The opinions of Sinn Fein’s republican opponents on the current state of politics in the north of Ireland.
Elections a distraction from failure of Partition
The 1916 Societies note the continuing political crisis in the Six Counties, which began with yet another in-house scandal at Stormont - over a botched energy-efficiency scheme - and has culminated since in the collapse of the Sinn Fein-DUP Coalition and the calling of new elections by British Secretary of State, James Brokenshire.
Our view is that the instability ongoing, with the elections that hope to manage it, reflect bankruptcy on the part of the Stormont project. Its fundamental lack of legitimacy - born of the partition system itself - ensures that perpetual crisis, such as that before us, remains its defining feature. Those subject to the whims of this failed set-up deserve better.
That Stormont is wholly unable to deliver at a time of deepening economic crisis - set only to be exacerbated by the impending arrival of Brexit - adds to the imperative that partition rule, of which Stormont is the lynchpin, give way to the all-Ireland republic. We cannot afford that another generation be held hostage to unworkable partition, whose design is to divide the Irish people that British rule can continue.
In reality, the elections in March will be a meaningless exercise as they cannot resolve the issues at heart - among them the bizarre duality of a political system that entrenches sectarianism at the centre of government, supposedly for the purposes of peace. Dysfunction remains the typeset of the northern statelet accordingly - in perpetuity and regardless of elections.
Such is the nature of partition that it can be no other way. Such is its price - the means to afford it a false sense of normality - that instability can never be far from the surface. Our people deserve more than the sectarian failure bequeathed them by partition and herein lies the nub. For a workable resolution of the matters at hand, partition itself must be ended.
Ultimately, Stormont is the means through which partition rule in Ireland is upheld, serving as a bridgehead between British policy and Irish acquiescence to its terms. It stands, as such, as a bulwark against the realising of republican objectives. Another election to this reactionary entity will in no way alter that reality and it is incumbent that republicans take note. Stormont must go.
As such, the only election we are interested in is an all-Ireland election, where Stormont and partition are consigned to history. We hold that our ‘One Ireland One Vote’ proposal for a referendum on Irish Unity can set forth the pathway required. With that in mind, we invite the Irish public to reject Stormont, with this coming election, and to embrace instead that endeavour.
Stormont is a front for British Rule
Stormont Must Go. That is the Republican demand undiluted by the exigencies of political compromise.
What we have witnessed over the past ten years is recurring crisis due to the failure of the two major political parties to play by the rules as they were set out in the Good Friday Agreement almost twenty years ago now.
The complex framework for power sharing depended ultimately on the willingness of the political representatives of two divided communities to engage with one another as equal partners in government.
Until now the DUP has refused to embrace the concept of equality and this, more than anything else, has led to the current state of affairs. There is a well founded school of thought that the ‘Christian Democrats’ are genetically incapable of treating the natives as equals in a mandatory coalition. For too long they were accustomed to being top dog in a small kennel.
An ill-conceived policy for encouraging a switch to renewable energy by small and medium sized businesses, and the cancellation of the Liofa bursaries, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. The RHI scandal which stands to cost the public purse a half billion over the next twenty years could have been avoided by proper scrutiny and attention to detail. And though the buck stops with Arlene Foster who was the minister at the time, in terms of responsibility all the parties share some of the blame.
Clearly, the proceedures for ensuring that the decisions of ministers are throughly considered before becoming policy failed to identify major flaws in the proposed scheme. For this reason it is not enough to lay the blame at the doorstep of one individual albeit that she occupied the relevant post when this policy was adopted. A plague on all their houses would be a fairer way to approach this situation.
Failing to impose a cap on the amount of money that could be claimed for burning renewable energy exposed the scheme to abuse by those willing and able to make the changeover. Stories of empty sheds being used to burn energy continously is only the worst example of how irresponsible business took advantage of the loophole in the scheme. ‘Cash for ash’ aptly describes the nature of the scam. But let’s be clear about one thing , the RHI scheme materially benefited the small and medium business sectors at the expense of the general population. Working class people were not positioned to take advantage of this particular gift horse. Yet it is the workers and other hard pressed sections of our society that will pick up the tab for this disastrous policy. Ultimately, the cost of this incompetency will be further cuts to public services, the unreported story behind the headlines. Once again the most vulnerable will suffer for the greed of others who care little for the commonwealth. Such is the nature of a system that puts profit before people.
Stormont has failed us. Power sharing has shown itself to be problematic in a society riven with Sectarianism. What the Good Friday Agreement did was to create a framework of interlocking relationships that both reflected and acknowledged the sectarian divisions in society. In order to manage these contradictions various checks and balances were put in place in order to ensure equal representation and parity of esteem.
No doubt the architects of the GFA thought they had found the answer to all our problems. But what they did not appreciate was the corrosive effects of sectarianism leading to conflict and discord. All of their efforts have floundered on the very cancer that was introduced via British colonial policy for the express purpose of protecting imperial interests. Therefore, the method used to ‘divide and conquer’ is the very thing that corrupts the body politic.
How many more failed initatives must we endure? British solutions to Irish problems have produced successive failures throughout our long and troubled history. Our experience of Colonialism, and it’s legacy, has largely contributed to the contradictions that plague our society today.
There is only one solution yet to be tried and that is an Irish national democracy.
It is now time for an Irish solution to Irish problems.
DON’T VOTE FOR STORMONT
As a Revolutionary Republican Party, in accordance with provisions for strategic benefit contained within our Party Constitution and following consultation with our membership – Saoradh are advocating a principled position of complete boycott regarding the upcoming election to the partitionist Six County super council at Stormont.
As such, Saoradh shall be advocating non-participation in the entire election, not engaging in “spoiling votes” as this contributes to electoral turnout and will not be endorsing any proposed candidate, even those standing on an abstentionist platform.
Instead, Saoradh members shall continue to build our Organisational Structure, participate in campaigns that seek to benefit the Irish working class and work towards alternative community structures that do not adhere to the co-dependent ideologies of imperialism, sectarianism and capitalism.
REPUBLICAN SINN FEIN
A Bizarre Orange and Green State
(By Martin Mc Loone, RSF Derry)
As Stormont looms into another crisis, the assembly of the Westminster government has exposed its own corruption and its purpose as a sectarian talk shop used to divide the Irish people and hinder the people’s progress towards real peace and security within a United Ireland context.
We are now faced with a potential election and I would strongly urge that people abstain from voting. Some will say look at the civil rights movement what they achieved, how can we simply refuse to vote?
Well today your vote means absolutely nothing as the system is engineered to be a power sharing executive meaning that the status quo, this bizarre orange and green state, will be maintained.
You have no right to vote in a government election, you cannot vote in either Leinster house or Westminster, unless you live in England or the 26 counties of Ireland, you can vote in an assembly of the British Government aka Stormont, which continually capitulates to Westminster placing the Irish people at the bottom of the rung as always, and why are we at the bottom?
The people of the six counties are disenfranchised and are subject to laws passed by a foreign government and parliament which is not accountable to them and which they did not elect. Further the 26-County assembly at Leinster House is not an All-Ireland body and so is not representative of the whole people of Ireland.
The British government does not care what happens to the Irish, North or South; they only care about how to mitigate their budget to the occupied territory in the 6 counties whilst gaining the right to plunder our resources through cross-border initiatives, as seen in the push to allow the fracking process.
Just like welfare reform, the bedroom tax is coming, more austerity and just like those, fracking will happen, and we will suffer further hardships in the future. Did you vote the Tory government into Westminster? No.
Take the power back into your own hands and call the curtain on this farce and abstain your vote in this coming election, this call to action goes out to all the people of the 6 counties.
Realise your potential, realise that you are the power within this nation and realise that in the current context you are only a part of a nation which has been occupied by a union that has exploited you and gives you no say in how it conducts its affairs. You are powerless within this context.
I urge you again to take the power into your own hands and forge a nation, forge a United Ireland for all the Irish people of every denomination.