Letter: Sinn Fein has a long history of abstentionism yet it calls on others to end their boycott
Anyone who knows the history of Sinn Fein of course cannot help but notice the hypocrisy in this.
Sinn Fein has a long history of abstentionism – it was once an ideological principle of the party that it used to distinguish itself from moderate nationalists.
Sinn Fein elected representatives throughout various points in history boycotted Stormont and even the Dail.
Even today, its MPs still do not take their seats at Westminster.
Sinn Fein would argue that its MPs do not take their seats at Westminster because of long-standing republican ideology and that some of their voters vote for them because of this.
Yet, listening to the Sinn Fein president’s speech, the party says it is “ready to lead.”
Sinn Fein could perhaps consider leading change in an archaic republican principle that is more symbolic than anything else as the party participates in the British political system in other ways.
Arguably if Sinn Fein did this, it would remove a legitimate talking point that comes up every general election.
However, it is doubtful if Sinn Fein MPs ever will take their seats at Westminster as they will not want to alienate some of their voters.
In the meantime, we will have to listen to Sinn Fein calling on others to end their boycott while it has a long history of abstentionism itself that still continues to this day in its MPs not taking their seats in the Commons.
Michael Palmer, Newtownards