Nelson McCausland: 'Mary Lou should know who built the Berlin Wall ... it was her ‘sister party’, the East German Marxists'
Sinn Fein sits in the European Parliament with successors to the communist regime, says Nelson McCausland
Brexit seems to dominate the news these days and Sinn Fein, anxious to prove their relevance and always ready to exploit any situation, have certainly been busy. They have had their “No Brexit” poster campaigns, their “No Brexit” demonstrations and conferences and even “No Brexit” white-line pickets in west Belfast.
They have also extended their repertoire of activities to include amateur dramatics on the border, with portable customs huts, replica uniforms, replica guns and a fake wall.
Indeed, Mary Lou McDonald even starred in one performance when she appeared on the border wielding a sledgehammer at one of these fake walls.
Meanwhile, Sinn Fein are becoming increasingly strident and shrill in their pronouncements on Brexit and the Sinn Fein president has really excelled herself recently by comparing Brexit to “rebuilding the Berlin Wall”.
Last Thursday, she said: “The idea of reinstating the border on the island of Ireland is almost like suggesting we rebuild the Berlin Wall.”
This drew strong criticism from unionists and Gregory Campbell MP accused Sinn Fein of “shamelessly exploiting border communities for their own electoral advantage, making claims which bear no relation to the facts”.
The truth is that even in the darkest days of the Troubles, when there was a permanent military presence on the border, there was nothing resembling the Berlin Wall and what was there at the time was a proportionate and necessary response to the fact that Sinn Fein’s military wing was exploiting the border to facilitate its terrorist campaign of murder and destruction.
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However, the Sinn Fein president was undeterred by such criticism and she repeated the reference to the Berlin Wall when she spoke to journalists last Sunday.
Now, the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 and Mary Lou McDonald wasn’t born until 1969, but it was in place until 1989, by which time Mary Lou was 20, and we can safely assume that she remembers the wall coming down.
It is, therefore, somewhat surprising that she makes such a particularly bizarre comparison.
The Berlin Wall was a high, continuous concrete wall, built by the communist government of East Germany to prevent its citizens defecting to the West and it was sometimes referred to as the “wall of shame”.
In making such a comparison, the Sinn Fein president was simply escalating the Sinn Fein tactic of scaremongering. Her comments certainly did not go down too well at home and I have heard few people rushing to her defence.
Nevertheless, she has spoken twice about the Berlin Wall and seems quite content with her comparison. Indeed, a week has passed since she first used it and yet she seems not to have picked up on the irony of her words.
In the European Parliament, political parties form themselves into groups and Sinn Fein is a member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left.
This group is made up of a variety of socialist and communist parties, from counties across the EU, including the German party Die Linke (The Left).
You might imagine, then, that Mary Lou would know something about the history of her German “sister party”, especially since her reference to the Berlin Wall, but I am left wondering.
Die Linke was founded as a merger of two parties, one with its roots in Eastern Germany and one with its roots in Western Germany and that’s where we come back to the Berlin Wall.
The eastern partner in the merger was the Party of Democratic Socialism, the legal successor to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the communist party, which ruled East Germany from 1946 to 1989 as a brutal one-party state and the party which built the Berlin Wall.
So, when Mary Lou McDonald talks about the notorious Berlin Wall, it is worth remembering that Sinn Fein’s “sister party” is the legal successor of the Communist Party that actually built the monstrous wall.