There are times when an onlooker would wonder if some of the candidates in the presidential election could survive the election campaign, never mind the 7-year term of the presidency.
They continue to shadow box without disclosing anything positive and inspiring that could genuinely supportive that has a wow factor. Each of them must appeal beyond the narrow core of support, or is it tolerance, that is reflected in their favour in the opinion polls.
Sinn Féin, for example, are engaged in this contest from a background of subverting the interests, stability and institutions of the State – slaughtering Gardaí, not recognising the legitimacy of the courts despite familiarity with courtrooms. It is as if a proverbial sow’s ear has become a silk purse with candidate McGuinness proposing to salute, as commander-and-chief, the honour guards of the nation’s military while aspiring to become a 32-county president ‘without offending unionists’.
Why would Sinn Féin be seeking to incubate the Irish presidency, feigning acknowledgment of the institutions of the ‘Free State’ while continuing to draw the salaries and expenses derivable from the seats they won at Westminster but not turning up for work? The Westminster seats are based on single-seat constituencies so the archaic stunt of not turning up for work means that all constituents of Sinn Féin MP’s are deprived of effective parliamentary representation. Is there not something absurdly pathetic about standing in front of an Irish electorate seeking to become their head of state at a cut price while taking the Queen’s shilling but not deliberating on the legislative programme that impacts the lives, welfare and prospects of thousands of people in Northern Ireland of all and no political persuasion? Is parliamentary representation not the most fundamental civil right in a democracy?
The strategy of Martin McGuinness to the presidential election is reminiscent to that of retailer Denis Guiney in the 1950’s ‘pile them high but sell them cheap’. But Guiney’s approach has become obsolete and his retail enterprise never expanded. McGuinness, perhaps, needs to think like Sam Walton, founder of WalMart.
If he is so much in favour of change and of air brushing history why does his party not propose something more radical – such as taking their seats in Westminster and doing the peoples business and if McGuinness won the election and he were to continue to reside in the North he could imbue the rest of the population with a flavour of what a post united Ireland might be like!