NATO warships not welcome

NATO flotilla

NATO wars have left hundreds of thousands dead and injured

The Workers Party has condemned the presence of a flotilla NATO warships in Belfast this weekend as  ‘a blatant propaganda stunt to normalise the ugly face of war’.

The force includes vessels from the navies of Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

NATO is an aggressive military alliance representing the extension of US military power and acting exclusively in the interests of imperialism. The history of NATO cannot be separated from the history of foreign interference in the affairs of other nations and war. NATO promotes the militarisation of Europe, the continuation of the arms race and increases the threat of war and nuclear terror.

It urges all member states to increase military spending to at least 2% of GDP at a time when those states should be spending money on hospital, education and the welfare of their people.

NATO’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya have left hundreds of thousands dead and injured; destroyed these countries’ infrastructure and worsened the lives of millions of ordinary working people. Millions of people have been forced to become refugees and flee their homes in search of a safe place for them and their families to live.

The presence of such a force in Belfast is a matter for shame. No to war and aggression! No to NATO!

Free, safe, legal and accessible

Rally for Choice 141017

Party members joined the ‘Rally for Choice’  in Belfast city centre this afternoon as part of the ongoing campaign to secure the provision of  free, safe, legal and accessible abortion services in Northern Ireland.

The Assembly has refused repeatedly to act on this issue and it is a tragic irony that as ‘equality’ forms part of the new Assembly talks process, women’s equality is not even on the agenda.

The five main parties at Stormont do not trust women.

The Workers Party believes in a woman’s right to choose and supports the provision of free, safe, legal and accessible abortion in her own country including practical facilities to support women seeking an abortion and quality post-abortion care.

‘Conversations about Choice’

Conversations about ChoiceWomen in Northern Ireland don’t have a right to abortion services. That right, available in England Scotland and Wales, continues to be denied to women in Northern Ireland by the major parties at Stormont. Quite simply they don’t trust women to make choices about their own fertility.

How do those who do trust women move that debate on? How do we counter the often vitriolic attacks of the right-wing, the moral hypocrisy of churches and the often misinformed opinions of ordinary people. How do we engage in the conversation about a woman’s right to choose?

That was the subject of a Party run workshop in Belfast earlier today. Group work, scenarios, mock media interviews and role plays helped to highlight many of the issues involved, present solutions to problems and identify techniques for engaging in informed and rational debate – even when that is not reciprocated.

The workshop preceded a Rally for Choice held in Belfast City centre – see above.

Health Inequalities remain the big issue

Heallth continuum

Health & social care must remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery

Workers Party representatives have addressed  all five of today’s Health and Social Care Board Meetings in Belfast, Downpatrick, Craigavon, Derry and Ballymena.
Party representatives criticised the ‘shambolic and cynical way’ in which the Department of Health released an additional £40 million of funding just days after the end of a public consultation on cuts to services, saying ‘…it is either gross incompetence or cynical political manipulation to call for cuts to services while knowingly sitting on millions of pounds of available money’ .
They also attacked the privatisation of services and identified the eradication of health inequalities as a major priority

Principles                                                                                                               The Party’s statement to Trust Boards emphasised the need for health and social care to remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery.  ‘These principles are far from safe and secure’ the statement said.

Health inequalities, most notably in working class communities, continue to be the biggest determinant of our health and well-being yet are largely ignored in health care planning.

‘We cannot continue to privatise community care and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and the system go into melt down’.

Halting privatisation                                                                                         There must be an end to “creeping privatisation”, to the outsourcing of health services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged. The Workers Party believes that a properly funded health service designed to deliver quality health outcomes is central to a humane and decent society.

 Engagement                                                                                                     ‘There must be direct democratic engagement with working people, both as patients and users of the service as well as the workers who deliver the service and their trade union representatives’, the Party said.

‘This is the only way to develop a cohesive health and social care strategy, including community care, which tackles existing health inequalities and accords a proper level of funding to meet the needs of all citizens.

A Party delegation will also be addressing the Health and Social Care Board meeting on Tuesday 17th October