“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” Final line in Animal Farm by George Orwell.
Here’s the piece in Ireland’s paper of record, published on Friday evening. It’s an important story. Paying their elected members an ‘industrial wage’, considerably lower than other elected pols and using the balance to build the party, signified, at least to some, a commitment to radicalism despite SF’s involvement in establishment parliaments.
To ditch that policy, which the story suggests may happen soon, indicates the opposite, that SF wants to join the establishment, will increasingly excise its left-wing past, and will soon have economic and social policies appropriate to that status.
Sinn Fein will also begin to look a more attractive proposition to young ambitious types more attracted by the lifestyle and glitter of politics than by ideology. An infusion of such people into its ranks can only accelerate SF’s move to the center and right. The Fianna Fail’isation of Sinn Fein, if you like.
It is a major and important way-point in Sinn Fein’s journey, a key stage in the party’s political mutation that will be welcomed by some, especially fellow members of the establishment on both sides of the Irish Sea, but greeted with dismay by others.
Perhaps that’s why The Irish Times has removed the story from coverage of the party’s ard-fheis in its web edition today (Saturday). After all, it might not be a good idea to make too much of a fuss about it.