Week in, week out, we are are bombarded with straw polls from the media stating which political party in the Twenty-Six Counties is in the lead to be favourite to form the next government. Why they bother can be a bit of a mystery given that very little investigation will establish that none of the main political parties who sit in the Dáil have much separating them, certainly when it comes to their ideas of fixing the economy.
We are all well aware at this stage of how our economy came to the calamitous state it is now in and the disgracful manner in which those who created the problem have been as good as rewarded for their mistakes. Now the Dublin government says the €50 billion debt created by the speculators and gamblers must be paid back. And it will be the ordinary women and men in the street who will be paying back that €50 billion as those who created the debt get off Scot free.
One Percent Network protest in Dublin
The Fianna fáil/Green Party coalition who sit in government say the payback will come in the form of cuts in welfare, health, education and job cuts in the public sector. All actions which will hurt the most needy in our society, not those who created the problems in the first place. And that same government sat and allowed it all to happen by encouraging capitalist ideologies in their policies as they themselves squandered public money and claimed exorbitant expenses and pensions.
Now the opposition parties such as Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein scramble like children playing musical chairs to get sitting in the seat of government. Under the facade of party name and public image they all espouse the same type of thinking which has led this country into the position it finds itself in today. In the Twenty- Six Counties we have one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe at 12.5%, an incentive to get businesses and multi-national companies from overseas to open factories and shops here. Of course these companies do create jobs but most of those jobs are low paid and the vast majority of the companies refuse to recognise trade unions leaving their workers without a voice. Making matters worse these foreign businesses and multi-nationals take back to their own countries the bulk of their profits, which have been generated by Irish workers.
Given that the pro-capitalist policies of the current Fianna Fáil/Green Party government have left this country in such a state you would wonder at any party hoping to wrestle the reigns of power from todays government having similar policies of promoting private greed over public need. But Fine Gael and Labour both support the interests of private enterprise and the low corporation tax rate which also has private business and multi-nationals benefiting before the needs of the Irish people. They also back the use of Private Public Partnership (PPP) giving private enterprise ownership of what should be state run projects such as health, education and infrastructure.
Health cuts protest in Letterkenny, Donegal
Then there is Sinn Fein. A party who once considered themselves to be radical leftists. But this is hardly the case when they now stand more in the centre ground, promoting the same pro-capitalist policies as the others with their plans of incentives for more multi-nationals to come here and harvest our work force, backing bank bailouts such as that in the case of the PMS bank and allowing private enterprise to profit from our public services in PPP's.
But we don't have to put up with any of these parties plans of more of the same and the inevitable disaster that will surely follow again. There are alternatives to their plans. We in éirígí believe that with a fundamental realignment of the financial, construction, manufacturing, food and services sectors we could avoid future recessions. Instead of a financial sector controlled by a wealthy elite, we could have a publicly owned and controlled system creating a secure place for peoples savings and pensions, credit at low rates of interest and cheap insurance as it wouldn't be primarily profit driven. We could develop indigenous manufacturing and services sectors and support community projects and worker controlled start-ups and co-operative based enterprises creating sustainable employment.
Shell to Sea protest, Dublin
Also, Irelands natural resources such as hydrocarbon and mineral reserves should be under public ownership, not private as it is now. These resources could be exploited in an evironmentally and sustainable manner creating wealth for the nation, some of which could be used to develop alternative energy resources such as tidal, wind and hydro making Ireland a world leader in the field. The farming and fishing sectors properly supported by the state could be focused on safe, high quality produce for the Irish people and farmers and fishers co-opertatives and indigenious processing enterprises could reverse the decline in Irelands agricultural and fishing sectors.
All of this is posible today. But none of today's main parties offer an alternative to the ideologies which created the position we now find ourselves in. They wish to rewind and start again using the same principles that will only lead us and our children back to recession and unemployment. But we the people can affect change. We must stand up now and let our voices be heard. Remember, our silence today will be the ruination of our children tomorrow.