The Blanket


A journal of protest & dissent



The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey



The Real Issues

Davy Carlin
Andersonstown News 28/03/2002; Belfast Telegraph 4/4/2002


In N.Ireland privatization is being pushed, embraced and endorsed whole scale by all leading parties in the assembly. Yet this is a mechanism that puts the interests of our peoples needs secondary to that interest of the private companies which is to accumulate profit. Therefore this contradiction will mean more cost cutting and workforce cuts to maintain an inadequate service. So in fact to sustain that primary function to continually attempt to increase that said profit over peoples need, the failures of which can be seen recently in England.

While some unions and politicians have made some symbolic gestures at its introduction others have in fact tried to ignore it and hope it would bypass directly its members or community so it could be brushed quietly under the carpet. Research though by Unison showed that under Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) workers have been paid up to nearly half less in some cases with working longer hours, with their terms and conditions that of maternity, sick pay, holidays and pension etc slashed. While for the wider community it has meant public services being cut, closed, downgraded with health, education etc all potentially or already becoming at the call of priority one profit. So postal, rail, bus services will mean core cuts to the rural communities amongst others with workforces and wider community all paying the price to the drive of profit over need. While our politicians in the Assembly play to a packed house over emblems, solitary figures exist over core issues of concern. While they find disagreement on flags they can find almost uniformity of consensus on privatization. We were told of the benefits of political inclusiveness yet we are finding more and more social and economic exclusiveness. One just has to look at our city centre to see the tenfold of homelessness and want. We see increased crime and deprivation.

We have our limited peace yet we have the process of continual widening inequality. I look at despair at the estates in which I grew up, Twinbrook/Poleglass and see that economic and social discrimination is still rife in a newly appointed city. I look at the continual deprivation in Annadale or the Shankill where educational and work prospects are bleak to say the least. I look at the state of our health service and other public interests and see little cheer for our community as a whole. While persons have felt that the assembly has created institutionalized divisions and sectarianism could it be that it is now institutionalizing poverty and despair for the most vulnerable? We just have to open our eyes and see the obvious reality. Yet to keep them shut means that once again politicians will find the opportunity to pass the buck with all the benefits of using that damned pervasive 'institutionalized sectarianism'.






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