Danger: these men cannot be interviewed

Related Topics
I HAVE seen the first Irish television interview with Gerry Adams. The good news is that he was dull; the bad that he was clever; and the worst - confirmed by the two radio interviews about which I have read much - is that professional interviewers seem unable to demolish his dishonest arguments.

Radio Telefis Eireann gave the job to Brian Farrell, their most senior and most respected political interviewer and a professor of politics to boot. It was clear from his face that Farrell saw through Adams's shady distortion, cant and Orwellian language. But seeing through is not cutting up. Adams has very nifty footwork and is almost impossible to pin down. It takes some effrontery to be able to a) complain about the difference between the Downing Street declaration and the Hume/Adams document, while explaining that we were not yet to be allowed to see said document; and b) ask for clarification of the declaration, while refusing to explain what you want clarified.

Farrell was too civilised to be able to deal with an opponent who is single-minded, unscrupulous and brilliant at rising from the terrorist gutter to seize the high moral ground.

Until recently, I opposed on civil liberties grounds the British and Irish broadcasting bans on Sinn Fein. I changed my mind for two reasons. First, reading Walter Bagehot reminded me of the fundamental truth that you have to have order before you can have the luxury of liberty. Second, I realised that the spokesmen of Sinn Fein/IRA seemed too professional for the journalists.

I don't know if they have used image consultants. Between the funding they receive from their entrepreneurial activities - racketeering, bank-robbing and so on - Sinn Fein/IRA can certainly afford them. But I do know they are immensely clever about presentation. Adams's clothes are right; his spectacles are sober without being frumpy; his hair and beard are neatly trimmed.

The words are even more professional, taking me back with a start to the old days of Communist Newspeak. Now it is spoken most fluently by Adams, Martin McGuinness and their many articulate colleagues to persuade liberals in these two islands and in the US that Sinn Fein/IRA is interested in a democratic peace.

For the benefit of those who have failed to do their homework on Provospeak, here are a few translations from recent Adams statements: 'The British government . . . should be saying to the Unionist section of our people, 'your future lies with the rest of the Irish people' ' means 'The British government should rat on the Unionists.'

'Clarification' means 'negotiation'. 'Demilitarisation of the conflict' means 'Brits out'. 'Maximum consent for Unionists' means 'minimum consent for Unionists'. 'Peace' means 'war'.

Should the British broadcasting ban be lifted, now that the Irish have welshed? Probably not. As it stands it is ridiculous, but at least it stops reverential interviews in which apologists for terrorism wipe the floor with their interviewers.

One of the Provos' most effective enemies in southern Ireland, the former senator Professor John Murphy, believes that instead of the present Irish half-way house of insisting on pre-recorded interviews, RTE should go for the jugular.

'These Sinn Fein spokesmen,' he wrote recently, 'should be exposed live to voracious revisionists of whom there is no shortage. I wouldn't mind taking them on myself.' Murphy could do it, because he is part historian, part politician and part boot-boy and he understands the traditional nationalist mentality. I wish I could think of who could do it here.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More From
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower