Politics of fear: Be our own media #Right2Change

Via Right2Change Coordinators:

100 years ago William Martin Murphy’s Irish Independent was vilifying workers and calling on the signatories of the proclamation, and many others, to be shot.

Today, Tuesday, days before the 2016 election, his heir Denis O’Brien printed 3 pages of shameless propaganda masquerading as a letter from ‘business leaders’. This diatribe was signed by, among others, Gary McGann who was a Director at Anglo Irish Bank for 5 years wrecking a country. The cheek of him and the rest of them, shameless representatives of the 1%.

We have submitted a reply but doubt it’ll make print. It is set out in full below.

The Irish Independent has a circulation of 109,000 a day. Last Friday you guys broke a concerted media blackout to drive a massive demonstration on Saturday. Can you now do even better? Let’s like, share and most importantly tag all your friends to get this letter out and again break the agenda driven lies of the 1%.

Can we do it? Let’s see….

REPLY IN FULL

Today’s letter to the Irish Independent from “business leaders” should be seen for what it is; self-centred, irresponsible fear mongering from individuals who have little understanding of the real impacts of austerity.

Firstly, let us remind those concerned business leaders that it wasn’t “Left populist parties” that caused the economic crash and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. It was the policies advocated by the business lobby.

Their calls for “stability” could easily be described as economically illiterate, stating that “Ireland has the opportunity to massively cut unemployment, reduce tax on work and invest ambitiously in improving public services and vital infrastructure”. They conveniently don’t spell out how you can cut taxes while investing ambitiously in public services at the same time.

What’s clear is their preference for pro-cyclical fiscal policies that have a track record of failure. It was those boom and bust policies that destroyed our economy with devastating impacts for hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens.

Maybe their warning against “political instability” can be accurately translated as a call for more of the same? The same policies from the same political parties that have now:

1. Doubled the number of homeless children in one year.
2. Created one of the lowest paid and precarious workforces in the EU.
3. Led to record numbers on hospital trolleys in our underfunded public hospitals.
4. Maintained the largest class sizes in the EU.
5. Put in place plans for a new type of poverty, water poverty.

While business leaders advocate the status quo, maybe they should declare any personal interests in their very public stance. The political parties they’re supporting in their letter are promising tax cuts which will disproportionately benefit high earners – like themselves. The last two Budgets have ensured their take home pay has increased by up to €1003 per year more than their workers. Why wouldn’t they want more of the same?

The people who can no longer take any more of this “stability” are the thirteen families about to be evicted from their emergency accommodation hostel in Mountjoy Square this Friday, the day of the election. They are the families who’ve had to watch their parents pass away on trolleys in the corridors of our public hospitals because there were no private rooms available for them. They’re the 90,000 people languishing on social housing lists because it’s more of a priority to give tax breaks than to invest in public housing. They’re the pensioners who are stressed and worried about how they’re going to pay their water bills when the cap is removed in a few years. But then, it’s unlikely those business leaders will have to worry about such things.

There are currently a group of candidates (105) with the potential to form a government after the election who are advocating a real change in direction for our country. They are running on a platform of challenging economic inequality, investing in social housing, improving our public hospitals and public services, creating decent well paid jobs, and scrapping unfair and regressive water charges. They agree to a rights based society including the right to health, education, housing, water, jobs among other rights. They are all running under the platform of Right2Change.

At this point let us declare our own interests. The trade unions involved in Right2Change campaign are not affiliated to any political party. We represent more than 100,000 workers in Ireland, many of whom are the victims of bad economic and social policies that have crippled families and destroyed communities across this island. Our members deserve and are entitled to much better.

In 2016 we will have the choice to vote for the same failed policies of Right-wing parties or to vote for parties and candidates who believe in the aspirations of the 1916 Proclamation, of a country that cherishes all of the children of the nation equally.

When business leaders try to scare us and worry us saying fairness, decency and human rights risk jobs, let us first ask who benefits from their particular brand of political stability?

John Douglas, Mandate Trade Union
Jimmy Kelly, Unite Trade Union
Stevie Fitzpatrick, Communications Workers’ Union
Billy Wall, Opatsi, the Plasterer’s Union
Brendan Ogle & David Gibney
(Right2Change Coordinators)

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