Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Gerry Adams MLA, MP, Blogger


I've been away for a few days, and missed all types of political news and stories, and this is the first real opportunity I've had to have a wee look at a couple of blogs.

When I did, I had a wee look at the newly appointed "Best Non-Lib Dem Blog of the Year voted for by readers of Lib Dem Voice" Slugger O'Toole. Congrats to Slugger, commiserations to Will Patterson (a blog I always find interesting) who was also shortlisted.

Anyway, to the point. By way of this piece on Slugger, I found the blog of Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams. I had a read of it last night and found some of the pieces quite interesting and, indeed, quite insightful. Indeed, it isn't every day you stumble across a blog written by someone whose place in history is assured - as much for good as bad (depending, I guess, on your starting point).

So, last night I did some thinking. On the one hand, Gerry Adams is now, and has been since 1983, the President of Sinn Fein, a (semi)respected (or respectable) politician, helped to bring about and restore devolved politics to Northern Ireland and move Sinn Fein away from being the political wing of the IRA into a professional political party. On the other, Adams allegedly played a key role in Bloody Friday and was allegedly (according to Ed Maloney) a high-ranking member of the IRA (a claim vigorously disputed by Adams). He has, however, more recently, aided the devolution settlement by meeting Ian Paisley (in 2007) for the first time and helped to shape the power-sharing agreement thereafter.

For me - and this might get me pelters from some who know more about the situation than I do - Gerry Adams is symbolic of the transition that all politicians must go through when faced with the situation that both he and his country found itself in. That transition is from hard, abstentionist, narrow-focused, uncompromising black-and-white politics to a more consensual, compromise-based pragmatic style, willing to negotiate over short-term goals but never losing sight of the long-term.

I have no particular attachment to either side of the political situation in Northern Ireland. I have read, extensively, around the IRA and Sinn Fein as comparative studies for my Masters' thesis on the Basque Country and ETA and wrote, without bias (or with as little bias as anyone can manage) about it from an academic perspective. In that respect alone, I find the progress made in Northern Irish politics fascinating.

So, I thought about this for awhile and, based simply on that final point - that the transition from conflict to cooperation is fascinating and Gerry Adams' role in that incredibly interesting - I decided I would add his blog to my blogroll.

If anyone does have issues with it, please let me know and I'll consider your comments. But do bear in mind I am very much a libertarian democrat when it comes to freedom of speech.

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