Stormont deal—serving the wealthy is not a ‘fresh start’
The recent budget deal in Northern Ireland is an attack on ordinary people, our services and a handout to big business. It is not the “fresh start” touted by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein.
The deal was welcomed by the bosses’ CBI, telling you all you need to know about the priorities of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
The 12.5 percent corporation tax cut by 2018 is a move that serves no one except the wealthy. Some £700 million is being borrowed to sack 20,000 workers.
A fresh start? No, just the same old right wing corporate politics dressed up in republican and loyalist language. And it’s the same rotten politics that tens of thousands of public sector workers struck against earlier this year.
The deal warns of “challenging cost reduction targets for each of the nine new departments”.
It contains the same coded neoliberal language that is embedded in austerity practices all over Europe.
Commitments to “structural reform” and “benchmarking” will mean more cuts, outsourcing and managerialism.
But there is no mandate for this programme of cuts.
None of the establishment parties had this in their manifesto. In fact, we were all told that they would “stop the Tory cuts”.
Despite its talk of opposing austerity, Sinn Fein agrees with the DUP in appointing an Independent Fiscal Council, whose members must be agreed with the Tories in Westminster.
This will be a neoliberal platform embedded in the Stormont institutions to press for even more “reforms”, and an inbuilt institutional get-out clause for implementing cuts in the future.
Plans to reduce public consultation periods will give unelected quangos more say, and the electorate less. It beggars belief.
We need to build an alternative to this failed politics of austerity and fight for change through grassroots campaigning and people power. It’s the only way forward.
Gerry Carroll, West Belfast People Before Profit councillor
Scrooge post bosses claw back cash
Royal mail is currently conducting a review of allowances paid to all staff, working and retired, with a view to reclaim any overpayments.
It portrays itself as a caring employer and a stalwart of the local community but this appears to come at the same time as a fall in its half year profits.
Royal Mail makes mistakes with your pay and a year or so later, when you no longer have the relevant pay slip or proof, they come after you for a refund.
It is more prepared to take money out of your pocket than trim a penny from the dividends of the fat cats in the city board rooms.
I worked for Royal Mail for 40 years until I was medically retired 18 months ago.
Now I have been sent a demand for £162.14—that’s a lot of money when my only income is £498 a month and so close to Christmas.
That really is caring for a former employee.
Bernie Metcalfe, Middlesborough
Analysis of Turkey vote underplays repression
Ron Margulies’s account of the election in Turkey (Socialist Worker, 7 November) does not fully account for president Erdogan’s turn to state repression. Kurdish towns have been under siege. Blaming Isis for the Suruc and Ankara bombings is too simplistic.
Erdogan has colluded with Isis in Syria. These bombings were part of systematic repression against Kurds and the left.
Kurdish parties want a settlement like in Northern Ireland or South Africa, but there is no way that Erdogan can agree.
If the 15 million Kurds in Turkey win full political rights, Turkey’s eastern borders could melt away.
A multi-faceted and revolutionary struggle is needed to link class issues across Turkey and demand peace in Kurdistan.
Paul Burnham, North London
Don’t sow confusion
We are seeing a spate of successful unofficial strikes. Great! But Raymie Kiernan writes of recent strikes, “After a show of hands they walked out, defied the law and got results. No one went to jail.” (Socialist Worker, 21 November).
But unofficial (unballoted) action is not illegal. No law is being defied by going on unofficial strike. No law says anything about imprisoning strikers.
Socialist Worker printed a letter by me making this point last year. In the fight against the latest round of anti-union legislation we shouldn’t be sowing confusion.
Dave Lyddon, Staffordshire
Bombs not the answer
When the Russian airliner crashed over Sinai, it was seen as retaliation for Russia’s bombing of Isis. Yet it is apparently unacceptable to apply the same logic to France or Britain, whose leaders seem hell bent on more bombing.
Will they never learn? Have bombing and occupation brought stability and democracy to Iraq, Afghanistan or Libya? Has the threat of terrorist attacks been reduced?
Far from bringing peace or stability to Syria, further bombing will act as a recruiting agent for Isis, do nothing to curb Assad’s atrocities and create even more refugees.
Sarah Cox, West London
How we can hurt Isis
Isis can’t stand the fact that millions of Muslims have walked away from them and headed to Europe.
The flow undermines the group’s message that its self-styled caliphate is a refuge.
Welcome the refugees.
Help them, and watch them flourish in the protection of our society and the Islamic State will get smaller and smaller without a single air force sortie.
Roy Isserlis, East Lothian
Minorities not represented
I’ve been comparing figures from the last ten years with the Black Solicitors Network’s latest report. They underline how ethnic minorities are still underrepresented in the legal profession.
It said progress has been “painfully slow”.
Only 8.1 percent of QCs and 6.1 percent of partners are from an ethnic minority background.
Adam Cochrane, Essex
Cuts expose unionist lies
In last year’s referendum the Better Together campaign warned voters that independence would lead to HMRC jobs being lost.
One year on 17 tax offices in Scotland are to be replaced by two in Edinburgh and Glasgow and over 2,000 workers are to be sacked.
Chris Baxter, Alloa
‘Shoot to kill’ is wrong
Jeremy Corbyn is right to be worried about a “shoot-to-kill” policy. It can result in innocent people being killed, such as Jean Charles de Menezes.
He was wrongly thought to be a terrorist and was killed on
22 July 2005 at London’s Stockwell Tube station at the age of 27.
If they had only let him live long enough to question him they would have found out otherwise.
Karol Jedynak, Birmingham