There is already some nonsense about a hung parliament. Well, not so much about a hung parliament. That could be an outcome, how likely no one can say. No, the nonsense is that that a party from here could be in a very pivotal position in a hung parliament at Westminster. Wishful thinking!

Your man reckons I should return to this issue. And I will. Particularly
about the Irish experience in that institution.

In the meantime best wishes to the other parties in the election. All the
parties will go to the electorate with our different opinions but let’s have a good debate. And a message to the media – don’t reduce it to two debates - to what’s happening within unionism or what’s happening within nationalism. Let’s have a cross cutting debate on the issues that are important to citizens.

Three years ago in the last Assembly election it was noticeable that bread
and butter issues, and jobs and the environment and policing and other issues were what citizens were focused on. I think that this election is likely to follow that pattern.

People are worried about the recession. We have all heard the predictions
of worse to come. So what are the local parties and politicians going to do to protect jobs and create new ones? What are we going to do about the public services?

This election will be about Leadership. The Shinners have that in abundance. The story of the peace process is evidence of that. How often did others give up and the Shinners persevered and found a way through? The recent agreement at Hillsborough is a clear example of this. So Sinn Féin has the leadership, the right ideas, the right policies and the right political strategy for the future.

I have been convinced for a very long time that the institutions are
popular and that people want them to work. So, May 6th is the electorate’s opportunity to make a judgement on these. This may be a Westminster election. But all politics are local. And it’s what happens here that’s important.

See you all on the campaign trail!


Anonymous said...

There is nothing local about westminister, it's pointless electing anyone to go there, give a good Irish answer to this foreign govt and elect no nationalist to it.It's about time assembly members stood for election in the national parliment in dublin.

Red_Maggie said...


As a political activist myself I have to agree that elections are a great time for anyone who genuinely cares. The chance to engage with people, discuss issues both big and small, to meet every aspect of the local community; it's a wonderful opportunity to learn more about your society. And we can never assume that we have nothing more to learn.

More seriously, though, I am a little concerned about this election, especially in relation to the north of Ireland. Call me cynical but I am very suspicious about the timing of certain 'revelations' (some might say rumours) over recent months. The capitalist establishment in Britain has been clearly concerned over recent years that they have lost control of the six counties. I would not be surprised to see an increase in subtle nastiness over the coming weeks. The British establishment is great at muckspreading while it suits their purpose, only to apologise later once the damage is done.

As for the union, it might be worth pointing out that even that arch-imperialist Winston Churchill, at the time of the 1921 treaty, said that partition should only be a temporary measure. the border is a farce, put in place to perpetuate British divide and rule imperial policies at the time. I think we all know the damage that has caused.

This one could be interesting. As a political nerd I'll be watching every minute. Let's see what we're left with on 7 May!

Timothy Dougherty said...

hello Gerry,
To be in Belfast ,now that Spring is here , sould have been the words the poet expressed. Can Sinn Féin do better? ;political movement are just that,a movement. The Ideology of Sinn Féin ,can ane will genuimely move people who care ,about their national goals. Yesterday I was at a meeting with Actor Kirk Douglas , who had a stroke in has changed is life, and works on being a new and better person. Mr.Kirk Douglas had some real collection of inspirational and motivational stories to tell. Ireland and has had a ,likewise has had a storke,adn Sinn Féin can be the doctor,with inspirational and motivational stories, the patient must work to heal.

Angelina Doherty said...


I'm delighted with your approach for integrating Unionists.

I would like to ask you, please speak out against the atrocities of the Catholic Church in Ireland. People must not be persuaded any longer by religion when it comes to their vote. The media is already suggesting a possible fear people in the Nationalist community may have for voting Sinn Féin because of the scandal.

Paul DOran said...

Gerry Day 2 in Newcastle and The SDLP were out yesterday touting for a vote.CR has a lot of work to do, The social snobbery is all too prevelant around Newcastle and elsewhere. I hope Catriona is elected with a big mandate She deserves it.You can hear the kids who go to these grammar schols talk about others who don't with a tint of snobbery. The Greens around the town were first out with their posters.Hopefully the local SF cumann will get out quickly. Off to Dublin now

Anonymous said...

Good luck to all the SF team.
The usual suspects will try to bolster the SDLP and throw as much muck at you to stifle the growth of SInn Fein.
Don't let the B's get you down!

amanfromMars said...

Well said, Gerry. It is good to talk for the World is ruled with Words and they maketh the Man .... and then one can thank GOD* for Women .... or thank Women when Godisagoddess.

At least then you'll get a lively discussion and thrusting debate rather than just talking to yourself and sounding silly and mentally unhinged.

* In AI HyperRadioProActive NIRobotIQs, Global Operating Devices ........ One of Northern Ireland's Hidden Gems and a very Closely Guarded Stealthy Secret and Transparent ProgramMING Project in the Civil CyberSpace Sphere .... Live Operational Virtual Environment...... for the Better Beta Management of Human Perception with Improved Media Edutainment and Advanced IT Controlled Leverage.

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author. .... To be disapproved would have one pondering on the why should a reasoned explanation be missing.

Anonymous said...

this blog

You mean you, surely?

you are not a blog,you write a blog,a blog is not a person


Micheal said...

God bless you Son. Good luck for the election. Elections are very important and no-one can underestimate democracy, however imperfect it can be be times. And I know what people think about partitioned democracy, but Sinn Fein is committed to make things right in a proper fashion.

East Belfast Bloke said...

Mr Adams, I consider myself a moderate unionist who respects the politics and aspirations of the Republican electorate in Northern Ireland. In fact it may surprise you that I find our Deputy First Minister a capable and articulate individual.

I am a long time reader of your blog and there are times I laugh, scoff, rage and ignore some of the things you write. This however is my first time responding.

I am amused at your appeal to the unionist electorate asking what the Union means to us and what our elected expenses representatives do for us. Politicians of whatever hue at the moment are not held in the highest regard. The problems that exists in 'my' community also exists in 'your' community. The social problems are a common bond that unite both communities. So whether its in the context of a sovereign Irish State or the United Kingdom is irrelevant. We live in todays world.

The question is for nationalist ireland to ask itself. What type of Ireland would the unionist community like to live in?

For too long voices within nationalism have TOLD us of how they see the New Ireland. Just like you describe in this blog.

I have no problem with a united Ireland. But it must be exactly want it means. United.

Lets be honest Mr Adams, maybe if you listen more to the ordinary unionist citizen and not our 'great' leaders, then maybe just maybe you would understand us better.

Best wishes in the General Election.

Colin McCormick, East Belfast

Linda Coleman said...

I wish we had your kind of elections in the States. Our "big" elections go on for something like two years now; members of Congress are up for election every two years, so they never stop campaigning. Then, there are the local elections, which seem to be going on all the time.

As a Precinct Chair, I'm in the middle of it all the time. I enjoy the canvassing and the constant round of parties, but I really wish the U.S. would shorten the process and that politicians would work for the people instead of for the next campaign.

Your Election Day is on my birthday! Hope that brings you some extra good luck.