The clear and unambiguous capitulation from Sinn Féin in their predicted embracing of brutal Tory austerity measures deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms by Socialists, Republicans and all concerned with preserving basic dignity for working class people of the Six counties.
Thatcherite attacks on the poor and marginalised are nothing new for the working people of the North, yet in past years some comfort was taken from the fact that it was the enemies of Irish Freedom (not those who claim to endorse liberty) who led the charge to take the shoes from our children’s feet.
Sinn Fein’s characteristic spin on the so called ‘Fresh Start’ dripping as it is with subterfuge and notably lacking in specifics, will allow them to sell their actions to the gullible for a while.
But facts remain much as they were in February when that party announced that they could not accept a ‘Financial support’ figure of £565 Million over five years (a woefully insufficient amount) to cover for the poverty inducing damage which would befall all those families stripped of DLA, Carers Allowance and various Disability Premiums.
Today Sinn Féin have said yes to the above but with a mild adjustment of the calculation, a non change in real terms for families who will be plunged into despair. The package – which we are told will offset the damage – amounts to little more than is shelled out by the social fund in a given year, on crisis loans, budgeting loans and community care grants. Attempts to sell this figure as a credible means of off-setting the ravages of a wholesale Tory attack on the above named vital benefits, should be treated with the contempt they deserve.
The fact is, there is no way of predicting the immensity of the financial damage which will now be inflicted on the vulnerable. Savage and unfair assessment procedures introduced by the Tories in Britain will decide who falls victim to the process. This is predicted by state sources to be at around 25%, the IRSP predict that financial casualties will be much higher and the appearance of a panel based method of shelling out temporary compensation in return will be a woeful substitute for what had been a safety net for the vulnerable.
Lack of clarity in the ‘Fresh Start’ document about what exactly is meant by ‘Fraud and error’ can only lead the open minded to believe that the horrific measures of victimisation and petty sanctioning – which in England has heralded in the era of food banks and poverty induced suicide – will also befall working class people in the six counties in epic proportions as it has across the water. Hints in the document at a warding off of the sanctioning process remain to be clarified, and in the meantime observers can only prepare for the worst.
For any who doubt that SF are complicit in a full scale ideological attack on the marginalised poor, we need only look financially at how the oppressive forces of the state fare from this deal in comparison to marginalised citizens of the working class. It is quite clear where the priorities of the state lie in this so called ‘Fresh Start’, neither with victims nor the oppressed but with political policing and the armed wing of Tory rule in Ireland.
Let us be in no doubt that the door has been opened to a wave of cruel and vicious attacks on working class families, reflective of the deep ingrained hatred for the poor which exists in the heart of every Tory politician. Tragically they didn’t open that door themselves; they had it opened for them, in servant like fashion by the former revolutionaries of Sinn Féin, and for the sake of maintaining positions of power and relevance, along with the perks and privileges that come with the posts of career politicians.
SF may argue that in the circumstances they had no choice but to swallow the pill which the Tories were forcing down their throats. This being the case the IRSP in turn poses the question, what is the point in the Sinn Féin project?
The Sinn Féin project has not forwarded the concept or prospect of Irish Unity. It has not ended (merely repackaged) the oppressive features of the British State in Ireland. And now it has been seen to accommodate the worst ravages of Tory Social planning, leaving the business class the winners and the Working class the losers.
Better that Stormont had fallen forever, than the finger prints of Irish Republicanism be found near such a dirty deal.
We take this opportunity to call on the working class people of the Six Counties and indeed in all of Ireland to utilise frustration and anger felt at Austerity measures and to channel that anger into the building of a credible working class alternative, to capitalism, cronyism and to the ongoing negative impact of Imperialism in Ireland.