Archive for November, 2010

The Big Society: A Recipe for Disaster?

November 30, 2010

The Tories – and their Lib Dem lapdogs – are seeking to return the UK to the Victorian age: except without the workhouse, which would cost too much in their eyes. So we see the idea that the state can be rolled back, and replaced with private charities. Obviously not all charities are as badly run as this one, but it is an example of what can happen when you run things on a private basis, even with the best of intentions. The state must keep doing what only it can do reliably. We must protect the welfare state against the ConDem onslaught.


My Kind of Bishop

November 23, 2010

Having avoided the obvious gag in the headline, I would like to record how impressed I am by the Anglican Bishop of Willesden (wherever the hell that is), Pete Broadbent, who took great delight in having a go at all the hype about the announcement that some sinecure having RAF officer is to marry some wee girl who he partly wooed by going for a joyride in public property to her house, namely a Chinook. Try going up to Aldegrove to get a Chinook to impress your girlfriend and see how far that gets you.

Anyway, the Bishop outed himself as a republican on his facebook page, which I can’t find.

He wrote: “Need to work out what date in the spring or summer I should be booking my republican day trip to France.”
He went on to say: “I think we need a party in Calais for all good republicans who can’t stand the nauseating tosh that surrounds this event.

“I managed to avoid the last disaster in slow motion between Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll, and hope to avoid this one too.”
He said the wedding should belong to the family, as opposed to becoming “national flim-flam” paid for by tax payers. And he criticised the media for descending into “fawning deferential nonsense”.

I hope he remembers to invite the rest of us to his party. Sounds perfect.

As for the media reaction and his apology, entirely predictable. But fair play to him in the first place.

November 19th – 212th Anniversary of Wolfe Tone’s Death

November 19, 2010

The following is a statement by The Workers’ Party on the current situation in the Republic on the anniversary of Theobald Wolfe Tone’s death.

Theobald Wolfe Tone, the father of anti-sectarian Irish Republicanism, died on the 19th November 1798. Today (Friday) is his 212th anniversary.

Today is also the day on which Fianna Fáil, the loudly self-proclaimed Republican Party, totally have surrendered the last vestige of meaningful republicanism.

Since their return to power in 1997 Fianna Fáil have run this country in the interests of bankers and speculators. When the Celtic Tiger property bubble inevitably burst two years ago, Fianna Fáil immediately went to the aid of the banking-speculator axis. Since that time they have ruthlessly cut wages, slashed services, and borrowed internationally, to support this failed strategy.

The freedom to decide our own budget is one of the basic cornerstones of a sovereign state. Today, with the arrival of the second tranche of the IMF heavy-gang that freedom disappeared. No matter what way it is glossed over, the Irish Finance Minister will, for the foreseeable future dance to an IMF tune. The voice which delivers the budget speech may well be Irish, but the script will be all New York.

The surrender of our sovereignty is an insult to every Irish person. The lies and verbal contortions of FF ministers over the last week is a further insult to the people. The co-incidence of these events on the anniversary of Wolfe Tone is an insult too far. Tone, in his time knew that to trust the fate of the country in a rich elite would lead to disaster, and in his own words, stated: “Our independence must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not support us, they must fall; we can support ourselves by the aid of that numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property”.

Now, more than ever, the Workers’ Party calls on the men and women of no property, the Irish working class, to unite to defend our interests, protect our resources and promote a decent future for ourselves and for our children.

Harney Cancels Christmas

November 15, 2010

NI Welfare Budget to be Slashed – What will our Politicians do?

November 10, 2010

UTV is reporting that the welfare budget in NI faces cuts of up to £450m. Cuts in welfare spending are made up of the likes of the following

Changes because of the spending cuts include: child benefits frozen for three years from April; Job Seekers Allowance claimants losing entitlement to the support for mortgage interest scheme if they have been on benefits for two years; housing benefit reduced by a tenth from April 2013 if a claimant has been on the benefit; and a compulsory medical examination for all new and existing working age DLA claimants from 2013.

NI is more dependent on state spending and social welfare than other regions of the UK, and dependence within NI varies immensely. West Belfast, for example, is much more dependent upon social welfare than north Down. In other words, these cuts have the potential to do serious damage to entire communities, communities that are already among the most deprived and that have the most social problems in western Europe.

These are also the communities that tend to vote most heavily in favour of the two leading lights of the NI Executive, the DUP and PSF. What will these parties do? It’s already clear from the statements of Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson that the DUP is embracing the cuts agenda. Their nationalist counterparts on the other hand are being more coy, blaming British Tories, and presenting themselves as fairly powerless to do anything about them. Are they?

The UTV report points out that if the local politicians refuse to make the cuts, then they will probably just be made at Westminster before the money arrives in NI. That is one option. Another is to refuse to administer the cuts, and collapse the executive. Creating a crisis of this magnitude would force the Tory-LibDem coalition to think seriously about what it was doing. Our politicians are of course far too self-interested and enjoy the exercise of power too much to do this. Instead they are much more likely to administer the cuts while blaming the Tories and LibDems. Who of course deserve a great deal of blame, but we need only look at Wilson’s attitude towards the trade union demos and McGuinness’s praise for PFI to see that they mightn’t be all that far out of step with the locals.