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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Looking over the wall with rose-tinted spectacles

If you have never heard of him, Seumas Milne is a Guardian columnist and associate editor, and frequent writer of over the top political articles of a nature that would have been familiar to readers of the Morning Star.

This week Seumas has manage to out do himself once again. This time it is on the subject ofEast Germany before the Berlin Wall came down. According to Seumas, the German Democratic Republic wasn't all it was made out to be in the West. In fact it was a "country of full employment, social equality, cheap housing, transport and culture, one of the best childcare systems in the world, and greater freedom in the workplace than most employees enjoy in today's Germany."

Yup, pull the other one Seumas. It was the home of the Trabant and the Wartburg at a time when their western cousins were producing Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, Volkswagens and Porsches. It was also the home of the Stasi. Please remind us how many West Germans were shot trying to escape to the East.

Not that you would have appreciated that because while East Germans suffered oppression from the communists that you revered, you were growing up in a large house on Holland Park Avenue, sent to a prep school in leafy Kent and followed your father (DG of the BBC) and elder brother to Winchester College (current fees £27,405 per annum) and then to Balliol College, Oxford.

Not exactly a man of the people, when he was a young man he thought it was perfectly acceptable to where a lapel badge celebrating Mao Tse Tung, even after Mao had been responsible for the public execution of millions of landlords in the 1950's, the oppression of political opponents in the three-anti/five-anti campaigns and the Yan'an Rectification Movement, and the maladministration an appropriation of grain for party cadres that led to the Great Chinese Famine and millions of deaths.

But familiarity with reality was never a prerequisite for politicians on the left.

1 comment:

Demetrius said...

Perhaps he was just an impressionable youngster. At the time I recall BBC sporting pundits urging Britain to model itself on that of East Germany, as well as others who thought that East German planning was a model for the future. Quite a few such youngsters found their way into New Labour.