Solidarity-People Before Profit represent people power and – unlike Labour, Greens and SF – will never prop up FF/ FG.
By Richard Boyd Barrett.
For nearly 100 years, this country has been run by two conservative parties, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The legacy of their rule is under-funded public services. We have the highest creche fees in Europe, the longest hospital waiting lists and, after Brexit, the highest third-level fees in the EU.
The two conservative parties are ideologically opposed to taxing wealth and to strongly interfering in the private market.
One in three of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael TDs are landlords and so they have a vested interest in high rents and property prices. It is no wonder that they refuse to implement proper rent controls and support measures that increase property prices and aid property speculators.
Solidarity-People Before Profit want to Break the Cycle of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael rule. For years, this seemed a distant dream, but recent polling evidence shows a striking change. The two conservative parties now only command the support of less than half of the electorate. We can start to make a change in this election – and see the back of control by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael into the future.
Of course, the mandarins in RTE want to pretend that we still live in a two-party Tweedledum and Tweedledee system – so they give us a television debate between the ‘two leaders’. Yet on the doorsteps it is abundantly obvious that many see these parties as having almost the exact same polices.
There is a wind of change sweeping across Ireland, as was evident in the votes on marriage equality and Repeal. That change is now starting to blow apart an old political system with more than 50% of people looking to vote for parties other than Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
There is, however, one potential major obstacle to the change. Namely, that parties which talk left today enter a coalition to prop up Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael tomorrow. This produces an old cynical game where promises are dropped and the focus becomes on ‘managing the economy’ and being realistic.
There is absolutely no possibility of developing high-quality public services if you join neoliberal parties like Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in coalition. That is why People Before Profit give you an absolute guarantee – a vote for us will never be used to prop up a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in government.
Unfortunately, others – such as Labour the Greens and even Sinn Féin – say they are prepared to join them in coalition. But look what happened when Labour joined coalition last time. They gave us water charges and an increased pension age. Or when the Greens joined Fianna Fáil – they presided over the cutting of 300 buses from the Dublin Bus fleet.
In the South, Sinn Fein have been vociferous in calling for a restoration of the pension age to 65. But in the North, when they were in coalition with the right-wing DUP, they supported an increase to 66. No matter what they say, the same will happen again to any party that joins Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in government.
Solidarity-People Before Profit believes Ireland needs real change. We stand for an old-style policy of re-distributing wealth. We want to tax the billionaires, the big corporations and vulture funds to raise enough revenue to develop high quality public services.
Specifically, we want to:
1. Restore the pension age to 65.
2. Bring in proper rent controls that allow for rent reductions
3. Stop sales of public land – use it for social and affordable housing.
4. Take Radical climate action – Free public transport and keep fossil fuels in the ground
5. Guarantee 33 hours a week free childcare
6. Scrap fees for third level education
7. Create a health service that treats patients according to medical need -not the size of their wallet
8. Abolish property tax on family home and USC tax on those who earn under €90,000
9. Develop proper services for the disabled and those with special needs.
These are our polices but we don’t just oppose, we organise.
We have achieved real change by helping to build ‘people power’ campaigns and mass movements. Look at the defeat of water charges and Repeal. Look at how French workers stopped a rise in their pension age with mass protests. We could do the same here.
That’s the change you need.