Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein shows its Nazi side

The website of the youth wing of Sinn Fein features a mock-up picture of DUP man Gregory Campbell depicting him as a Nazi in full Third Reich regalia.

Bearing in mind that during the Second World War, it was actually Sinn Fein and the IRA who were aligned with the Nazis, irony is obviously not a strong point with Ógra Shinn Féin.

Elsewhere on the same site there’s reference to the ‘genocide’ (their word) by Israeli forces in Gaza.

There are details of ‘Solidarity with Palestine’ rallies being held all over the place by Sinn Fein Youth.

And an update on this weekend’s jollities by the Newcastle branch of Republican Youth which will include an excursion to Narrow Water near Warrenpoint where 18 soldiers were murdered by the IRA in a double booby trap bomb attack in August, 1979. (On the same date in Co Sligo the IRA also murdered 79-year-old Lord Mountbatten, an 82-year-old woman and two boys aged 14 and 15. No word if the group are planning a similar jaunt to the scene of that atrocity.)

Among Sinn Fein representatives taking part in the weekend is Education Minister, Caitriona Ruane.

This has the full blessing of HQ in other words. Responding to criticism of the Narrow Water event from local MLA Jim Wells, the Sinn Fein site asserts: “Mr Wells needs to realise that republicans fought a justifiable war against the British war machine here in Ireland, just as the Palestinian people are currently doing in Gaza.”

Ah, Gaza.

The Sinn Fein Youth website can certainly not be accused of ambivalence on that issue.

But what of Sinn Fein itself? What of Gerry?

Times like these have to be particularly tricky for Gerry, international man of mystery that he is.

On one hand he wants to ‘show solidarity with the people of Gaza’.

But interestingly he’s not exactly been shouting from the rooftops about it.

Could this be anything to do with the fact that many of the movers and shakers he so enjoys having his picture taken with in New York and Washington are actually currently showing their solidarity with Israel?

Take for example New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who this week visited the Israeli city of Ashkelon, target of Hamas rockets.

He told locals: “New Yorkers know what terrorism is all about. If we were threatened in New York, we would do everything in our power to protect our citizens.”

Back here on Monday, Sinn Fein politicians will be showing a different sort of ‘solidarity’.

On the steps of Stormont Sinn Fein MLAs (including Gerry?) will gather for what’s described as a ‘simple expression of solidarity with the people of Gaza.’

What is interesting about Sinn Fein statements on the current Middle East crisis is how carefully worded they are.

No out-and-out backing of Hamas. But you do get where the sympathies lie. (The Republican movement, after all, has long had links with the terrorist Hamas.) So why not spell this out? Doubtless its down to the fact that in the current climate flagging up your links with terrorist groupings is not the smartest way to make powerful friends in the US.

Back on this side of the pond, meanwhile, a revamp of the party hierarchy is being interpreted as evidence of Sinn Fein aiming to up its appeal to voters in the Republic — the promotion of Mary Lou McDonald in particular. (Since Mary Lou was all over the show anyway during the last election it’s hard to see how much of a difference this will make.)

The move from Ourselves Alone to ‘all things to all men’ may indeed be tricky enough to pull off.

For the problem is that people do have long memories.

Aside obviously from the graphic artists of Sinn Fein Youth ...

Nice work Gordon, if you can get it

Another week, another bank rate cut. But what difference will it really make?

The big problem for Gordon Brown and his government is that despite the billions they are throwing around in a desperate bid to shore up the economy, in individual terms it doesn’t actually amount to much.

What impacts with ordinary punters is not that they get 50p off in VAT when they spend 25 quid in the shops or that the latest slashing on interest rates could mean savings on the mortgage — if the banks/building societies actually bother to pass it on.

It’s news day-after-day of yet more shocking job losses.

Further up the food chain where well-heeled government ministers and their cronies in the national media live, credit crunch translates as possibly having to think about selling the holiday home. Back in the real world, however, it involves the gut wrenching implications of losing your entire source of income. And with it possibly the roof over your family’s head.

For many still in work there’s also the very real dread of what the months ahead have in store. Which business will be next?

Gordon’s problem is that neither he nor his government appear to be connecting with real people and their concerns about their |future. It’s all about fiscal policy. Not about fellow feeling.

Ditto with many in the media.

The report this week about how a BBC radio station broadcast a ‘comedy skit’ about over 1,200 job losses in M&S just about sums it up. The item was a take-off of the M&S food ad — not terribly sophisticated humour. But as critics have pointed out it highlights once again the lack of empathy, never mind sympathy, within the smug echelons of the public-funded Beeb.

But then for many within that organisation and within the government this is not any old credit crunch.

This is a nicely cushioned, all-expenses-paid, not-much-chance-of-them-losing-their-jobs credit crunch.

Cleethorpes? Give aliens some credit

Have aliens finally landed on earth? Just south of Cleethorpes ?

Evidence this week — one badly pranged wind turbine seemingly clipped by an incoming spaceship. UFO experts who are poring over pics of a strange glow in the sky captured around the time of impact are certainly excited. Although an elderly resident of the rural area where the incident took place has expressed some scepticism. “I hope that one day we will see aliens, but I doubt it will happen in that field.”

Still. There are calls for the buckled turbine to be forensically examined for ‘residue’ which may have come from little green men. Or their galactic craft.

The local council chief (presumably tongue-in-cheek) commented: ‘When I heard what had happened I was slightly worried so I've called for a full health and safety review,' adding, ‘If the aliens are coming, I want to be there to meet and greet them.'

Health and safety regulations, recession, terrible weather and the threat of a local council reception. You can see why, even with their craft holed, no visiting alien would actually want to touch down in Britain 2009.

Ulrika really has Big Brother in her pocket

At the time of writing the Big Brother eviction has not taken place. But up for the public vote this week have been Lucy Pinder glamour model and Ulrika Jonsson the show’s most highly paid ‘star’.

Lucy has had another Star in her corner.

The tabloid newspaper has been urging its readers this week to vote for the Page Three favourite.

Eviction for Ulrika may come as a gunk. But a reported £175,000 pay cheque tends to take the sting out of these things.

Who says winner takes it all?

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