Extend the deadline – pressurise the parties

stormontThe Workers Party has condemned the failure of the DUP and Sinn Fein to form a new Executive.

In their approach to the talks both parties have once again been irresponsible, arrogant and contemptuous. The folly of re-electing them is now blatantly obvious.

There are issues to be addressed but they can and must be overcome.

For devolution to continue there needs to be a root and branch reform of the Assembly structures.

At a minimum we need to move on from mandatory coalition, abolish community designation requirements and reform the Petition of Concern ensuring that it can never used to veto social or equality issues.

While the Workers Party knows that the problem of inequality and exploitation must be tackled at its root by eradicating the current economic system and constructing a socialist society, many of the outstanding requirements of the Good Friday Agreement which have been deliberately set aside must be introduced if devolved government is to continue to function. 

These include a Bill of Rights, Integrated Education, an Anti-Poverty Strategy, a viable Economic Plan and a Job Creation Strategy.

The Secretary of State should now extend the talks deadline and those who voted for these parties should bring pressure to bear on them to form a functioning Executive.

Strengthening resolve the only response


Nationalism – British and Irish – trades on fear, division and separation

The prospects for social, political and economic progress in Northern Ireland may have been set back for at least a generation.

That is the stark reality facing the citizens of Northern Ireland after Thursday’s poll.

The results of the Assembly election have confirmed  British and Irish nationalism as the dominant political force here.

Nationalism of any sort  is never progressive.

It is always  insular, small minded and ultimately conservative – despite its claims to the contrary.

No Different                                                                                                     The Sinn Fein / DUP Coalition  which led the last Executive borrowed millions of pounds to make 20,000 public servants redundant, it slashed public services, it planned to give tax breaks to multi-national companies and it bottled its opportunity to stand up to a devastating programme of welfare reform. Their next coalition will be no different.

When discussions around a new Executive begin this week, jobs, health, education, housing and deepening sectarian division won’t even be on the agenda.

There are more than 100,000 children in Northern Ireland living on or below the poverty line, 15,000 people are officially classed as homeless and the average wage is less than it was ten years ago.  There is a crisis in education, health and social care. Which of the parties likely to participate in the Executive, will be prioritising these issues?  Where are the proposals, the strategies and the emergency plans to meet the real and immediate needs of working people?

Nationalism , British and Irish,  trades on fear, division and separation. We have seen that to our cost and we have seen what results. Nationalism attracts all classes to its cause, though for different reasons.
A new DUP /Sinn Fein Coalition will be formed at some stage but it will not be to the benefit of the disadvantaged, the dispossessed or the downtrodden in our society. Ironically, it will not even be to the advantage of the vast majority of people who were duped into voting for it.

Smoke and Mirrors                                                                                                            The “negotiations” in the coming weeks will be all smoke and mirrors.   They will attempt to convey an impression of progress but will, in reality, do nothing more than consolidate  the position of each sectarian bloc at the expense of ordinary working people in Northern Ireland.

But it will also confirm that the radical, class-based analysis of the Workers Party and its demand for the Socialist Alternative presented in its manifesto is more relevant, more pertinent and more urgent than ever.

Nationalism, conservatism and capitalism will not go away of their own accord. They must be dispatched. That is the task we have taken on.  Election results will not diminish our resolve.


Before you vote…

wp-ballot-boxDuring this election campaign the main parties have traded on sectarian fears and tribal instincts in an attempt to maximise their votes.

To our cost, we have seen what that produces.

If you look beyond the bigoted agenda of Sinn Fein and the DUP the reality of life for ordinary people in Northern Ireland is hard and getting harder.

There are more than 100,000 children living in poverty.

Averages wages are lower than ten years ago.

We have the second highest level of workless households of all regions in the UK and at least 15,000 people are officially homeless.

        That is the legacy of successive Assemblies and the contribution of the  DUP /Sinn Fein Coalition. 

There is also a crisis in education, health and social care.  There are cutbacks to social welfare. Funding to culture and the arts has been very significantly reduced.

In every aspect of social, economic, cultural and community life working class people have been subjected to public expenditure cuts, marginalisation and exclusion.

To vote for the parties responsible for this and let them do the same thing again makes no sense at all.

That is why we need a Socialist Alternative.

That is what the Workers Party brings to this election.

The Workers Party is standing candidates  in the following constituencies

Belfast North: Gemma Weir

Belfast South: Lily Kerr

Belfast West: Conor Campbell

Mid Ulster: Hugh Scullion

Upper Bann: Colin Craig

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