Saturday, 25 February 2012

Duck! It's Joan Burton!

Remember the Lisbon Treaty referendum?
‘Vote Yes for Jobs’ said the unholy alliance of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation. Where are the promised jobs? We have over 440,000 people unemployed in the 26 Counties and growing emigration and the only jobs are overseas.
That ‘Yes’ referendum campaign was a con job and unfortunately it succeeded in cajoling and scaring sufficient numbers of voters to ratify Lisbon. Like previous EU treaties it took away more democratic powers from the Irish people and gave them to the EU. And it has tied us to the disastrous economic strategy of the EU which is imposing austerity policies that are damaging our society and further weakening our economy.
Of course the EU has willing servants in Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. It was pathetic to see Kenny tripping off for his dinner with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the ornate Meseberg Palace near Berlin this week. It was even worse to read of Irish officials dismissing the very idea that Kenny might dare to mention any serious issues at the dinner – like the massive debt burden on Ireland. I wonder did he drop hints?
“Chancellor, would you have any interest in more sauce on your duck? How do you rate the pear?”  (They had Brandenberg duck and pear dessert.)
Inconveniently for Kenny and Gilmore, German sources confirmed that the wording of the Fiscal Treaty was specially crafted to avoid a referendum in Ireland. This Treaty for austerity would impose a failed and doomed anti-people economic strategy on the Irish people. Our sad losers in Government, the teacher’s pets of Europe, are scared stiff of losing their place at the top of the class if the Irish people are given the chance to reject this Treaty. There’d be no more cosy dinners in the Meseberg Palace then.
But back in Ireland it was time for another con job as Kenny joined Labour’s Social ‘Protection’ Minister to wheel out the Government’s ‘Pathways to Work’ document. Billed as a big plan to tackle unemployment, this is a collection of rehashed proposals with no new funding or no real stimulus to create jobs.  At its core it is an attack on the unemployed.
In Budget 2012 people on low incomes, including social welfare recipients, were targeted. To try to justify this, and with the help of the likes of Independent newspapers, there was much hype about social welfare fraud. Now, don’t get me wrong – such fraud needs to be tackled. But it is a drop in the ocean of unemployment and it is miniscule compared to the billions robbed from the Irish people by the wealthy fraudsters and their friends in Government who wrecked our economy.
You would think that the points I’ve just made might come from a Minister whose party purports to be successors of James Connolly. But no. Who needs Maggie Thatcher when you get this from Labour Minister Joan Burton:
"I am trying to ensure that people don’t find the security of the social welfare system more attractive than the risky world of work."
It’s enough to turn you off your Brandenberg duck!

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