Sean Mallory on Sinn Fein dissembling over austerity. Sean Mallory is a Tyrone republican.
- "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - A phrase sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point.
In September 1945, US president, Harry S Truman addressed the US Congress and building on former US president F D Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’, presented a 21-point program of domestic legislation that would develop the domestic American economy whilst simultaneously promoting social welfare for the American people. By 1949 this had become known under Truman’s presidency as the ‘Fair Deal’.
Over the next 4 years, the various major intrinsic components of his Fair Deal was consistently and consecutively slapped down by a conservative Congress – mostly made up of Truman’s Democrats. A few minor and insignificant policies did get through which kept the liberals among the Democrats happy but the programs over all intension was a failure with those minor successes having little impact on either the American economy or the social welfare of the American people.
Post-the Northern Ireland Trouble’s years - take your choice of what year that actually began - a reversal of roles and intensions existed where the ruling party at Britain’s Westminster, the Conservative Tory party, found that its intended program of domestic welfare cuts was stalled i.e., yet to be implemented, in Northern Ireland because of the opposition of both Irish Nationalist parties within the British Stormont Assembly.
All Unionist parties, inclusive of Alliance, supported the Tory welfare cuts to varying degrees. The only parties standing between the welfare of the people and these cuts were the SDLP and SF. Both parties publicly announced that they would not be moving until the welfare of the most vulnerable was secured and that that could only be achieved by receiving extra funding from the Tory government. The Tory response was simply there is no more money to be had.
And so, for a few years, a stalemate began that was eventually exacerbated and supplanted by the murder of Kevin McGuigan: not actually the apprehension of his murderers but the idea that his murderers were still in existence as a paramilitary force.
And whose murder itself ironically in turn untied the hands of the PSNI and solved the murder of Jock Davidson.
Several months later and after weeks of petty squabbling, cosmetically dressed up as negotiations, between the DUP and SF, an agreement emerged and was subsequently passed over to the UUP, Alliance and the SDLP to give it their seal of approval irrespective of any concerns they should raise. The agreement was termed as a ‘Fresh Start’. A term that will endear the McGuigan and Davidson family to it no doubt!
An agreement that when the dust of euphoria settled revealed just what was in store for the vulnerable of Northern Ireland. Minor and insignificant elements were pushed to the fore:
- A series of initiatives concerning the existence of para-militarism and criminality (they should ask Jonathan Powell about that), operating both sides of the British border. Mainly to publicly appease the hard-line Unionists/Loyalists and for Charlie Flanagan to politically score points against SF.
- £60 million plus for peace wall groups who are usually made up of talent-less people with no more vision than that of a bat. But, which should delight and keep the recently formed Loyalist Council Group for Racketeering happy for several years. This begs the question of Powell’s support last week for bringing criminal loyalists in from the dark and their reference to ‘help’ spelt as funding?
But major aspects of the deal when scrutinised or analysed more closely came up short:
- The fact that under EU regulations it will automatically lead to the subtraction of up to £400m out of the Westminster block grant. And the potential to recuperate this loss through inward investment is highly unlikely according to economic general opinion. Especially so, when we consider the tax avoidance schemes most corporate companies openly employ and the recent unethical and immoral circumstances surrounding the NAMA affair. Who do we trust to govern such tax collections?
But these silly notions shouldn’t detract from the ability of the people of Norn Iron to set their own corporate tax rate. A right that they truly deserve. Besides the corporate party donors will be rubbing their hands at the prospects of having an extra 7.5% in their accounts and to which they have absolutely no intention of investing!
And currently the most important about face ever in Irish politics by any particular party. A much more brazenfaced u-turn than that expressed by the LibDems on university fees.
- The complete duplicitous and deceitful stance by SF when they, like another infamous historical person who had another famous Being crucified, washed their hands of the responsibility of Tory welfare cuts and returned the power to Westminster to implement the cuts post haste. Perfidious Sinn Fein rather than perfidious Albion! And like the LibDems, SF attempted to justify their stance by claiming that they had secured enough monies to lessen the impact of the cuts. Something that Steven Agnew of the Green party disagreed with when he described it as a con resulting in a reshuffling/repackaging of an existing hardship fund of existing monies. In reality no new money for welfare at all - Irish News 24/11/2015
Belfast council SF leader Jim McVeigh spoke his defiance on corporation tax and at first it would seem against the party whip, by stating that it wouldn’t be implemented if it cost services for the people .... just as we were told the Tory welfare cuts wouldn’t be implemented too if it cost services for the people! Maybe it wasn’t against the party whip after all but fully in line with the Party’s 'Deceit' policy!
The globally renowned international broadsheet, Andersontown News, SF advocate and stalwart of all things Adams, went through some metamorphic process over the weekend after digesting a reality pill and also incredibly, blasted (well, at least breathed heavily!) SF over its support for the Tory welfare cuts as a sell out to the people. Incredible, considering Máirtin O’Muilleoir, SF MLA and former SF mayor of Belfast, is a director on the board of the paper.
Is the backlash from the electorate so severe that SF is reeling from the pain? Or could it that that auld Trotskyite and Derry’s answer to Wolfie Smith, of Irish politics, Eamon McCann’s labelling of SF as the ‘new austerity’ party and the rise of the ‘People Before Profit’ party that has SF on the backfoot? Or just like Robinson’s involuntary departure, is there something afoot, something that is being played out to undermine someone, that the public are not ‘party’ too just yet? Could the 'shinner sheep' continue to bleat their inglorious leaders name as he directs them over the cliff?
Irrespective of what is at hand, a testament to the fealty a people will hold to a party of liars and miscreants will be determined next year in the Assembly elections.