What people should realise when confronted by the ongoing propaganda-drive of New Sinn Fein, posting photos of themselves 'in proud solidarity with the Unions' as though any credibility attaches to the bizarre stance they've taken, is that the current crisis at Stormont does not relate to the overall ‘global’ figures in terms of austerity cuts but relates to where the cuts are to be made. Sinn Fein are as deceptive as they come here and people need to waken up.
The hard reality, once you strip away the cleverly-choreographed misinformation, is that Sinn Fein have been flat-out defending the Stormont House Agreement, figures and all, and have viciously criticised those who opposed it – their venomous attack on the SDLP particularly of note here. So let's be clear, they are not and never have rejected this agreement or its figures and nor are they against austerity. The ongoing dispute at Stormont relates to where austerity cuts will be made not if they'll be made.
|Challenging the Stormont Tories|
At a rally today in Omagh all speakers who took the podium made it crystal clear that the Stormont coalition — which Sinn Fein heads with the DUP — bears responsibility for what is an unprecedented and indeed an ongoing attack on the working people, only exceeded in that responsibility by Westminster – who's bidding they signed up to at Stormont House to protect their sacred institutions and jobs, 11 percent pay-rise included.
So this is truly the stuff of the charlatan, they are fooling no-one. Sinn Fein are already administering the very 'Tory Cuts' they disingenuously claim to be fighting and have been doing so for months. Two people in the photograph attached physically voted for the Stormont House Agreement — which was the focus of the protests today — and while they may be good enough fellas, and in all likelihood following orders, it doesn't change facts. There's no room for sentimentality, the issue itself is too important.
Those who spoke from the platform in Omagh made it clear that neither Sinn Fein or their DUP partners are in support of their fight but are the ones who've actually forced them into taking the course of action they have. No handy photo-op at the head of the crowd will change that. If New Sinn Fein are serious about change they should begin with an immediate reappraisal of their attitude towards upholding and legitimising British austerity in Ireland – the latest chapter of which is to be found in Stormont House. They are on the wrong side of austerity just as they are on the wrong side of the Union.
They would no doubt have it they've already done so, given their walk-out the other day, but the devil is in the detail. They pulled the plug on the Welfare Bill and not the Stormont House Agreement and as such, as the Unions and others well know and pointed out today, they have accepted the global figures contained therein – which are the product of the UK government at Westminster, its neo-liberal vision for the future and its attack on all sectors of society bar the powerful and wealthy.
Sinn Fein and their DUP partners have already committed to those figures and to implementing them – if that's not austerity and the Tory cuts they claim to oppose then we really need to wonder what is? Their lies and deceit cut no mustard with the people on that street today and for those attempting this ludicrous effort to ride two horses at the one time they were told the same from the platform in no uncertain terms, if they chose to listen.
The lesson is clear. Those who play the game by the enemy's rules are propping up the system and all it brings – austerity included. Whatever argument there may have been for doing so in the past is gone – thus why Unions are prepared to strike regardless of the constitutional consequences and despite insidious attempts to besmirch them as 'anti peace' by none other than the willing hacks of New Sinn Fein.
The constitutional settlement Sinn Fein now upholds is a disaster for the people of this country, as is the crippling economic narrative underpinning it. A good idea, if they're genuinely opposed to austerity, might be to stop propping it up and start the process of engendering meaningful political change. If they're not prepared to do so then in reality they offer the people nothing. Indeed what they do in this instance is legitimise the Tory attack on the ordinary 5’ 8” by giving it the veneer of local accountability through that farce 'on the hill' we know as Stormont.
The British government could be removed from the equation if we were to force a constitutional crisis and demand genuine self-determination. We can do so by democratic and extra-democratic means and in fact these are the means they fear most – and thus the need for a client breed of politicians to keep things ticking over, to keep the people in check through providing the illusion of democratic accountability and participation, while the real power rules from behind.
What if people constructively made these arrangements unworkable rather than prop them up, they couldn't survive. British rule is hanging by a thread – it always has been. That thread is the assent of public representatives to tolerate their presence and sadly Sinn Fein as a party has become a part of that.
'Ruling by fooling is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on' said the bold James Connolly. I say don't let them fool you and get out on the streets if and where you can going forward. Help us tear down the austerity regime at Stormont HQ doing London's bidding and with it that shameful agreement ALL our local Sinn Fein and DUP MLAs voted for only weeks ago. The struggle to banish austerity to the annals of history, as an anachronism that has no fitting place in any society, is only beginning. Together we can win.