Sinn Fein’s [amended?] Water Tax policy…

Just before the elections Sinn Fein berated the Unions (broken, if inadvertantly, on Slugger Radio) for not threatening to take unilateral action to stop Water Rates bills hitting households. At the time it came out of nowhere. Last night, on UTV, Mitchel McLaughlin seemed to put some flesh on its bare bones. El Blogador has more detail. However, if Eamon McCann is to be believed Water Rates were never going to be subject to any serious re-negotiation. Never mind the quality,

, ,

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    Might be an idea to get Mitchel’s full and unamended position, carried here today.

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/18508

  • SuperSoupy

    One element of the water story lost in the electoral melee: one of the main postal workers union decided to vote on exactly the course of action suggested by Mitchel, they even called on the other unions to do similar.

    Mitchel has already clarified his position:

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/news/detail/18508

    As yet no one taking information from Gary Mulcahy has asked him if his pronouncements on the matter aren tainted through his membership of the Socialist Party who are using the campaign as a front. The SP HQ share a telephone number with the ‘We Won’t Pay campaign’ that Gary only mentions when fronting this campaign.

    It’s a political front and anyone allowing the Socialist Party to get away with this nonsense and spin deserves taken for a ride by the SWP next.

  • SuperSoupy

    btw: here’s the proof the ‘We won’t pay’ campaign is a Socialist Party front (a google on the telephone number):

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLR_enGB208GB208&q=028+90+311778

    and spokesperson Gary:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rlz=1T4GGLR_enGB208GB208&q=gary+mulcahy+socialist+party&meta=

    People can take their spin however they wish. It needs to be clear this is a poorly disguised political front organisation grinding a political axe it is too insecure to raise under it’s true banner.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    So let’s be clear then: Sinn Fein are in favour of water charges.

  • SuperSoupy

    Gonzo,

    “”Sinn Féin’s position is absolutely clear. We are opposed to people having to pay twice for any service. We have pointed out to the British government that we are already paying for water and sewage through the Regional rate. Sinn Féin will also lead the way in opposing any attempts to privatise our water service.”

    Do you read the links? We already pay for water.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Do you read the links? We already pay for water.

    What were the charges for then ?

    If the government is implementing a new tax, then they have a plan for spending it. Take the tax away, and the money isn’t there anymore. Which area of public spending are SF/DUP going to cut ?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Do you read the links? We already pay for water.

    Yes, I know.

    What are you bothered about? SF are in favour of water charges. Simple. Fact.

  • SuperSoupy

    CS,

    Paying to rectify years of underinvestment is what the charge is about.

    Water charges were incorporated into the regional rate in 1990 – even the British admit this.

    Deal with the mismanagement of direct rule via additional investment as most parties suggest. (maybe not Alliance, they recently said we shouldn’t ask for further money)

    Then if people wish to see a separate water charge, isolate that element from the regional rate it is already paid under and people can present arguments for any/no change to a service charge already being paid.

  • SuperSoupy

    Gonzo,

    Hair splitting. SF believe we pay for water and sewerage under the regional rate. They aren’t arguing that charge should be removed. Who is?

    It’s already paid for, double payment is what is being rejected.

    What’s your problem? Or is it just silly spinning?

    Are you saying that your prefered party is demanding the water charge element of the regional rate should be removed? Hardline stuff.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    OK, I like hair splitting.

    But ALL the main political parties are in favour of water charges, as far as I’m concerned, otherwise they’d back the Don’t Pay campaign.

    They don’t, ergo…

  • BG-

    But the campaign mentioned is inextricably linked with the Socialist Party. Why would any of the mainstream parties wish to associate themselves with a vehicle of a fringe party? As the parties of government, it’s their actions in the assembly to stop water charging (or not) which will count, not backing any particular campaign.

    That said, SF do now seem to be backtracking and appear to be edging towards a water tax of some sort. As for the other parties, deciding not to affiliate themselves with the We Won’t Pay Campaign should not be construed as de facto support for charging.

    Ultimately it matters not what campaign parties back or what petitions they sign- it’s how they legislate that counts.

  • Shore Road Resident

    There is an entirely separate and non-SWP non-payment campaign run by the main unions. The parties are all free to back that without political contamination and they have refused to do so – although they normally jump on every union-led bandwagon.

    Like Gonzo says, SF backs water charges. Simple. As. And by backing separate water charges they back privatisation. Simple As.

    I grow weary of SouperSoupy’s endless party apologias. Go bore some other tunnel, loser.

  • Dave

    I thought this giant peace dividend was going to pay for the neglect the water and sewage industry has faced for some time now.

    Jeffrey Donaldson on Spotlight last week claimed the DUP would be taking care of the water issue, so is this another DUP broken pledge.

  • SuperSoupy

    SSR,

    Don’t like it, tough.

    The Socialist Party has claimed internal agitation by their members led to the ‘separate’ movement.

    http://www.socialistworld.net/eng/2007/03/07northernireland.html

    Apart from the left-led Fire Brigades Union, the only union to consistently back non-payment and to support the We Won’t Pay Campaign, the union leaderships initially resisted the non-payment call. But the growing mood against charges in working class areas and the pressure the union leaders came under from within their own ranks forced a change of position.

    A number of key trade union conferences have now backed non-payment motions moved by Socialist Party members.

    A social agitation movement, as El Mat notes, but a problem that will actually be resolved by elected politicians in a functioning democratic assembly not loopy left agitation.

  • runciter

    a problem that will actually be resolved by elected politicians in a functioning democratic assembly not loopy left agitation

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  • merrie

    Well, if water was already covered by the regional rates, then maybe the threatened (extra) water tax was just another British cudgel to beat the DUP into submission.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Deal with the mismanagement of direct rule via additional investment as most parties suggest. (maybe not Alliance, they recently said we shouldn’t ask for further money)

    Ah right, so your strategy is to get the begging bowl out then. What do you do if they say no ? You can’t go and blow up Bishopsgate again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dave:

    Jeffrey Donaldson on Spotlight last week claimed the DUP would be taking care of the water issue, so is this another DUP broken pledge.

    Actually, neither SF nor the DUP can be seen to be doing a u-turn over this matter. They’ll abolish water charges, but to compensate there’ll have to be either an increase in the rates or a cut in public spending.

    The Brits may well agree to a one-off cash injection, but they’re not going to fund the charge indefinitely. To me, using the one-off cash injection to temporarily stop water bills (rather than, say, investing in a fleet of new trains or buses, or refurbishing or building new housing stock in deprived areas of Belfast) is not the best use of public money.

    I do not understand why the leftie organizations and unions are presenting this as some kind of working class crusade. Poorer people will receive assistance with the water bills, and the highest water charges will be paid by the more well-off people living in affluent areas (who can well afford it). Therefore – it seems to me – cancelling water charges in fact is a sop to the middle classes. Who will benefit more from the Brit subsidy cash – the guy on the Malone Road paying £900/year for his water, or the guy on the Falls/Shankill/whatever paying the minimum charge of £90-£135/year ?