Workers Party Local Government Election Statement
Some parties would like to make this election about Brexit. Some would like to use it to advance a Border Poll, but the reality is that it’s about neither.
For this election to have any real meaning it must send a message to the main political parties that they have failed to deliver government and governance , and that they continue to fail ordinary people through the rundown of public services, the privatisation of public assets and utilities, the erosion of the public space and the pursuit of corporate business approval.
If we were to call for a second referendum or for a ballot on Irish ‘unity’, we would doubtless attract more media attention, but that is not how the Workers Party sees the current social, economic and political priorities.
Reality of life Nor does it reflect the reality of life for the thousands of people desperately seeking secure well-paid employment, families struggling to find and pay for local childcare or those growing older in an age unfriendly society.
Nor are border polls and ‘people’s votes’ the priority of the thousands of children and their parents living in poverty and low income homes, those on zero hours contracts or the young girls and women who face the monthly indignity of period poverty because, in 21st century Belfast, they cannot afford sanitary products.
Developers’ mindset Nor are attempts to transform our public spaces into homages to corporate America either relevant to or reflective of local life. The recent proposal to name the redeveloped Lower North Street area of Belfast ‘Tribeca’ in deference to an area in Lower Manhattan gives a glimpse into the mindset of the developers and the council alike.
Councils across Northern Ireland should be delivering for local people and acting as advocate and champion for improved housing, better mental health services, introducing a universal living wage, reversing welfare reforms and offering advice, assistance and direction to those in need of support.
A poor second But that has not been the case. Sinn Fein and the DUP have used Belfast Council and its resources to build up their power bases through a sectarian carve up of this city. Poverty, employment, public services and opportunities come a very poor second to bonfire diversion schemes, and the funding of divisive cultural and historical projects.
This city is scarred by poverty, inequality, zero hours contracts, housing crisis and the effects of Sinn Fein and the DUP’s welfare reforms.
The manner in which ordinary people, their lives, their needs and their futures have been abandoned by the main parties is an outrage and a disgrace. It verges on the criminal.
The interests of ordinary people A vote for any of those parties on May 2nd will condemn the ordinary people of this city to yet more hardship, deprivation and suffering. It will also condemn another generation of young people to lives of underachievement and hopelessness. That is the price we all pay for the maintenance of sectarian political elites.
Only a party committed to class politics and the interests of ordinary people can make the kind of changes that are needed to secure a better life for all.
The Workers Party is that party.
The Workers Party s fielding seven candidates: six in Belfast and one in the Mid Ulster area
The Belfast candidates are:
Chris Bailie (Oldpark)
Conor Campbell (Black Mountain)
Paddy Crossan Collin)
Joanne Lowry (Court)
Paddy Lynn (Botanic)
Gemma Weir (Castle)
Hugh Scullion, is representing the party in the Moyola area of Mid Ulster Council