The Blanket


Brendan Hughes • 11 May 2003

Looking around me at a time when the politicians are never away from the television studios screaming ‘cheat’ at each other, I feel a need to ask who are the cheats? Is it the employer? Is it the young mother who has to go out to work to keep her family going? Is it the men with maybe up to six kids who have to work in lousy conditions? It may be said that all these people function illegally but are they all cheats? The illegal behaviour of the employer is aimed at making profit. The illegal behaviour of the worker is aimed at keeping the family above the breadline - in other words, survival. More people have went to jail for seeking to keep their families safe than employers have ever went there for keeping them poor. How many employers in Belfast have been near a prison other than to build it? I don’t know any.

If you have an employer who gives work to 20 ‘illegals’ and enjoys a profit of £20,000 a month and ends up getting fined £5,000 in court, why let on you are surprised when he shouts ‘happy days - bring on the next 20.’? He takes a chance because it is worth it. The ‘illegal’ has to chance it because he or she has no choice - a hungry family quickly makes decisions for the breadwinner.

Belfast is full of greedy employers. It is even more full of poor people. But it is not just Belfast - look at Baghdad. Are the people there well off? But the bosses seem to be prosperous wherever they are. The lawmakers could do something about it. They could award a mandatory pay rise but they choose not to. The thought of having to go home without a pay packet is not something that keeps them awake at night.

Watching the news recently, I found it ironic that prison officers would be outside two prisons in the North protesting. The RUC were also coming under the spotlight - complaining about the way they are being treated. Two types of people whose wage packets were never less than bursting at the seams. Two sets of people who have suppressed any form of working class protest with the worst form of brutality. When I and many comrades and friends protested we were beaten and thrown naked into cells. And I recall saying to so many of those along with me that today it is our turn - when they finish with us they will turn on others. For that reason we will never see the screws or Special Branch having to put shit on the wall - they are needed by the government and the employers to jail those poverty stricken people they treat like shit. That is why the brutal police and prison guards who ran Iraq for Saddam are back running it for their new masters, cheating the people of the country out of any real regime change.

All of which leads me to conclude that capitalism is the greatest cheat of all.







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I have spent
many years of my life
in opposition, and
I rather like the role.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Index: Current Articles

17 February 2007

Brendan Hughes
Archive Material

11 May 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Stakeknife - Shock and Awe.
Anthony McIntyre


In the name of womanhood

Michael Youlton


Brendan Hughes


Death Threats and Harassment by the RUC/PSNI
Joe Dillon


Election Delay Shows Dubious Democracy
Eamon Lynch


8 May 2003


Volunteer Patricia McKay
Brendan Hughes


Death of Barbara Reilly

The Clinton Family


Republicans and the Protestant Working Class
Gerry Ruddy


Suicide is Painless?
Sean Smyth


The Politics of the Undecidable
Liam O Ruairc


Patriotism Polluting Journalism
Anthony McIntyre


At the Theatre

Annie Higgins



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