Sinn Fein cannot protect people on benefits by magnifying the harm of the original cuts

So Cameron has said, no. Nick Clegg has said no. And David Ed Miliband has said no. In the meantime, Sinn Fein stayed well clear of last Thursday’s The View when Simon Hamilton dished the dirt on their avoidance of the question of a governmental budget which is crumbling:

And after three days of ‘thinking’, John O’Dowd (the guy who always gets to clear up the party’s mess) struggled to explain his party’s refusal to discuss the matter at the Executive table.

So what’s the exit strategy? After cashiering the wise counsel of Leo Green, there isn’t one.

For Sinn Fein the important thing it seems is to be seen to protest, even as you make things worse. As the DUP’s Lee Reynolds has noted on Slugger, you cannot protect people on benefits by magnifying the harm of original offence.

And it should be noted that what passes for the party’s policy track is driving lemming like* towards an even larger fiscal cliff. As Reynolds notes:

The savings of utilising national computer systems will go. We will have to spend hundreds of millions of pounds to create our own computer systems. This will have to be taken from our capital budget, which is a key driver in our local construction industry and the IT contracts could end up with a non-NI contractor.

*apologies to all members of the Lemming genus, we do know you are not that stupid

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Tacapall

    Its called brinkmanship Mick there is no other path for republicanism to go, this is not just about Welfare reform this is focusing minds on other aspects of the GFA that haven’t been honored. If unionists have no problems wasting one million pounds a month protecting a few old men up at Camp Twaddle then they wont get much sympathy from nationalists about Sinn Fein costing us millions in fines from our British overlords.

  • Michael Henry

    Simon Hamilton could be one of Robinsons Lemmings for all we know- Untill Robinson makes it public who he regards Fruity in The DUP we have to think of them all as Robinsons fruit drops-

    Cameron Clegg Miliband all voted for the bombers to bomb again a few days ago- surly nobody who supports Peace can take those war mongers seriously –

  • barnshee

    ” costing us millions in fines from our British overlords.”

    It all really hinges on who actually “pays” the cost of “millions in fines from our British overlords.”
    I would suggests that the protagonists at Twaddell won`t.–

    The cops will get huge overtime to pay off mortgages/ fund student children/big holidays etc etc, —- win win really (for the cops)

  • mickfealty

    I’d say a rude word, but I cannot do so without having to give myself a red card.

    Sympathy may well be endless in some quarters, but the damage of the strategy is already done. And it will come out of health, schools, etc..

    As Newton Emerson noted on the View ( we’ve been saved enduring any cuts by having set the budget over a three year period.

    So the cuts in the budget now, haven’t arisen from the next deflationary rounds they’re caused in the final analysis by these self imposed protests, although they are going to hit knuckle because the management of ministerial budgets have been less than impressive.

  • Tacapall

    Pointing fingers of blame at Sinn Fein for not imposing Tory cuts on the poor while supporting billions of taxpayers money being spent fighting bankers wars in the middle east is an enigma most right thinking people cannot fathom either. Perhaps unionism will see the mote in its own eye before pointing out the speck of sawdust in Sinn Feins.

  • Zeno1

    That’s just a red herring and an attempt to deflect. Michael above said much the same thing. Is that the new SF line now? Do you Guys get emails telling you what to say or do they phone you?

  • Comrade Stalin

    For Sinn Fein the important thing it seems is to be seen to protest, even as you make things worse

    I wrote a whole blog about this. It’s the same with the unionists – the Twaddell protest just makes the problem worse but they want to be seen to be doing something even if the something makes it fail.

    Overall I think this is just an outworking of identity politics. Politicians are judged on their conformance to the identity rather than their ability to deliver.

    I think SF are making a serious miscalculation here and it could spell the end of the Adams leadership if things go wrong.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Your comment is revealing and of course, true. Sinn Féin care more about not being seen to be imposing cuts than they care about actually alleviating hardship.

  • Tacapall

    Obviously your rush to comment clouded your memory Zeno, I’ve told you many times my view that Irish people should take no part in British elections but if you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend that financing the endless bankers wars around the world is not more financially draining or damaging than refusing to take from the poor in order to finance it then go ahead who cares.

  • Zeno1

    Never mind the cuts Comrade, what about those bombs in Iraq???

  • Tacapall

    “I think SF are making a serious miscalculation here and it could spell the end of the Adams leadership if things go wrong”

    What can possibly go wrong Comrade ?

  • Zeno1

    I’ve no idea what you are talking about now. I was just making an observation that you and Michael jumped in with much the same comment on a thread about welfare reform.
    He never mind the cuts what about those bombers in Iraq eh?

  • Tacapall

    I dont believe in coincidence Zeno but I do agree with Michael’s post and the thread is about the allocation of taxpayers money. I begrudgingly have to pay tax too so if its ok with you people like myself and MH are allowed an opinion on what it should be spent on.

  • sean treacy

    Strange Mick that throughout this whole discussion you have NEVER mentioned the fact that the STOOPS have also opposed the welfare cuts.They have escaped your wrath entirely.

  • mickfealty


    Go and try and wind someone else up, preferably somewhere else. (That’s a Yellow for you BTW)…

  • Zeno1

    Seriously Mick?

  • Morpheus

    What has identity politics got to do with it? Poverty doesn’t give a crap what religion you are or what identity you have. Low income families of children will be hit hardest – again identity/religion doesn’t come into it.

  • mickfealty

    Yeah, what Tac said? What do you think they have to lose?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, Tac,

    A continuing drop in SF’s performance at the polls in NI.

    A collapse in the assembly putting lots of SF MLAs and staff (often family members and party faithful) out of work.

    Bad opinion poll showings in the RoI as a consequence of said collapse.

    To paraphrase House of Cards “Nothing lasts for ever. Even the longest, most glittering reign must come to an end”. This brinkmanship over welfare reform strikes me as the kind of political hubris that so often turns out to be fatal.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What has identity politics got to do with it? Poverty doesn’t give a crap what religion you are or what identity you have.

    No, but the need to stand up to themmuns, or the need to protect oneself from whatever imaginary scary threat against your culture/rights/ is being warned about by the political talking heads, overrides any concerns about poverty across most of our electorate.

  • Jag

    At some point pre reunification, the finances of Northern Ireland’s economy need to become transparent.

    Right now, unelected politicians in London pull numbers out of their arse to justify NI economic policy. That needs to stop at some point. 2014 and welfare reform – this is as good a juncture as any to make a stand.

    No other country in the world runs a 25% deficit (and neither in fact does NI when you take into account the taxes and duties collected by London but which were generated in NI). Time to open the books.

  • Morpheus

    Not seeing this time CS. £750m a year, 33% of children in poverty by 2020, removing JSA from 18-24 year olds, massive increase in food banks, cutting taxes for the rich, low income families with children hardest hit, high deprivation…it affects us all regardless of religion and identity.

  • Morpheus

    Don’t see it. As soon as businesses start closing, the 18-24 year olds lose their JSA and parents start going to food banks to feed their children then they will be saying to the likes of the DUP “how the feck did you allow this to happen and why did you just roll over”

  • sean treacy

    Comrade you say SFstaff are “often family members” Care to give us some examples ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    How are you able to make the claim that NI does not run a deficit, if by your own admission the books are not open and the facts are not available ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    You are not reading what I’m saying. Try again.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You’re now getting into fantasy layered upon fantasy.

    When have you seen the electorate in NI – ever, in our entire history – respond to social concerns such as poverty or unemployment ?

    BTW these deep swingeing welfare reforms are not new, we’ve been here before. Thatcher slashed like crazy in the first half of the 1980s (the welfare system you are defending as the minimum standard is mostly a Thatcherite one). Yet we’re still here.

  • Zig70

    I’m not sure what it is but most northern nationalist that I know have a strong social consciousness. Maybe it’s that there are very few that haven’t seen poverty or been out of work in our recent history. The SDLP support this position as well. It’s not a stretch to realize that the headline figures in benefit payments are for large families and it’s the kids that will suffer. The kids that we should be supporting to a life out of benefits in the future. Standing up to the greedy right is a vote winner, win or lose. The fact that it makes the unionists realize that they have no real power is just sugar on top.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I said “often family members and party faithful”. Fra McCann employs Paul Maskey’s niece, but other than that the rest are party faithful.

  • Jag

    Didn’t say NI doesn’t have a deficit, just that it’s not 25%. How do I know? With 6% unemployment and an advanced economy, we would have to be dingbats to have a 25% deficit.

    Am sick to death of being a victim of London’s accounting which doesn’t accurately reflect economic activity in NI.

  • Comrade Stalin

    All of that is an electoral relevance. SDLP voters support them because they are nationalists, not because they are Labour. That’s why they vote SDLP and not, for example, the NI Labour Party.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You said “No other country in the world runs a 25% deficit (and neither in fact does NI…)”

    How do you know what sort of deficit NI runs, or does not run, if you don’t have access to the actual figures ?

    With 6% unemployment and an advanced economy, we would have to be dingbats to have a 25% deficit.

    What’s this 25% you’re talking about ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Because the votes of the Stoops aren’t decisive in the matter, as I think is self-evident.

  • Jag

    How do you know the sun will come up tomorrow?

    6% unemployment in a country with 1.8m population and an advanced economy, well, maybe the sun mightn’t come up tomorrow, but the smart money will be that it will. Ditto with NI deficit,

    25% deficit is so-called “subvention” of GBP 10bn divided by NI GDP (estimated at GBP 50bn).

  • Comrade Stalin

    Where did you get this estimate of NI’s GDP being £50bn ? I’d hate to think that having complained of others pulling numbers out of their arses that you’d be doing the same thing.

    I’m also curious about your characterization of NI’s economy as “advanced”. The largest private sector employers in NI are supermarkets and the state accounts for a huge proportion of the overall level of employment.

  • barnshee

    as previously advised-
    NI has 2,8% of the UK population if you are content to rub along on 2,8m % of the UK tax take HMG will be delighted to facilitate you

  • Robin Keogh

    He didnt struggle to explain anything. In fact he was crystal clear. He said that the document which was comprenensive was only made available 24hrs before hand which was not adequete time to have a substantial discussion about it. And he was correct.

  • Robin Keogh

    Jag you are perfectly correct here. Apart from the fact that much of the figures are cloaked in Mystery, 3billion of the deficit is spent between NI share of the UK defense budget and the national debt, both of which could be cut even temorarily to give some relief to the assembly.

  • Robin Keogh

    Comrade it really is hard to take u serious when u dont even know who the Norths largest employer is

  • Morpheus

    It also contained a £10m
    bid from his department that he did not make. They absolutely did the right thing, any of us would but as usual because it’s the Shinners…

  • Morpheus

    I have read what you’ve written and I think it’s complete BS. You have tried to sectarianize an issue which effects everyone regardless of religion or identity. Why is beyond me.

    Maybe it’s you who need to try again eh?

    And try losing the attitude, it’s very unbecoming.

  • Tacapall

    Comrade so do you think Gerry Adams is bluffing when he said Sinn Fein are prepared to let the assembly collapse over Welfare reform ? Do you actually believe this whole stalemate is just about welfare reform. The brinkmanship over welfare reform can and will focus minds, it might be fatal for the DUP or the UUP it may even split unionism but I cant see the fall of the assembly or the refusal to implement welfare reform doing Sinn Fein any electoral damage either in this part of Ireland or the 26 counties. How much in fines has it cost the assembly so far refusing to implement welfare reform and how much has policing Camp Twaddle cost so far, it wouldn’t be far off neck and neck and with a pointless expensive parades inquiry demanded by the unionist cabal of DUP,UUP,TUV,UVF,UDA before they take part in talks, the type of inquiry the likes of unionism and the British government deny innocent victims of state collusion, you then start to understand Sinn Fein aren’t the only people playing political brinkmanship.

  • Reader

    Do you mean by reducing UK defence spending and debt repayments, or by letting (e.g.) Scotland take Northern Ireland’s share for a few years (favour to be repayed…)?
    Either way, I’m not sure why anyone would wish to accommodate Sinn Fein in that way. They don’t even vote in Westminster

  • Jag

    My mistake, not used to late nights!

    NI GDP in 2011 according to Eurostat report in 2014 was €38bn (or GBP 29bn at current exchange rates).

    Northern Ireland’s “fiscal deficit” is GBP 9.6bn according to Simon Hamilton

    If the deficit is 33% or 25%, then NI is the worst economic basket case in the world.

    The deficit in the Republic this year should be sub-4% and sub-3% in 2015 (same as UK).

  • Jag

    Only by opening the books, and getting a proper accounting for NI’s economy, can we see the scope of the problem.

  • Croiteir

    This is the sort of politics that I want SF to engage in. The Welfare cuts will of course have to be rejected as SF cannot impose cuts here and condemn FG/Lab for implementing them in the south. This is only all -Ireland politics in action.

    I also do not care if Stormont collapses, just proves that partition is inherently unstable and is a failed political experiment.

    The benefit is of course that we can now get the British around the table and insist that the British force the Irish Language Act through, that Irish flags and emblems are of equal importance and legitimacy and this will be reflected legally, that north south bodies are set up with real power. That sort of thing.

    All to play for an the unionists are playing into the nationalist hands once again.

  • sean treacy

    So thats the best you can up with.If any jounalist came up with the line that SF employ “often family members ” and come up with the ridiculous example you just gave there would be hoots of derision for that scribe and whatever tabloid rag allowed them to write it!

  • Robin Keogh

    U landed urself in it there fella

  • Robin Keogh

    They have little choice as they only pay the average industrial wage.

  • Robin Keogh

    Mick, u must realise that it would be suicide for SF to support welfare reform in the six? The southern establishment and media would demolish them no?

  • mickfealty

    I do Robin. But you also have to ask yourself who got them into that position? I mean we don’t make excuses for Enda when he screws up royally, or Micheal Martin. Here’s some things you might also consider:

    – The SDLP was onto the Welfare stuff long before it even registered with SF. They came late to the party with a limited hand to play.

    – So, it seems to me, someone thought it would be good politics to outbid the SDLP by promising to use their position in OFMdFM to block the reforms.

    – It’s a repeat of Peter Robinson abandoning responsibilities of the Castle to protect base votes and join the mob in the streets over #flegs.

    Now I’ve not seen the internal papers on costs which apparently have been prepared by DSD but the party is now offering to die in the ditch to keep benefits at current level by burning policing, culture and pretty much everything else outside Health and Education.

    Oh, and then there’s the replacement to the software when Whitehall switches it off (£1 Billion). This is a fight you really don’t want to have picked. They’re getting away with it because the press generally haven’t taken the trouble to look at or try to explain the detail.

    When things go wrong it is as well for all of us to understand why its going wrong.

    So the problem is to be socialised again whilst other parties to the problem figure how to give SF something to take the focus off welfare and prevents them looking like complete idiots. Thus the new mega talks about something, something, something with a softer deadline…

  • Comrade Stalin

    As a person who often lies awake at night wondering about his credibility among Shinnerbots who can’t spell or punctuate, I’m extremely grateful for your informative feedback.

  • mickfealty

    What does that mean though Tac? An election? Then what? Come April the fines are imposed and £200 mill goes from the budget. If SF don’t blink the capital budget gets whacked to build a new IT system to sustain old benefits?

    Or do we have another collapse? Direct Rule? What happens then? Welfare returned to Whitehall the poor get clubbed, with no defence from our local heros?

    Or… [please do fill in the blanks? I’d appreciate the help seeing this all more clearly from a SF pov…]

  • Comrade Stalin

    Okay, now we’ve got some numbers.

    Your argument is upside down and actually proves the point that you think you are trying to refute.

    You are saying out that Northern Ireland would not be sustainable if it were a country operating by itself. This is true. Northern Ireland has high public spending which is only possible because of the subsidy coming from the UK which is a G8 country with a very large tax base.

    If Northern Ireland became an independent state tomorrow, this deficit would be unsustainable. It would have to either substantially increase taxes, or reduce public spending (or a combination of both).

    If you think the true subsidy to Northern Ireland is lower than what the treasury’s figures say that it is, you need to come up with some sort of evidence.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Morpheus, we are back here again, dealing with the problems caused by you reading things that I haven’t said.

    A few days ago I gave the opinion that it was impossible to change the minds of the Conservative government in Westminster and that we would simply have to deal with this. You interpreted this as me suggesting that I supported the cuts and didn’t care about poor people, despite me saying no such thing.

    Now I’m trying to pointing out that Northern Ireland votes along sectarian lines and that will not change despite the effects of welfare cuts/reform. You are interpreting this as me attempting to sectarianize an issue, when I’m doing no such thing. It is laughable and beyond credibility to suggest that, after a century of tribal voting, Northern Ireland will immediately abandon sectarian politics over what is, compared with other occasions (such as Thatcher’s welfare cuts, or the end of student grants/introduction of student fees) a relatively modest set of reforms.

    You seem to have some trouble understanding the difference between a person explaining that an unfavourable option is the only thing which is possible (which is what I’m doing), and that same person advocating the unfavourable option (which is what you seem to read into everything). I can’t help you with that, although it does make me wonder why exactly you are here – it certainly doesn’t seem to be to inform and expand your understanding through discourse.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think SF are bluffing and I believe they will allow the assembly to collapse, simply because they have (apparently intentionally) painted themselves into a corner with no way out.

    I also don’t think they are the only ones playing brinkmanship. We have far too much of that going on.

    If I were an SF activist, I might be concerned that, following a collapse of the assembly, the Northern electorate will compare between the two possible outcomes. The first outcome is where the assembly enacts welfare reform, and remains in operation. The second is where the assembly is prorogued, and the British government enacts welfare reform. Either way, you have welfare reform and you are not able to stop it. Voters will therefore ask what the point was in allowing the assembly to collapse, especially if this results in other British reforms (such as water charges).

    Voters in the 26 may, in turn, wonder if SF’s failure to deal with economic reality makes them unfit for government. After all, if they are prepared to collapse Stormont then wouldn’t they also be prepared to collapse the Dáil in a scenario where Ireland’s reputaton on global capital markets would be at stake ?

    You can stretch your support base but there is a breaking point.

    As for the unionists, I think they are also facing the prospect of damage over their antics at Twaddle. It looks like they are going to get their enquiry – but how are their supporters going to react when said enquiry fails to deliver a march down the Crumlin Road ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The southern establishment and media will demolish them if Stormont collapses.

    Things are different in the RoI – you can’t just blame it all on the unionists.

    Being in government involves having a bad choice, and a worse choice, and selecting between the two. You can’t sit on the fence.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s a good thing I’m not a journalist, isn’t it ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    That’s a very good point, and it supports what I am saying.

    All those elected SF members pay the remaining part of their salary into the party.

    If the assembly gets suspended, that flow of cash stops, and so does the employment of anyone who was funded directly or indirectly by it.

  • mickfealty

    I’ll add this (as a thought experiment, because I don’t believe it will happen)…

    What better time for the SDLP or the UUP to walk out of the Executive? The SDLP has had a good and honourable fight trying to stop the cuts at Westminster, and it must see very clearly where SF is taking all of this.

    If they walk out now, they free up their hand on an issue that actually matters to the electorate, on which they (the SDLP) have been consistent and (by and large) realistic and SF has to explain just exactly what it has been playing at.

    It’s called externalising and clarifying the problem. It’s only worth doing if you end up on the right side of the clarification line. In these limited circumstance, the SDLP at least, just could be.

    Now, I think SF are taking a gamble here that all external factors will remain the same even one such possibility which they don’t directly control. If they could muster the courage though, it could be a game changer for the SDLP/UUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It would certainly set the cat among the pigeons, but the executive is a dead duck anyway, so I doubt it would have any practical effect.

    Overall I still don’t think SF have thought this through. They seem to think the British are likely to back off. The thing is, all other things aside, the British can’t. Sending out the signal that Northern Ireland’s subsidized population deserve welfare standards that Englishmen do not is a dangerous one in the present circumstances.

  • mickfealty

    Maybe, but if any of ‘abused’ parties in this arrangement walk out it ought to be when the action is likely maximise public sympathy and understanding with the meaning of your actions.

    And at least you’d have a story to tell on the doorsteps come next election rather than being the fall guy in someone else’s.

  • Tacapall

    Someones going to blink Mick it suits no-one that the executive collapses and I dont think Sinn Fein is under the illusion that the Tories will somehow roll over but in order to prop up the institutions and save international blushes they will push the parties to agree on other matters not connected to welfare reform which is the real reason for the stalemate. Until then its a choice for unionism and the British government deal with all outstanding issues or massive fines and we’re back to stone age times.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I actually agree with you that issues outside of this are coming to a head. The unionists killing off the Maze project hasn’t helped SF feel they need to be accomodating.

  • Robin Keogh

    You are very welcome

  • mickfealty

    That’s just another Captain Hook stratagem Tac…

  • Tacapall

    Loved that film very appropriate lol.

    But is collapsing the assembly over outstanding matters really any different than Peter Robinson and the DUP threatening to collapse the assembly over on the runs or Peter Robinson threatening to bring down the assembly over the removal of British symbols from prison officers uniforms or even Peter Robinson’s preconditions for taking part in talks to resolve those issues that are now, as Comrade says, coming to a head.

  • Zig70

    Yes, but your initial point was that it was bad politics and may spell the end for Adams. Whereas, I think it is a morally strong standpoint and would be broadly supported by nationalist. After all there is competition within identity politics. Even though the SDLP support it, few would think they have the backbone, or are as yet to prove it, to carry this off. SF can’t loose with this one, even to the point they bring Stormont down.

  • barnshee

    1 Ni Ireland has lowest average wage in the UK
    2 NI has highest welfare dependency (low income) in the UK

    It follows( via arithmetic a new concept for some perhaps)

    From 1–NI pays less in income tax than the average UK
    From 1 and 2– NI has less disposable income than UK average NI thus pays less VAT and EXCISE duty than UK average
    From 1 and 2 Corporate activity (inc corporation tax) in NI is lower than UK average

    Property prices are lower– reducing Stamp Duty Capital gains tax and Inheritance Tax to below UK averages.

    Getting a proper accounting is great idea -expose the parasites HMG will be able save billions

  • barnshee

    SF employ “often family members ”

    Well its better than being constantly asked –“remind me again who did you murder to get selected/”

  • mickfealty


  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you, Barnshee, for throwing some clean, cold water over the hot little speculations that build castles of imagined wealth regauding the wee six. As someone atempting to manage a small business here, I’m only too aware that “Corporate activity (inc corporation tax) in NI is lower than UK average” and that no real thought seems to be going into encouraging any raelistic local economy. Everything goes into attempts to encourage outsiders to locate here but all these attempts to bribe big boys in have not changed that dreary record of constant failure in the past, and will hardly do so in the future. The definition of insanity is doing something that has failed over and over again and expecting it to work the next time you do it.

    With our mightiest “industry”, agriculture, subsidised as Arlene tells me, to the degree of 87% of income coming from EU handouts, where, oh where, is any real honestly taxible local profitibility going to come from?

  • Morpheus

    I am here for the same reason as you, to express my opinion. I understand your opinion, I just don’t agree with it. (But notice how I don’t feel the need to waffle on about delusion, living in fantasy land etc?)

    At this stage I am unconvinced that we should simply accept assurances from Nelson McCausland – a man who had no problem whatsoever changing official records and ‘intentionally misleading’ his fellow MLAs – that The Welfare Bill in it’s current format is the best deal possible for ALL of Northern Ireland. His fellow MLAs have said that he is “seemingly trying to implement it in its totality” and that “the Minister needs to bring forward the Bill and let the Chamber do its legislative job, which is to decide on it.” Not an unreasonable request so we should wait for that to happen before we decide if we got the best deal possible.

    At this stage it is obvious that the First Minister has no idea what the impact of these cuts will be on the people he represents. The plan seems to be ‘ack, we’ll cut now and see what happens’ which is nothing short of embarrassing. If the ‘best deal in the UK’ has been about for years then surely by now he should be able to say that the impact of these cuts will be a, b, and c and we are going to do d, e and f to mitigate the loss.

    As I see it, NI will be the hardest hit UK region, our low-paid working families with children (regardless of religion) will be hit hardest, our MLAs have not had an opportunity to do their legislative jobs by debating the bill, our First Minister has no idea what the impact will be on the people of Northern Ireland, our jobs available to unemployed ratio is atrocious even though these cuts are designed to get people back to work, the DWP are not even close to achieving any of their targets (even the massively reduced targets) when it comes to implementation and so on. ‘Ack we’ll cut now and see what happens” doesn’t cut it I’m afraid.

    As for the idea that that the UK Government are ‘not for the turning’ then one thing is certain, they definitely won’t turn if our elected officials don’t stand up for those they were elected to represent and put up even the smallest of fights. I have said before that I think a united front with a strong case highlighting that we will be hit disproportionately hard could work. You disagree, good for you.

    Not sure why you are talking about sectarian politics again but just as an FYI the MLA who was most critical during the debates last week was not SF or SDLP, he wasn’t even a nationalist. It came from the Ulster Unionists. Michael Copeland seems to understand that these cuts will hit low-income working families with children the hardest regardless of religion so the tribal BS doesn’t come into it – all the MLAs have to think about the people they represent

  • BarrelOfPorter

    Then the evil & insipid Bratash Gobermunt will be seen (and not for the first time) to be trying to starve the republican peoples of this island into blind obedience of their morally bankrupt diktats – Or something. It won’t be SF’s fault, they’ll have done all the could (short of returning to the armed struggle) to prevent the financial rape of the least well off. so on and so forth. I really don’t see a political downside for SF in just digging the heels in.