In elections since 1997, we have had the unusual feature of seeing posters for someone not standing in the election in any constituency, as Gerry Adams appeared on leader posters. This year, though he is contesting the election in Louth, I haven’t seen any of these posters. Perhaps I’ve just missed them.
But beyond that, I really don’t understand the Sinn Féin decision to run Adams in Louth. He came off badly in the Mini Leaders’ Debate in 2007, when Michael McDowell brought him down in a kamikaze mission, and doesn’t seem to have improved greatly in his knowledge of politics outside of Northern Ireland:
Maybe he just felt left out, as Martin McGuinness was getting all the attention as Deputy First Minister. And he probably wants to be in the Dáil in 2016. But perhaps it is now time for him to retire from politics, having brought his party into the Northern Executive. I would not expect Sinn Féin to take advice from me, but I think they may wonder how wise they were to arrange this. He is considered to have less integrity than McGuinness because of his continued denial of his IRA membership, even though it was leaked and widely known that in 2005 that Adams, McGuinness and Martin Ferris had resigned from the IRA Army Council. He will be parliamentary party leader, but over five years, he could be displaced in the public eye by younger bloods like Pearse Doherty or Eoin Ó Broin, a candidate in Dublin Mid-West. Both these men are surely ambitious for a greater role within their party, and will feel the prominence of Adams an obstacle for them.
Adams may come to regret all the fuss necessitated by his resignation as MP for West Belfast when he assumed the role of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead.
Not a Baron though. I’d have thought David Cameron would understand the peerage better than to have made that mistake in Prime Minister’s Questions. It’s not that easy to become part of the nobility. Adams’s title is much closer to that of groundskeeper.