There has been much comment recently about Gerry Adams recent responses to questions on the economy. His opponents say that his inability to provide the answers to simple questions on child benefit & VAT rates show he is not knowledgeable enough to provide economic leadership. His supporters say that he doesn't need to know the minutiae of the economy to be able to offer an alternative.
Whilst I agree in principle that being able to recall certain facts and figures doesn't disqualify someone as competent in a field, I think in Adams case it highlights to the electorate a certain ignorance of the situation that is wholly unacceptable in someone who is, at least technically, a candidate for premiership.
Gerry Adams has been, with some justification, hailed as a brilliant political campaigner. Unfortunately for him he made the cardinal sin of not being prepared. This led to him sounding like a blow in, a tag which his opponents are going to do their best to make stick. Sinn Fein, in my eyes, are actually offering a real economic alternative to the people of Ireland (though it may not be one I entirely agree with). Whilst Adams ignorance of Child Benefit rates or VAT rates don't have an impact on the validity of SF's economic agenda, they have a massive impact on his chances of implementing it.
That is the issue at hand and that is why he has been so derided.