Letter of the day: How can a supposedly Left-wing party like SF find its soulmate in austerity-loving Fine Gael?
Letter of the day: fake socialism
HAVE some people in west Belfast lost the plot, or do they just blindly copy whatever Sinn Fein does?
Along with a number of colleagues, I attended the launch of the 30th West Belfast Festival (Feile) in St Mary's College on the Falls Road.
I was shocked, but not totally surprised, when Leo Varadkar was given a standing and enthusiastic ovation by the audience as he entered the room. The applause and adulation was led by Sinn Fein MLAs, TDs, councillors and party members.
Why is it that a party, some of whose members claim to be on the Left, publicly fawn over a conservative, Right-wing austerity advocate and supporter of "fiscal rectitude" (that's cuts to public services to you and me)?
Is it because Sinn Fein is really no more than a populist party that jumps on passing bandwagons irrespective of who's driving them?
Is it just another photo-opportunity - I lost count of the number of selfies Sinn Fein members tried to take with the Taoiseach - or is it a clue to a future coalition in the Republic? My money is on the latter.
Despite their rhetoric about being the people's party, their flaunting of fake socialist credentials and their radical persona, Sinn Fein has probably found its soulmate in Fine Gael.
Leo Varadkar was a minister in the Fine Gael government throughout the period it agreed and implemented the European Troika's austerity package.
That resulted in youth unemployment of more than 30%, house repossessions, cuts to public services, wage freezes, tax increases, lower benefits and the forced emigration of 300,000 (mostly young) people.
Now, what is there to applaud about that?
Perhaps Sinn Fein is more comfortable with that type of politics than it pretends.
Springfield Road, Belfast