There can be barely a political movement in Europe as profoundly hypocritical as Sinn Fein.
Take two key parts of its outlook:
First, its attitude to human rights and openness about the past. A party that cloaks itself in the language of rights slyly defends one of Europe’s worst rights abusing groups since World War II: sectarian murder, kangaroo courts, shooting dead suspected informers after torture, bombing towns, robbing banks, sowing hate.
A party that demands full past accountability of the British state, and demands that security sensitive files are opened (getting assistance in such calls from some fools in positions of authority) remains so secretive about its own record that Gerry Adams is a laughing stock for still denying that he was even in an IRA everyone believes he helped to lead.
Second, there is Sinn Fein’s approach to fiscal probity and public finances. A party that lectures about DUP funding has lavish and shady finances. It was given special dispensation to get Westminster allowances despite not taking its seats, in one of many capitulations to Sinn Fein by UK governments.
But just as bad as its hypocrisy over its own finances is it hypocrisy over the national accounts: a party that furiously resists any efforts to trim Britain’s extraordinary generosity to Northern Ireland then is soft on people in places such as South Armagh who engage in fuel laundering – ie on tax cheats who make money by defrauding the exchequer.
So while everyone else has to pay high fuel duty to help fund a government that pumps out cash, as SF demands, it expects its chums to be exempt from contributing – a reason it opposed a National Crime Agency.
Michelle O’Neill spoke warmly of terrorists last week, but ultimately she is not responsible for her IRA relatives or fuel laundering cousin. But given the overall picture of Sinn Fein, it is hard to have faith in the party’s basic integrity, let alone its right to pontificate on matters small and large.