“Local houses for local people”? Hey, isn’t that the Executive’s preferred housing policy?

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Michael Abiona protestInteresting story on BBCNI just now, of what appears to a racialist protest in Garnerville in East Belfast outside the house of Michael Abiona who according to the Beeb “serves in key roles in the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities”.

Interesting too that just yesterday the NICEM published a report which noted that “8.3% of reported cases were successfully prosecuted between this January and April”.

Abiona told the BBC…

“A woman told me the place should be meant for locals, she said there are a lot of local elderly and disabled people living in the area who have been on the housing waiting list for about nine years, so how come I got the house?

“She said it wasn’t personally about me, it was about housing. She was even asking me if I am disabled and I said I am, but I was wondering why she was asking me this.

“I went through the normal channels of getting the premises.”

Also interesting is exactly how these attitudes key in with a draft report on the development of a strategy for the NI Executive to tackle racial inequality leaked to The View last week, which apparently says:

“We acknowledge the link between sectarianism and racism, and we recognise that we cannot hope to tackle one without tackling the other,” the authors said.

“The executive will continue to work towards an immigration policy that recognises and takes account of our different needs and concerns here.”

Two thoughts strike me:

  • One, if both OFMdFM parties are as in favour of having an anti racism strategy in the field as they say they are, then, hey, what’s the delay?
  • Two, looking at those slogans from Garnerville who can deny that local houses for local people is already the prefered mantra most of the major political parties in the NI Executive?

Or is it that we only don’t mean it when the thrust of our otherwise unapologetically tribal politics has ill effects for racial and ethnic minorities? That’s a tough piece of #doublethink to explain to the roots.

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  • Sp12

    Nice find on the link to round the piece off, helps with the idea that like sectarianism, it’s as big an issue in both communities, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

  • Mick Fealty

    My focus is on policy, not who’s worse than whom. Are you suggesting that local houses for local people is not the main cross party mantra of public housing policy?

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com John Mooney

    Arguably the Good Friday Agreement could have institutionalised power sharing between unionists and nationalists. It could have worked.
    It was probably less likely to work when unionism (certainly) was represented by DUP and (only slightly less certainly) was represented by Sinn Fein.
    We didnt institutionalise Power Sharing. We institutionalised Sectarianism.
    And we probably institutionised a form of Britishness repugnant to most Britons (except BNP and UKIP types) in England.
    And a form of Irishness that most Irish people consider outdated.

    But worse we instituted Stupidity.
    We institutionalised the fault line in 1789 between Reason and Unreason.
    Does any serious person believe in Creationism….or is it a mere token to define a menu of Beliefs that lack Reason?
    People who are sectarian dont offend us much as they should.
    But it cant be surprising when they turn out to be sexist, homophobes and racists.
    Then it offends us….and the Media are confronted with the sick reality that Norn Iron isnt all about the Titanic and Game of Thrones and Giro Italia.
    How do you surgically remove the cancer of Racism and pronounce Sectarianism kinda ok?
    Its not about Orange and Green.
    Increasingly its about Reason and Unreason.
    Those Parties that might be defined by Post 1789 Reason…SDLP, Alliance, Green (all certainly) and the sensible elements in UUP need to walk away.
    SF might well be too far compromised by violence (hardly reasonable) but they need to wake up and assert post Enlightenment Beliefs.
    Opposition?
    A first step certainly.
    This farce simply doesnt deserve to succeed. And we are probably already compromised beyond salvation.

  • http://fitzjameshorselooksattheworld.wordpress.com John Mooney

    “Local People”?
    Lets be frank its code for Themmuns not being welcome.
    The people protesting about Nigerians have a much wider range of Themmuns than those not protesting.

  • Sp12

    Are you suggesting that ‘local houses for local people’ as a ‘mantra’ leads to shit being thrown at cyclists and the usual nauseating equivocation from unionist politicians?
    You linked the two issues, not me.
    Good luck with trying to lay the blame for this behaviour at the feet of everyone in the executive, no-one’s buying it.

    The issue with these racists attacks is the all too familiar sense of racial superiority that for some strange reason (ideas why anyone?) increases every summer, one that is tacitly encouraged and then openly defended by Unionist leaders.

  • Greenflag

    Everybody is local it’s just that some people are more local than others .This is not a new development in Northern Ireland nor anywhere else either .

    If Mr Abiona had a million pounds in the bank his neighbours would have been more tolerant presumably but then he would’nt have been on the list for a house in Garnerville .

    I guess there was a time when Messrs Currie , Hume , Devlin, Cooper and many others had to fight for equal housing rights .

    It seems so long go .Perhaps Mr Abiona should stay and fight his case ? Turning the other cheek even if for understandable reasons does not make the problem go away .It merely encourages racist thuggery . For confirmation read European or USA history 1800 to 1945 and indeed later .

  • Greenflag

    Was Mr Abiona Catholic or Protestant ? . This could have been a factor ? s Nigerian can be Yoruba , Hausa (Islamic ) or Ibo (Christian ) or one of numerous other smaller tribes .

    I guess if Mr Abiona is a black Protestant then he might believe in a different God from his once to be future white Protestant neighbours .

    Christianity the religion of ‘love your neighbour ‘ indeed . Unless he/she is one of themmuns .

    Unreason rules -but not just in Garnerville :(

  • Neil

    Mick,

    I’m sure you know this but a person applying for a HE home will provide a few areas where they would like to move to (up to 3 I believe). They will then be made three offers of a home in the areas requested when they attain enough points to put them towards the top of the list for that given house. If they don’t take one of those offers they don’t get a house. So no, I don’t think the executive has done anything to either encourage or discourage mixing of communities. People apply to the HE who apply their own processes with respect to the specified areas (processes supposedly beyond political interference, but we don’t talk about that around these parts), and that’s how people get houses.

    On to the reference to that anecdote regarding a racist taxi driver – if anyone thinks complete and total eradication of racism, sectarianism, homophobia or any other discriminatory behaviour is possible then they’re in cloud cuckoo land. It can hopefully be reduced to a negligible level but it will not be completely removed from any society.

    All one can do is measure it. Now I have few stats at hand, but anecdotally (as anecdotes are good enough for reference in your post) I know no one who speaks about gay people, taigs (rats etc.), or foreign nationals with as much open hatred as I have seen on the plethora of Loyalist hate pages online (or from the pulpit).

    I have heard of one racist attack in West Belfast versus hundreds (if not thousands according to the report) in East Belfast. The sad truth of the matter is that when it comes to hatred there are two distinct possibilities: either Nationalists are as sectarian, racist and homophobic as the Loyalist community and are damnably good at keeping it hidden, both on their facebook pages and in the hard reality of attacking people and property; or the Unionist and Loyalist community is markedly more sectarian, racist and homophobic.

    If you’re in any doubt of which of those options is the case perhaps a cursory glance through the statements of Unionist leaders with respect to that holy trinity of hatred might help you come to conclusion.

  • SK
  • SK

    “The issue with these racists attacks is the all too familiar sense of racial superiority that for some strange reason (ideas why anyone?) increases every summer, one that is tacitly encouraged and then openly defended by Unionist leaders.”

    It’s becoming too difficult to push the fenians around these days so now Loyalists have moved on to pastures new.

  • Mick Fealty

    And a rhetorical question of my own in a no doubt vain attempt to retrench to my original point Neil: are you saying those three options are not constrained by consideration of the sectarian identitification of the applicant?

    I repeat this post is about policy policy policy!

  • Old Mortality

    Neil
    “The sad truth of the matter is that when it comes to hatred there are two distinct possibilities: either Nationalists are as sectarian, racist and homophobic as the Loyalist community and are damnably good at keeping it hidden, both on their facebook pages and in the hard reality of attacking people and property; or the Unionist and Loyalist community is markedly more sectarian, racist and homophobic.”

    You may well be right, but how many immigrants live in Ardoyne, Ballymurphy etc? Not too many, mainly because there are fewer vacancies. However, I suspect that if an immigrant family moved into the house across the road that our Orla was after, we might not make them entirely welcome.

  • notimetoshine

    Mick,

    Do you think an agreed policy on racism and ethnic minorities from the boys at Stormont would make any difference?

    I am inclined to think not. It is obvious from recent incidents that repugnant dislike for anyone who is different is endemic in NI. I doubt that a nice policy paper would fix that. I personally don’t know what could be done with these people, they are obviously beyond reason and comprehension.

  • Morpheus

    Mark Davenport reporting that our illustrious leader has had a few things to say about this

    #FootInMouthAgain

    https://twitter.com/markdevenport/status/479271722911158272

  • Sp12

    “Mark Davenport reporting that our illustrious leader has had a few things to say about this”

    Bang on cue.
    It’s almost starting to look like a policy policy policy.

  • Morpheus

    Fair question to PR from Michael Bennett:

    “So a white, Protestant from Ballymena say would be equally unwelcome?”

  • Mick Fealty

    Notime,

    Here’s the thing: if we don’t make the Executive accountable for what it says it’s going to do [and then doesn't]. the whole debate devolves to the kind of abstractions so evident in this thread.

  • Kensei

    Once of the objections to the bedroom tax in England was that it had the effect of breaking up communities – that whether or not London was expensive, it was people’s home. So a policy of preferencing people with connection to an area is not necessarily sectarian or nutty on part of the Executive. Just on instinct, I’d guess developing or maintaining communities would carry a number of social benefits. It’s not the Executive’s fault that we are split across sectarian lines. Breaking up communities would be the social engineering, here.

    That doesn’t mean it should be the only factor in determining social housing, or that it should preclude those with no connection moving in. But as far as I’m aware, that is actually the case?

    It is also many light years away from a campaign of intimidation based on race, so I’m not really seeing the angle that the Executive is somehow fuelling it, at least by Housing policy at any rate.

  • DC

    If we are to view multiculturalism and open borders as progressive, as progressive social policies say, take even EU integration and immigration, these new, progressive social policies were never brought into play matched with a new progressive tax system, so basically there’s no money for new public housing, no money which is needed to fund and build new public housing, there is no money because the tax system remains regressive and stuck in the 1990s. Despite some seriously ‘progressive’ social change across Britain and the UK in year 2014.

    The way I see it is, you have had progressive social policies underwritten by conservative economics and this has put a demand on public services and has created in some cases a new type of public service such as certain faith schools which best not to mention, but there has never been a switch in tax take a change in its revenue gathering approach to cover this experiment properly, to fund it comfortably without people falling out.

    Now people who need public housing are beginning to fall out with other people because countless governments over the decades have created progressive multiculturalism but will not pay for this kind of open door come on in policy, despite permitting it. The government will not take more money off the very wealthy who have done very well out of globalisation and London property, they have done very well out of the open door, the government wont go after the winners in British society to fund the lesser offs, the losers out of the system, those stuck without work and without access to housing.

    You can’t have it both ways, you can’t have progressive social policies, progressive politics constructed on a conservatively run economy and regressive tax system.

  • notimetoshine

    Mick

    i see what you mean, but then NI politics has always been at best an abstraction with some real politics tacked on when it can’t be avoided.

    But what do you think the executive could do to deal with issues of race etc? I personally doubt they have the capacity to deal with racism and ethnic minority issues constructively considering they can’t even deal with flags and parades.

    Maybe we could let the NIO step in and deal with it?

  • tacapall

    Why are people pretending there is no unwritten rule or obligation on the HE to house people in areas where the applicants neighbours are all of the same faith if that is what they want. It happens in social security offices too, no-one from the Falls Road or Shankill would be expected to take a job on the Shankill Road or vice versa nor would he/she be punished by losing their benefits for refusing to go to an interview, just like no-one would lose their place on the HE list if they refused a house on the wrong side of the fence. Our reality is we insist on separation as a right and its usually granted for obvious reasons, if Michael Abiona was a Catholic from Andytown he would have been sectioned for being crazy or arrested for causing a breach of the peace and we all would be nodding in agreement but because he’s black and seen as foreign, its racist and sectarian, ffs look around you, our whole society is built on separation and social exclusion, we know what areas it would be safe to live in, we know what public premises not to socialise in, what schools to go to, what sport to support and we now act all surprised when monkey sees monkey does.

  • Comrade Stalin

    tacapall,

    Well .. I think it’s more accurate to say that the Housing Executive won’t put you in a house where you’re likely to face intimidation or attacks because of your religion.

    This is different.

  • Mick Fealty

    If you fall out with the local ‘organisation’ the NIHE will house you in another district dominated by another one to ensure the first lot don’t get you.

    We have tacitly conceded a lot of ground to bullies over the last 40 years.

    I’d like to see some of that taken back, but let’s not pretend it hasn’t been happening, or that it hasn’t been sanctioned by the state.

    That’s the reason for the reference to doublethink at the end of the piece.

    I don’t know if a policy at Executive level would help, but the lack of one is leading to a lot of jam tomorrow promises. Not to mention voters being treated like they were utterly stupid.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Greenflag

    I would doubt that any of these morons have seen the inside of a church since they were children. They are an absolute disgrace to humanity. Their actions need to be condemned. I wonder if Rev. Gibson ( that great upholder of civil and religious liberty) has commented on it. I won’t be holding my breath.

  • MYtwocents

    I hope that fellow gets a nice home in the end.

  • DC

    While the anti-racism strategy is taking a while to be produced something needs done to inform local residents of just how it is possible that a Nigerian man can rightly and fairly be awarded a housing executive property.

    If Gillian Duffy couldn’t genuinely comprehend how so many eastern Europeans had ended up in Britain, what work has been done to explain to locals here in NI about Nigerians? They need to know how it is that Mr Abiona is a citizen with equal rights, just like Gillian Duffy needed to have Britain’s pro-EU integration policy and associated immigration explained to her, politicians and liberal educated types just assume all sections of society are savvy and knowledgeable on migration pattern particulars and associated ethnic diversity and so on. With public housing in demand and a lot of paranoia and confusion out there, black migrants, recent eastern European migrants, protestant / catholic zero sum politics, min wage, no jobs, relying on people to simply trust the powers that be, when the powers that be have failed to lift their boat and improve their lot in life, might not be an active enough approach in the circumstances.

    Clearly grievances are festering.

  • tacapall

    “Well .. I think it’s more accurate to say that the Housing Executive won’t put you in a house where you’re likely to face intimidation or attacks because of your religion”

    True Comrade so what happened in this case, have the HE not been watching the news lately about the paranoia and fear building up in loyalist areas about housing allocation, locals feel that in the very near future there will be no where safe for them or their children to live if foreign nationals, regardless of colour, compete for the houses traditionally handed to offspring of local tenants. Im not agreeing with the intimidation but I do understand the reaction when wee Sammy from East Belfast is shipped out to Antrim and some geezer from Nigeria gets the house next door to wee Sammys Ma.

  • DC

    Im not agreeing with the intimidation but I do understand the reaction when wee Sammy from East Belfast is shipped out to Antrim and some geezer from Nigeria gets the house next door to wee Sammys Ma.

    I’ll second that, there’s explanatory power in that piece, more insights gained from that than there is reading comments of those indulging in the luxury of moral judgement eg themmums are all incorrigible racist bigots.

    The UK is going to go like America, having lost the battle on immigration the privileged whites, the traditional white community, refuse to pay any more in taxes for public services such as health and housing for hispanics and blacks. That’s what all the rage is about re Obama care, they don’t want to pay for ethnic minority health care arrangements. Same with Britain, if you open your doors, build houses and look after your locals at the same time.

  • Kensei

    Mick,

    How do you beat the bullies in thus case? You could insist that this home is the only option and then attempt to enforce it. So what? A permanent police presence until you break resistance? That is almost impossible, you can’t be there all the time, and you are condemning the victim to leaving in a hellish situation. Prosecute everyone involved for something slightly illegal. Might act as a powerful disincentive to outright displays like this, but again isn’t going to solve the proble and dont going to help the person living there.

    This can’t be tackled head on. There needs to be some long term thought into breaking barriers and I’m not saying the Executive is doing anything like that, but it has to happen naturally. I’m not sure what you want, here.

  • iluvni
  • MYtwocents

    iluvni are you sure that story is true, I don’t remember it being the head line news, if it where true what we would have to deduce from its lack of coverage is that the press that are doing all the jumping up and down over the Glenluce case also believe those Huns types are not the sort of people you want living local to you and that in the Bawnmore case the people who put the writing on the wall are correct. Did Slugger run a thread on the story?.

  • gendjinn

    Robinson plays another blinder.

    At this point it’s obvious it’s a feature, not a bug.

  • iluvni

    Mytwocents,

    I saw the graffiti myself. ‘Nolan’ didn’t send his roving reporter, even though his team was told about it.
    I know of one foreign national who had to look elsewhere.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    Very good question. What about setting a strategy and sticking to it? You don’t solve it by talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    The “what’s okay for Bawnmore is not okay for Garnerville” attitude, only deepens the broader licence and encourages further political delinquency in both sides.

  • iluvni

    Didn’t cause much of a stir on Slugger either….

    iluvni (profile) 23 May 2012 at 5:31 pm
    Nice new housing development being built behind Toys R Us, beside Bawnmore, near Abbeycentre.
    Some rather interesting graffiti on the wall the other day….

    ‘Loucals only, outsiders will be put out’
    (yes, ‘Loucals’)

    I wonder if Sinn fein and sdlp are aware

  • Sp12

    “The “what’s okay for Bawnmore is not okay for Garnerville” attitude, only deepens the broader licence and encourages further political delinquency in both sides.”

    ohh ffs
    There are no nationalist politicians trying to explain away or excuse any racism that comes from people within the nationalist community.

    Robinson’s interview last night was very telling, at pains to tell us that he had no differences with ‘the deputy first minister’ regarding the content of the racial equality document.

  • MYtwocents

    gendjinn, robbo courting the ukip vote?.

    iluvni, it must just be an institutional bias within the press, a bias against the huns and an more forgiving attitude towards the section of people that live in hun free zones, Bawnmore falls road ect, and taking of falls road (west Belfast

    Neil has only heard of one “racist” attack in west Belfast. see above for why that is.

  • Delphin

    At the recent anti-racism rally Dr Mazhar M Khan said that the Assembly has yet to provide an anti-racism policy and update legislation in line with the rest of the UK. Also conviction rates for race crime here are the lowest in the UK. (I hope I’m attributing these points to the correct speaker)
    It may be difficult to get the Assembly to do anything but the Policing Board should hold the PSNI to account over the conviction rates – that’s their job. It would give Caitriona Ruane an interest, apart from tennis. I wouldn’t expect her to do anything until Wimbledon is over.

  • Neil

    Police are treating as a hate crime banners put outside a house in east Belfast where a man originally from Nigeria was due to move in.

    Michael Abiona, 34, was greeted with posters reading “Local Houses 4 Local People” at Glenluce Drive on Tuesday.

    The Housing Executive is treating it as “racial intimidation”.

    First Minister Peter Robinson said on Wednesday: “I’m not sure this can be described as racism in terms of what the intention of the local people was.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-27918328

    Let me just reiterate one thing: it’s a problem in both communities and it should be faced down in both communities. However at this point it seems to affect one community more than the other and maybe the consistent level of cover given by the First Minister of The Chosen Few is not helping.

  • Morpheus

    Time for one his legendary “let me be clear” u-turns

  • Mick Fealty

    Iluvni,

    Sometimes these things require longer term context. The point of this thread is to point out that ‘loucal homes’ is the standard approach here. Your keen eyed observation only adds to the authority of that view.

  • Mick Fealty

    So it’s only a hate crime if the victim is ethnic minority?

  • Greenflag

    Alan N/Ards,

    “I would doubt that any of these morons have seen the inside of a church since they were children. ‘

    Perhaps -on the other hand I’ve seen the most ‘pious ‘ of Catholics vent spleen when ‘white ‘ travellers set up camp near their houses .

    ‘They are an absolute disgrace to humanity.’

    Naw they are just very typical of a large section of humanity albeit not the well educated progressive urban classes that have as DC puts it – benefitted from de-industrialisation , globalisation and financial industry led plutocracy . Humanity btw is disgracing itself in much worse ways than
    adorning banners in Garnersville with offensive slogans .
    I would’nt doubt that some may be just ignorant racist thugs but you’ll find them anywhere and everywhere .

    What DC alludes to in his well written piece above 18 June 2014 at 5:32 pm is more to the point and relevant both n this instance and many others which will be inevitable given the direction in which western economies are heading .

    ‘You can’t have it both ways, you can’t have progressive social policies, progressive politics constructed on a conservatively run economy and regressive tax system.’

    As it saith in the Bible of Mammon 2014 edition

    ‘To them that hath shall be given and to them that hath not – even that which they as yet have not -will be taken from them before they can get it ‘

    Whether it’s via machinery of hedge fund managers in Wall St or the City or regulated corruption implemented by bought and paid for politicians or by a combination of all the above and the forces of conservative reaction which can include the unwitting and poorly educated racist thugs – it’s all the same phenomenon :(

  • DC

    I came across this – http://socialistpartyni.net/archived/mersey-st-residents-action-wins-housing-victory/#.U6LFyfldV8E

    The Socialist spoke to Kathy McConnell and Stephen Baine, Chair of the Mersey Street Residents Association. Kathy explained “In 2001-02, 800 substandard houses in the area were vested and knocked down. Residents were moved out and the Housing Executive promised residents they would be offered first refusal on the new builds. Only 106 new homes have been built on the site – which shows how overcrowded the original housing was. Residents were angry that local people who had been promised housing ended up with few of the new builds. People from places like Ballymena, Rathcoole, Dublin, Poland and the Ravenhill Road have been given homes. But what about local people in the community?” Kathy was keen to the point out “We are not racist. We understand people from different areas need housing in Belfast but residents in need of social housing were being ignored. This is about fighting for peoples right to housing.”

    Since Maggie Thatcher begun her policy of selling off the bulk of social housing in the 1980’s, there has been chronic underinvestment in provision of social housing. Many workers are simply having to put up with overcrowding and the stress that puts on families or living in poor quality private rentals. Privatisation of housing has led to unaffordable prices for most working class people. Landlordism and gentrification has led to the break-up of entire communities. The failure of the Assembly to achieve even it’s modest targets for constructing new social housing must be challenged. The action which brought results for Mersey Street residents shows how local communities can fight for the right to housing and is an example of how to do so. In order to solve the housing crisis the Assembly should launch a massive public housing building programme to provide quality housing…

    You can initiate all the anti racism strategies you like and what not, but if the reality is lack of affordable housing and people pulling their hair out wanting scarce public housing it is obvious race relations are going to suffer in that context.

    Not only has there been a housing policy failure nationally with this being compounded locally by long standing sectarianism here making the micro fall out all the more crude and bitter but there has been a failure in governance more generally, the way the economy has been run has been poor, it is unbalanced and tilted against the traditional working class I think it would be fair to say. Pro-market liberal politicians that talk about upskilling as if that can fix structural problems in the economy well that is just contemptible bullshit lies that play well with their liberal political market.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/forget-fair-play–example-3721361

    ‘Inequality is also ruining our economy, because the majority of people have little spare cash to spend in the shops, while a minority are using their spare millions to speculate on the housing market, making homes unaffordable for others.

    The UK is a country where sales of luxury handbags for dogs are booming while working people are in poverty.

    These are the conditions in which extremist political movements traditionally flourish.

    If this country is not to become a political, social and economic basket case, the Government must take action.

    We need to create well paid jobs beyond the capital.

    We need a proper rise in the minimum wage so the taxpayer doesn’t spend so much subsidising Scrooge employers.

    We need the rich to pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than those on low and middle incomes.

    But most of all we need to reduce the growing gap between the richest and the rest, otherwise the United Kingdom will be a fractured, fractious kingdom if it remains as unequal as this.’

  • DC

    Greenflag, cheers! I doubted whether I should be focusing on the bigger picture but was pretty convinced this whole thread was feeding off the bottom.

  • Greenflag

    Mick ,

    “We have tacitly conceded a lot of ground to bullies over the last 40 years.’

    Some might say almost 100 years in the case of the NI State and in the Ireland case several centuries .

    Bully boys rule dontcha know ?

    That which being but taught returns to plague the teacher as it were ;)

  • Framer

    Non EU-nationals are not permitted access to public housing in NI?
    Why is that not condemned as unfair discrimination?

  • Greenflag

    @ DC

    ‘but was pretty convinced this whole thread was feeding off the bottom.’

    In it’s various formats NI political debate has been feeding off the bottom for decades if not for almost a century :( The bottom is the lowest common denominator and in the world of tuppence and tuppence halfpenny -tuppence is never content and fears regress to penny status or even worse .

    The bigger picture is lost as the plebs grab for crumbs from whichever table can provide .That suits the powers that be and always has .In the end German capitalism and it’s political establishment sided with the totalitarian right and brownshirt thuggery over totalitarian communism lest we forget .

    ‘These are the conditions in which extremist political movements traditionally flourish.’

    Germany 1930′s – USA 1920/30′s -Russia 1917 -France 1789-China 1949 – Vietnam 1959 – etc etc . Why would the UK or Ireland or the modern USA be exceptions ?

    “If this country is not to become a political, social and economic basket case, the Government must take action.’

    They have taken action .They have surrendered to financial capital -just look at the visit of China’s number 2 with his promise of huge investment in guess where ? Scunthorpe ? try further south I’d say.

    ‘We need to create well paid jobs beyond the capital.’

    The Tories don’t care what happens beyond Potter’s Bar -it’s Anglia /Gallia /Scotia beyond the pale (financial pale that is ) . Thatcher’s legacy .

    ‘We need a proper rise in the minimum wage so the taxpayer doesn’t spend so much subsidising Scrooge employers.’

    Subsidising and bailing out the banksters has cost a lot more for the average Briton both directly and indirectly .(ditto for Ireland )

    ‘We need the rich to pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than those on low and middle incomes.But most of all we need to reduce the growing gap between the richest and the rest, otherwise the United Kingdom will be a fractured, fractious kingdom if it remains as unequal as this.

    The UK is not alone in this phenomenon of modern day economics . The USA is much worse and despite the gloss of EU propaganda many Germans are equally being pushed to the Wall .

    Whats needed is a new Bretton Woods but such is the power of international financial elites and in particular in their local bailiwicks that our politicians are terrified of implementing policies which would reduce the powers of these institutions for fear their particular nation would lose clout . It took World War 11 for Bretton Woods to come about which instituted a long period of international financial stability .From where I sit it looks as if the various western governments cannot agree among themselves so what hope for an agreement between with the Chinese , Russians , Brazilians etc etc .

    It’s ‘sauve qui peut ‘ for our western political elites in this globalised economy . They don’t have answers for the 40 to 50% of their populations who simply will be unable to compete in the ‘modern ‘ global economy . Capitalism (financial sector led ) looks like it has sown the seeds for it’s own destruction .

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Mick

    ‘My focus is on policy, not who’s worse than whom.’

    The only reason your focus is not on ‘who’s worse than whom’ is because you know full well ‘who’s worse than whom,’ but you can’t acknowledge it because it would undermine the pernicious narrative you seem determined to pervert the public discourse with.

  • Mick Fealty

    Nice piece of projection there Billy. For once we can fairly say that iluvni is not indulging in wanton #whataboutery. The point of the thread could not be clearer: ‘homes for locals’ is fine if it’s keeping the Taigs or the Prods out. But you really have to be shutting your eyes to a massive hypocrisy to pivot to ‘does not include ethnic minorities’.

  • DC

    Is there not segregated housing in Oldham and in other parts of England where public housing has been lost to racial segregation?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I remember the story pointed out by iluvni. This is a general problem.

    I think the debate in this case is around the fact that people actually camped outside the house of a disabled black man to prevent him from moving in. They knew nothing about him, his situation or the housing waiting list – how could they know how long he was on the waiting list or whether he qualified ? And the other part of the story is Peter Robinson taking it upon himself to provide moral support to the racists – something that could not happen in any other part of the UK.

    The Housing Executive of course must try to keep communities together, but this is not an overriding concern. It cannot be acceptable to have a situation where a disabled man who meets the residency requirements and is in dire housing need is pushed behind people who are not facing the same need – in fact it would probably be illegal under human rights/equality legislation. Not for nothing either; it was a significant moment in the late 1960s where a house in the Tyrone area was allocated to a single Protestant girl rather than a Catholic family facing dire need (one daughter of said Catholic family is now the Sinn Féin MP for the area).

  • gendjinn

    Mick,

    Nice piece of projection there Billy. For once we can fairly say that iluvni is not indulging in wanton #whataboutery. The point of the thread could not be clearer: ‘homes for locals’ is fine if it’s keeping the Taigs or the Prods out. But you really have to be shutting your eyes to a massive hypocrisy to pivot to ‘does not include ethnic minorities’.

    Yet the overwhelming majority of these cases occur in one community. It’s not that both sides are equally guilty. But as Billy point out, you know that, hence the false equivalency.

  • Sp12

    “Yet the overwhelming majority of these cases occur in one community. It’s not that both sides are equally guilty. But as Billy point out, you know that, hence the false equivalency.”

    Not at all!
    This post is about policy!
    You know, how incidents like Bombay street that led to our segregated living means that it’s everyone’s fault when Loyalists throw shit at people in the street and just burn them out at night and then their leaders fall over themselves trying to excuse it.

    As the local councillor/ex-mayor put it in regards to the latest incident
    ‘People shouldn’t take the law into their own hands’
    Indeed, leave the job of intimidating the darkies out of the area to the proper authorities.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sp12:

    You know, how incidents like Bombay street that led to our segregated living

    WHATABOUTERY KLAXON

  • Kensei

    Mick

    I think on the sectarian question, you are treating something very personal in the abstract. People really do what to live near their ma, the majority of people would avoid taking a house on the other side because it puts them at risk. Those are just facts, however inconvient you find them. I haven’t seen a huge amount of reports of people being forced out for sectarian reasons, presumably because they are less likely to be exposed to it nor I have I seen either side suggest that it is undesirable to favour locals OR that outsiders shouldn’t be accepted. So what do you do? The government can’t fix this. The only one I forgot was maybe ensuring new developments are mixed, but (1) there will be private housing in there these days so it might end up a problem anyway and (2) you are fairly open to accusations of social engineering rather than meeting need.

    Secondly, I can’t see the point of pretending the Unionist community doesn’t seem to have a bigger problem with racism. That isn’t to say that Nationalism is perfect, but it genuinely does appear less prevalent. Now given one incident is too much, perhaps the policy response is the same, but it does suggest U ionist politicians might have to push it a bit harder.

    I’ve yet to here anything workable for this. There needs to be long term incentives and opportunities put in place for people to mix, and the housing and schools will sort themselves. But if it isn’t bottom up it won’t take.

  • Sp12

    “WHATABOUTERY KLAXON”

    I’d take that Klaxon back to the manufacturer if I were you and demand a refund. It’s clearly defective/selective.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear! The OFMdFM issued a consultancy document on these issues:

    http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/racial-equality-strategy

    “A Sense of Belonging: Delivering Social Change through a Racial Equality Strategy for Northern Ireland 2014 – 2024″

    “The First Minister and deputy First Minister have launched the new Racial Equality Strategy for consultation. The proposals have been developed with minority ethnic representative groups and representatives of the wider community through our Racial Equality Panel.
    The Strategy will establish a framework for Government departments and others:

    i) to tackle racial inequalities and to open up opportunity for all;
    ii) to eradicate racism and hate crime; and
    iii) along with Together: Building a United Community, to promote good race relations and social cohesion.”

    Perfect timing with Peter’s current intervension. So yet another attempt to throw a few polite middle class fig leafs across the naked bigotry of our masters is foiled by Peter’s realisation that after his party’s performance during the Flegger fiasco all the “nice people [will] vote UUP” and his last ditch of chances of hanging on a while must of necessity be from him making it clear he stands alongside the unregenerate loyalist lumpenproleteriot, whom he must now court with his every breath.

    On a serious note, if the document is to mean anything it needs to be integrated with policy in all departments, and to avoid system crashing conflicts that are all too common between departments, such as are described over on the thread “@CaralNiChuilin on dealing with the past.”

    But can anyone have any faith in a proposed new policy one of whose sponsors has just diluted to almost nothing?

  • Mick Fealty

    gendjinn,

    You mean problems between ‘locals’ and ethnic minority immigrants? Well, that may or may not be true. I’ve not seen any detail raised on it in this thread, but I’m willing to accept that since most immigrant communities (even Catholic Poles) seem more likely to settle in Unionist majority areas it’s likely to be a problem which presents more prominently in Loyalist rather than Republican areas. What’s the experience like in Dungannon or Portadown for instance?

    I don’t think that any of these issues should be ducked, but what I am pointing to specifically is a 40 year plus government funded culture of themuns and usuns which in itself is a profound rejection of any ‘diversity in living’ arrangement in public housing. It leads to some pretty ugly stuff where people who dare to cross boundaries (like that young bloke did the other day to visit friends on the other side).

    Planks and motes people. Does no one read their ST Matthew these days?

    We have a resident policy structure which discriminates (albeit on the grounds of public order and safety) between types of people and then we wonder why or how we have a problem with racist assumptions about who or what is entitled to what house. I’ve heard of people in West Belfast being told to get out of their houses for having the wrong political view.

    So I ask again: who really is going to pick up this two ended sh!tty stick with any authority and tackle the problem at source?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    I didn’t say it would be easy. I’m also no sure that living near your ma should trump someone else in housing need when there is a shortage all round.

    It took us forty years to get into this mess, and it will take a lot longer if we continue to settle for this pretendy-makey-uppy politics that tells us walls are coming down when in fact not only are they still going up but the political hand which drove them to come out and be separate is still ‘in uachtar’ as they say in Irish.

    The fear that drives people to want to keep the walls is still there and it is real enough. And it is this that is not being addressed.

    I don’t drive down the Donegall Road much any more, but for a long time after 69/70 the old Catholic houses down by the old Monarch Laundry were a testimony to just how fluid boundaries had once been even after the truly terrifying events of the 20s, and how in some parts of the city just how immutable they have become.

    I think Granni’s point about the time when west Belfast became one place is also very illustrative in that regard. It became one when it became a fortress against the chaos in the city outside and provided refuge for homeless Catholic families often housing them in places like Moyard which had once housed a majority of Protestant families.

    Forty years is a hell of a lot of history to unravel.

  • Kensei

    Mick

    I’ve not saying that living near your ma trumps actual need, but connection to a community is a valid consideration and not just a sectarian impulse. All things being equal, or maybe as a factor in a points based system, it might tip the balance.

    It is very easy to mix paint, and damn near impossible to unmix it. You can’t just tear down the walls and have at it, unless you have a serious amount of resources to marshal and tackle it like a military campaign. There needs to be groundwork put in place first – maybe you need to start with a zero tolerance policy to sectarian crime, maybe you need to strategically build shared spaces along the lines, maybe you need to economically build up the areas but it needs to something coherent.

    The Executive obviously hasn’t got that, but then again the Alliance doesn’t really either. I just feel the side swipe here (1) asks the wrong question and (2) by muddying the water with comparing it with racism, makes it easy to defend and lets people off the hook you obviously want them on.

  • Morpheus

    And there’s the mandatory u-turn…

    I wonder if he knows which way is up

    Time to go Pete

  • Mick Fealty

    I agree with most of that ken, keep people corralled for safety reasons for long enough and it’s tough to release them again.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Could we bus in loadsa Orthodox Jews from Israel?

    Use them as some sort of multicultural beach head as judging by the number of Israeli flags in some unionist areas they’d be given a warm (read: non-violent) welcome.

    After a few years when the locals have gotten used to foreign languages, different dress and ‘thoseuns’ (not to be confused with ‘themuns’) then maybe others could follow in their wake?

    The irony of Belfast’s shrinking Jewish population: It’s one of the few cities that never gave them a hard time (on the grand scheme of things) and yet the population has almost bottomed out.

    Just throwing out ideas people….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear, Am Ghobsmacht! The problem is that the locals occasionally put up the flag of Israel alongside the Swastika red black and white flag. I opened the can of worms over on a much earlier thread and it ended up attracting a lot of aggression from those who have only seen the Israeli flag on the Ormeau road.

    And, on another tack, its one thing to fly the blue and white flag if you believe that you are a descendent of the Dannite colony at Tara, and quite another thing to actually host a community of practicing Jewish orthodox who might just have their own ideas about this local article of faith.

  • Reader

    Policywise, letting the worst elements in any area dictate who could or could not live nearby was always a risky strategy. Maybe the authorities thought it was manageable when everyone who had to depend on public housing provision could safely be put in one of two buckets (and everyone else got out of the buckets ASAP).
    But even before we discovered we had some real diversity here there were problems – entrenched sectarianism and territoriality, peace walls, paramilitary control of areas, organised crime and vigilantism. That’s not even considering that everyone seems to want to live on the same street as their granny.
    And now Northern Ireland is starting to see a bit of real diversity.
    I don’t think I believe in ‘local houses for local people’ anyway, but the local activists who do believe it have done absolutely everything wrong:
    Complaining about housing policy – then hassle your MLA.
    Complaining about implementation of housing policy – then hassle the housing executive.
    Want a bit of sympathy for your case – don’t start persecuting a disabled person from an ethnic minority who just happens to have been allocated a house.
    The nicest thing you could say about the protesters would be to call them misguided. I’m sure there’s far worse than that amongst them.

  • DC

    Perhaps it is because unionists are more emotionally committed to Northern Ireland and much more passionate about the way housing allocation is governed.

  • Morpheus

    Yes DC, only Unionists are passionate about housing allocation, Nationalists are well known for their laissez-faire attitude when it comes to housing allocation

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_Civil_Rights_Association

  • DC

    Thought that might smoke you out.

    Let me flesh out my earlier comment by saying psychologically perhaps certain unionist folk mistakenly believe that localised protesting may well revise and modify the way existing housing is allocated by mistakenly having faith that this sort of behaviour may well affect thinking of internal decision makers within the NI HEXE and Stormont.

    Nationalists would probably contend that N Ireland is in general a dispossessing entity and proper fairness will only come about with its removal and that’s where much more passion lies, of course while passionate about housing are probably less likely to lose their head in today’s circumstances, given their belief that as a people they have been shafted when it comes to housing any way for ages and ages and ages. Nationalist street protests on this issue are played out and today are perhaps more measured and subdued because of this history and action already having been taken. So today complaints may be suitably dealt with politically by using party politics and relying on political representation from SF who may be more networked on the ground on this issue, than unionism is. A debate around housing has long been had within nationalism and as a people they are much more knowledgeable about how things work and of course know how it did work against them.

    Whereas unionist-minded folk perhaps are more into direct street protests, a sort of rugged individualism if you want change make it happen by doing it for yourself approach and directly protesting at this guy’s house, mistakenly relying on this activity to elicit some sort of suitable internal HEXE response, perhaps driven on by a belief that NI government will listen and change. Whereas nationalists have no belief in or emotional connection to NI government nor having much belief that they can rely on its governance to make things better for them except by removing the government, traditional nationalists are working to remove the state as redress and remedy not looking for answers internally.

  • DC

    Maybe following in the foot steps of the outworking of the NICRA perhaps if people actually want local housing for local people bad enough they should just blow up Britain? Don’t look for answers internally eg regionally go external go national in order to get redress as they see it, as has happened before?

  • Morpheus

    DC, are you trying to say that the NICRA wanted equality in housing so they sent the IRA to blow up Britain?

    If so you have a disgustingly low opinion of your fellow human beings, people you don’t even know – shame on you and whoever dragged you up that way.

    If not, what are you trying to say?

  • DC

    Nationalists protesting over housing would look bizarrely anachronistic and would probably bring other locals out onto the street saying “fckn wise up and put your banners down we’ve been shafted decades over housing, ‘ats jus the way it is here”.

  • Morpheus

    On that we can agree. To this day 16 of the 20 most socially deprived wards are Catholic yet they are not in the street protesting about it – even though they should be – because there is almost a subservient acceptance of ‘ack well, that’s just the way it is’ and ‘look what we are up against’

    It’s the same acceptance which ensures the nationalist politicians are never held to account for non-delivery in these socially deprived areas

  • Comrade Stalin

    SP12,

    Well done for invoking whataboutery in the course of defending the accusation of whataboutery against yourself!

  • Sp12

    I couldn’t care less what you accuse me of to be honest, you should go back to discussing that bit of graffiti on a wall that with that guy mentioned earlier. It’s very relevant to all the racist attacks in Unionist areas.

  • MYtwocents

    whoo Am, I been thinking that as well (for years) had at the end of the second world war the allies chose Ireland instead of Palestine as a home for Europe’s Jews it would have stopped two of todays world trouble hot spots. but they did not.

    So, have a border poll, unionism will win put aside the constitutional question for 50 years enforce integrated education and lo and behold the child of the child I hope to see born tomorrow will live in and know a place where the mantra is Lets All love Each Other.

  • GEF

    “Local houses for local people”

    The way things are going it won’t be long before there are banners for “Local doctors for local people”

    “Widow aged 95 with failing eyesight is kicked off her GP’s register to make way for migrants. Doctors say they cannot cope with town’s soaring population”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2665295/Widow-aged-95-kicked-GPs-register-make-way-migrants-Doctors-cope-towns-soaring-population.html#ixzz35SVfGteg