Everyone knows the Irish Examiner is a Fine Gael newspaper and everyone equally knows that even if Fianna Fail is being obnoxious about public sector workers, Fine Gael would be even worse. The incessant cry from FG over the past two years has been for the savaging of the sector. ‘More! More!’ they scream like a mob braying for the burning of a bewildered woman suddenly accused of being a witch.
Accordingly the editorials and commentary in the Examiner have almost without exception come down in favour of cuts in welfare and pay of the lowest paid in society, one way or another. Fergus Finlay (the nearest thing to a working class columnist the paper has) has generally been suggesting it’s all a matter of style rather than of substance and that had the government only gone about the same strategy differently the hoi poloi wouldn’t be as upset as they are.
Why in the name of God does the Government need a report to tell it what is both the right thing to do and the strategic thing to do? If this Government had been ruthless about top pay – especially its own, and especially the bonuses that some senior managers have been offered – and if they had been ruthless right from the beginning, people throughout the country would have been far more willing to follow them.
In any case Finlay has now declared himself against strikes which begs the question of the former Labour Party spokesperson: how the hell do we get these liars and thieves to take us seriously otherwise? Asking them nicely has never worked before, it isn’t working now and the main opposition parties have abandoned us all by signing up to what are essentially identical economic policies, despite all the sympathetic rhetoric. Speaking on The Frontline while in Dublin recently Noam Chomsky stated an obvious fact: no government has ever conceded any point of democracy or fairness without being forced to do so by the people themselves. Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has already stated categorically that he will do nothing to change the outrageous and almost certainly criminal NAMA legislation if Labour are elected to government. That alone tells us everything we need to know about the pointlessness of voting for Labour.
In recent weeks Examiner columnist and fomer FG front bencher Ivan Yates has been shrilly defending subsidies to horse racing while demanding the evisceration of the public sector. He has even implied that these subsidies might help reduce the soaring male suicide rate.
Today, the paper is palpably afraid that the flooding crisis ably demonstrates who it is the country has to turn to when real rather than recklessly induced disaster strikes: the very people whose pay, pensions and welfare are to be targetted within a few weeks. Flooding ‘washes away sympathy for strike’ claims the headline over the editorial. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is public sector workers who have been working night and day to deal with the effects on people of the failures of government and environmental management as much as of the weather itself. Incredibly, the Examiner editorial accuses the unions of selfishness at this time of crisis, even though emergency service members have already said they will not strike in the affected areas.
Not to be outdone for viciousness by any editorial writer, Terry Prone, predictably, is in on the act. We’ve written about Prone before: she of the sumptuous salaries at public sector expense who has been selling the lie of Fianna Fail’s Cletic Tiger economic ‘miracle’ more than any other. Lest anybody should begin to notice just how tirelessly and selflessly professional public sector workers have been coping with the flood disaster, Prone is desperate to insist it is really the smiling and laughing, volunteer tea and sandwich makers who are the heroes of the hour. Not that anyone wants to diminish their undoubted and considerable contribution but there’s that divisive theme again: public sector v volunteer; public sector v private sector – the former always coming off worse than the latter, however they are paired for comparison purposes - as if professionally trained people’s skills were superfluous and their lesser motives a given. Prone invites us to consider the joyous liberation of being dispossessed of homes and possessions to free us up for real camaraderie and pulling together. Never mind the destroyed and damaged homes, the lost businesses, the likelihood of dole queue living for many people as a consequence of the flood – think of all the fun it will be while our betters get on with fleecing us of any vestige of hope or the wherewithall to edcuate our children decently or even to survive. Prone’s latest article can be read here.
And speaking of dole queues, Prone was last week bending her talents to working some class distinction into them. Apparently there are those like her pinstripe-suited friend who are the more deserving poor and who should queue up early in the mroning to avoid those who she says wear ‘pyjamas’ and tend to queue later in the day. Oh and apparently last time we all had to emigrate because of similarly induced financial mismanagement, we were doing it ‘for fun’. On top of all of this offensive nonsense, Prone is also trying to make out that there is a need for a similar response to the economic crisis as to the flooding crisis. Not on your well pampered nelly, there is not, Terry. It’s no act of God that brought economic disaster on us but the continuing greed and ruthless incompetence of our government and the eocnomic system whose altar they worship at. It is not just about pay and cuts that we will strike but to make these out of control oligarchs and their political prostitutes realise that the game they are playing with our futures is doomed. We’re not putting up with it any longer. Most of us always knew it was bullshit anyway but it is time now for us take over from the delinquents who are running the show and replace them with adults who will govern according to the wishes and needs of the majority. Striking is the first step along the way until they come to their senses. Contrary to what the likes of Prone and others are spinning furiously in the media, it is not the public sector who are going through the five stages of grief or who are playing the ‘blame game’, it is the government itself which is in deep denial and is lashing out at the electorate in anger.
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