Slugger O'Toole

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Tackle issues on the basis of need rather than who’s doing a political deal

Tue 5 April 2011, 11:25pm

Audrey Watson has a good piece on Inez McCormack in the Newsletter. The veteran trade unionist has been named by the US-based Newsweek magazine as one of ‘150 women who shake the world,‘ a remarkable tribute to a woman with a fascinating life story summarised neatly in the article. But McCormack has good advice if we are truly interested in moving towards Longley’s civilised destination:

“I know how to argue for change for those who need it and I also know how to enable them to be part of making that change and also, most importantly, I know when change is real and when it isn’t,” she says.

“Power isn’t good because I get it, it’s how I exercise it. That can apply to the assembly as well. How are they going to use their power to ensure that there is change for those who are not at the table and those who are excluded?

“Put those who are excluded or disadvantaged at the centre of the debate and not the end, otherwise change will never happen.

“You have to name what needs changed and sometimes that’s very uncomfortable, because you are talking about things that people don’t want to hear – whether that’s religion, politics or women’s rights.

“I thought it was very brave when Dawn Purvis launched that report a few weeks ago about young Protestant working class men and education.

“Some people think that we shouldn’t be talking about things like that anymore, but if you don’t name the issue, you don’t tackle it.

“In the same way, it has to be possible to say that in north Belfast, the majority of people on waiting lists are Catholic and you need to know that in order to address it.

Tackle issues on the basis of need rather than who’s doing a political deal.” (added emphasis)

The final statement is important because it yearns for a time still beyond us

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Comments (5)

  1. Cynic2 (profile) says:

    “I know how to argue for change for those who need it and I also know how to enable them to be part of making that change and also, most importantly, I know when change is real and when it isn’t,” she says

    I have no doubt she is sincere but self awareness is great Perhaps she will then realize how powerful an influence she has been

    Equal Opportunities Commission – an industry created for lawyers (legally aided) in Employment Tribunals crippling small businesses with spurious claims. In addition the Commission itself has one of the worst records on equality in its workforce. Last time it took special measures to address this the % of protestants employed dropped again

    NIHRC – a failed bill of rights and almost zero achievement except large legal bills.

    Do we need shakers of builders?

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  2. Cynic2 (profile) says:

    “Tackle issues on the basis of need rather than who’s doing a political deal.”

    That of course is basically an oft neglected statutory duty under Section 76 of the NI Act

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  3. Old Mortality (profile) says:

    ’150 women who shake the world’
    That’s a ludicrous exaggeration but in her former role as a public sector trade unionist, sad to say, she would have wielded excessive local power.
    You can be sure she wouldn’t approve of any ‘change’ that didn’t involve material benefit to her erstwhile constituency. Educational problem? Employ more teachers, classroom assistants etc with higher pay. Simple.

    Cynic is right. She’s a professional parasite on the body of the state.

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  4. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    The article is a self-glorification puff piece. If she was that dim-witted in the basic clerical tasks she mentions, I wouldn’t care for her negotiating on my behalf.

    JFK said that success has a thousand fathers. As far as some women and the Good Friday Agreement is concerned, success in Northern Ireland has a lot of mothers: Monica, Inez, etc. etc.

    I treat anything trade-union leaders in NI say, especially of the public sector variety, with scepticism until there is openness, accountability and transparency about their pay, which is tied to the higher civil servant ranges. That goes for Inez, Lily, Patricia, Peter, Frank, Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.

    The point made about lawyers is spot on. This place is polluted with them and now that the tribunal and legal aid gravy trains are being derailed, they’re constantly nosing around for another public purse trough to put their noses into. A while ago a lawyer type was arguing in effect that NI libel laws should not be reformed, as promised by the UK Coalition, as it could create a ‘libel industry’ here.

    Here’s one soundly social democratic proposal: that no-one paid out of the public purse should get more than, say, four times the average wage or £100,000 a year.

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  5. granni trixie (profile) says:

    My understanding is that she resigned from several public bodies “on principle”.(eg EOC,NIHRC). Need I say more?

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