Irish left has less in common with Syriza than either group wants to believe
Greece's new government looks sharp and smart. They dress well, look cool. It can be hard to tell from a distance, but when you hear them being portrayed as the Mediterranean equivalents of Paul Murphy and Clare Daly, you have to wonder what people are on.
Sometimes you wonder, too, if they can be as sharp as they appear. In his election victory speech 10 days ago, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras predicted the rise of anti-austerity politics around Europe - what with Podemos in Spain and Sinn Féin in Ireland, he said.
Tsipras came here during last year's local and European elections and went briefly out on the campaign trail with Sinn Féin. You would think he'd have taken the time to check out his hosts. Had he done so, he'd have discovered that Sinn Féin has for several years being implementing, as part of the Northern Ireland Executive, precisely the policies it decries in the Republic. Under the headings of education, health, agriculture, pensions, workfare and privatisation, Sinn Féin, in collaboration with the DUP, has been implementing the kind of austerity programme that Syriza has described as "anti-European" and "anti-democratic", deciding which schools and A&E departments should be closed, which jobs should go.