We live on an island blighted by politics based on myths rather than realities. In the republic, two parties vie for power claiming to represent different visions when they really serve the same powerful interests.
People in Northern Ireland are offered little choice in economic and social policy by parties that at election time happily attract voters into polling booths with the low beat of tribal drums.
The economic crisis has exposed, once again, the shared class interests of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. For decades, these parties have fostered a link between speculation and the provision of homes. Now a generation’s productive capacity is hijacked to pay for the gambles of bankers and speculators. Rather than the state maintaining this system through NAMA, this link must be broken once and for all.
Instead of looking towards our state enterprises to build a new productive economy that offers our young people a future, the conservative parties want a fire sale of our assets, like the ESB, RTÉ and CIÉ. They aim not to improve our services but to squander more capital protecting the interests of their speculator paymasters.
In this they are backed by the cheerleaders of the failed entity that was the Progressive Democrats and the massively overpaid bureaucrats who head these state enterprises, and who owe their jobs to political contacts rather than talent.
In Northern Ireland, a new generation is being coaxed down the road of violence, encouraged by the myth that change was only achieved through the gun and bomb rather than the hard slog of political action. The Saville report that allowed a Tory Prime Minister to heap the blame for Bloody Sunday on soldiers primed for violence rather than the calculating forces which put them there, and which he represents, provides only the semblance of justice. At the same time Prime Minister prepares the Tory onslaught on our public services.
North and South, the necessity is now to build a broad progressive alliance to sweep away the myths and build a new politics capable of producing a better future for the people of our island.