Forget about platforms. Why not just do it?

Eamonn McCann thinks talking about change will have limited appeal unless it comes with a proposal for material change that people will be motivated to vote for:

History teaches that the only occasions when sizable numbers of Protestants and Catholics have detached themselves from communal allegiance to make common cause have been occasions when they came together to fight together – 1907, 1911, 1932 and onwards to 2010. There is no recorded case of any such thing happening as a result of people being preached at.

The struggle to realign politics along non-sectarian lines must have a material as well as a moral basis. It is precisely in defending the public sector against the ideological assaults of privateers, for whom the pursuit of profit is the only engine for driving society forward, that the material base can be found.

Every wave of cross-community action for the betterment of all has eventually receded, leaving the contours of the political terrain unchanged.

Cynicism re-emerges to ride high and proclaim that no new narratives are possible in Northern Ireland politics; that we are fated to live forever through nothing but the same old story.

And why? McCann’s answer is as entertaining as it is damning and direct:

One reason this happens is that that decent and well-meaning people who devoutly wish to be done with the ugliness of communal hostilities have no stomach for immersing themselves in the rowdy masses, either; wouldn’t be seen dead on a picket line against privatisation, think slashing the wages of public servants a jolly good thing and not before time, reckon that it’s a sign of Executive weakness that water charges weren’t brought in long ago, advocate the demonstrably nonsensical notion that the private sector (banks were private sector, right?) will always serve society better than public provision.

When it comes to turning ideals into material reality, too many in Platform for Change are to be found on the wrong side of the barricades.

They are guilty of the age-old Irish sin – the expectation of salvation without adopting the necessary means to attain it.

It’s a class thing.

Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger.

While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.