Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Left Politics of Victimhood Makes No Sense

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

New Left Politics of Victimhood Makes No Sense

Article excerpt

Byline: Melanie McDonagh

THE thing about Gerry Adams's problematic tweet, "Watching Django Unchained A Ballymurphy N****r!", is that it might be the most hair-raising of his tweets, but it's not even the weirdest one.

A friend of mine is a connoisseur of his Twitter feed and merrily passes on to me the Sinn Fein leader's bon mots, such as "We r 3 little lambs who have lost our way Baa Baa Baa. Little black sheep who have gone astray Baa Baa Baa". Or, "Sometimes it's hard 2 b a woman". As for the new Jungle Book film, the man who was for a generation the face of the republican movement says it "scares the life outta me".

I know that Mr Adams who has, I should say, vigorously denied membership of the IRA or any involvement with terrorist murders is now squarely in mainstream politics, but he's 67 and too old for this sort of thing.

But both the tweet and the attitude that underlies it tell us quite a lot about the contemporary political culture. Sinn Fein has, in the past decade, undergone a transformation from being the political front of republicanism did I mention that Gerry denies he was involved with IRA killings? to a weird Irish version of Corbynite minority politics crossed with a Greek Syriza-style, antiausterity movement. So you get Sinn Fein for gay marriage, feminism, secularism and the cult of diversity, while holding tight to the Easter Rising and Fenianism: the old creed.

And what you invariably get with this kind of Leftist politics is the pursuit of victimhood. So, even while Sinn Fein chalks up remarkable, unsettling political gains on both sides of the Irish border, it's holding firm to its claim to represent a put-upon minority.

So naturally, Gerry equates the struggles of Catholic nationalists in Northern Ireland with black Americans under slavery: they're both victims, no? …

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