Sinn Fein aligns itself with economic illiteracy and chaos

Morning View
Morning View

Sinn Fein is playing a high stakes game in associating so closely with the Greek government.

The republican party is clearly calculating that Syriza will succeed in its guerilla tactics against the rest of the EU.

Sinn Fein might – just might – have made the right calculation, in the limited sense that Greece could yet hang on as a member of the eurozone, given the reluctance of the EU establishment to see a country pushed out of the single currency, thus threatening the very existence of the currency.

But Sinn Fein and its MEP Martina Anderson would be mistaken to read too much into the cheers that met Alexis Tsipras, on his arrival at the European Parliament yesterday (Ms Anderson was there to greet him as he took up his place, making sure that she and her party were seen to be among the most staunch supporters of Greece).

There is a growing sense of impatience towards Greece in the rest of the EU, particularly in the wealthy, dominant north.

Even if it does survive in the euro, the reckless expenditure and corruption in Athens, with which Sinn Fein seems so keen to associate itself, will be brought to an end.

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is still resisting debt write-offs, as wanted by Greece. But even so, she is facing a possible backlash from backbenchers in her party who want her to be tougher still with Syriza.

Syriza’s foolish tactics are not going to win significant reforms. They may have already set in chain a motion of events that will lead to a Grexit, in which case parties such as Podemos in Spain and Sinn Fein will not be able to bask in victory, but will be associated with economic illiteracy and chaos.

In Britain, a political party that won victory despite the much-criticised austerity, yesterday passed its first standalone budget since 1996. Voters in much of northern Europe, and quite possibly next year in the Republic too, are showing scepticism of those politicians who think the money can be spent as if it comes from a tap.