OPINION: PBP with the millions, not the millionaires

Wealth inequality is the greatest challenge of our time. The crisis faced by working class people, here and across the water, was consciously engineered. The vast majority struggle to make ends meet because a few are filthy rich.

Saturday, 3rd June 2017, 2:19 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:15 pm
People Before Profit election workers Shaun Harkin, Jim Doherty and Sha Gillespie pictured in the PBP office in Foyle Street Derry. Eamonn McCann is running as a PBP MLA candidate in the Assembly elections on 5th May next. DER1716GS007

In this election we have a choice: continue with Tory policies, implemented and imitated by our local politicians, or vote for a different kind of society. A fairer, more just society, putting humanity at the centre of politics.

Corbyn’s Labour is fighting to halt the onslaught of pro-corporate, pro-private sector politics championed by Thatcher which has left the world more unequal than ever before. His socialist policies are popular, despite media bias because working class people know they will transform their lives. And it’s no different here.

In Derry we’ve reached a tipping point. Poverty, wages and zero hour contracts are widespread. Benefit cuts and sanctions are causing despair. Public services from the NHS to education face decimation through cuts and privatisation.

Cuts mean the Foyle Haven, the Northland Centre, HURT and many others holding together the fabric of our city, cannot guarantee their existence. More people are forced to go to foodbanks than ever before. Young people don’t see a future. Poverty and failing public services will deepen the mental health crisis.

This is not scaremongering. This is reality for working class people from all communities across the Foyle constituency. It doesn’t sit well with those insisting they’ve ‘delivered’ for Derry. And none of this has anything to do with Brexit.

All establishment political parties in Foyle want lower taxes on corporations. They want lower taxes on corporations than Donald Trump. This is Thatcherism on steroids. Wealth doesn’t trickle down from these policies. It rushes to the top.

Privatisation, starving public services and cutting taxes on corporations produced the great wealth gap. These are Tory policies serving UK elites. These are EU Commission policies serving German and French bankers, industrialists and elites. Rather than consistently challenging failed policies establishment parties in Foyle imitated them and implemented Tory cuts. There’s no equality when there’s economic injustice.

PBP agree with Corbyn’s proposal to raise taxes on the rich and corporations, so we can properly fund our public services, social Welfare and housing. We can abolish student fees. We can establish living wages and job security so people can thrive, not just survive.

PBP is the only party standing in Foyle fully committed to stopping privatisation and cuts to public services. Other parties claim they are too, but the SF/DUP Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements axed thousands of public sector jobs.

‘Rebalancing’ the North West economy is Stormont code for privatisation and cuts. SF/DUP gave Tories a greenlight to impose Welfare Reform here. Stormont organised PFI and RHI rackets funnel hundreds of millions in public money into private profits every year. Instead of standing up for workers’ rights Stormont kept Thatcher’s anti-trade union laws on the books.

PBP consistently calls for people power to oppose austerity whether it’s coming from Westminster, Stormont or Brussels. We will oppose any attempt by Tories to use Brexit to further cut public services. We’ll oppose any attempt by Tories or the EU to impose a hard border that no one wants. We’ll fight to maintain funding for the North West.

We’re with the millions of people not the millionaires. We need a people power movement North and South to fight for a Socialist Ireland putting the many before profits for a few.

Change is possible. We do not have to live in despair. PBP is the party of hope in this election.