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Poll Shows Class Divide Widening in Ireland
ireland / britain | economy | opinion / analysis Tuesday April 24, 2012 14:46 by James McBarron - WSM
Analysis by James McBarron, from Workers Solidarity Cork branch.
Poll Shows Class Divide Widening in Ireland
The Irish Times/ IPSOS like all polls is only a snap shot in time they say, but polls can be helpful indicators of the public mood when they contain useful questions. This particular poll covered a number of areas the usual poll of party support, leader popularity and government satisfaction, opinion on the fiscal compact referendum and most interestingly opinions on the household and water taxes as well as a question about cutting social welfare.
A few things are clear from the poll:
1. The class divide in Ireland is becoming far more pronounced. This is shown by the clear division between the better off (ABs in pollsters terms) and the poorest section of the working class (DEs in pollster speak) on a range of issues. The ABs support the household and water taxes as a better way to raise revenue over income tax rises and the DEs favour income tax rises over the flat taxes. That is pure and simple class interest; income taxes would have to be levied on the better off, the flat taxes on everyone and thus hurt the poorest the most. The second issue that divides clearly on class lines is the idea of cutting social welfare with the better off in favour and the least well off opposed. These are quite pronounced differences class interest is coming more centre stage, the propaganda of the media and politicians of the right is weighing less with people as their income and lifestyle suffer as more and more it becomes visible just who has the wealth and the nature of the corrupt and unjust system that delivers it to them.
2. Class is defining party political choice more than ever. The better off, professionals, big farmers and "the middle class" are far more likely to vote Fine Gael, the working class Sinn Féin and left independents/ULA. Fianna Fail is being squeezed; their cross-class appeal no longer has a great deal of currency; Labour, having betrayed the working class yet again, is in rapid decline; the middle ground is disappearing. The media of course like to call FF, FG and Labour centrist, not right-wing as they are, but the media's influence is waning. Remember every major newspaper is pro-austerity and backed the household tax, but clearly the people have rejected it. In the media there are dissenting voices but they are the odd few columnists and are by and large compromised by their support for Labour or wedded to liberal notions of the state.
This sharpening class division comes on the back of the intensification of the class war as the recession bites even deeper. In this context the Irish ruling class has been fighting to protect the interests of the capitalist class in doing this however they are having to squeeze workers and throw some of the middle class to the wolves. The abysmal reaction of the trade union leadership is a consequence both of 20 years of social partnership, the clear identification of the ICTU leadership with Labour and the interests of the capitalist class and the decline of TU membership to a largely (though not exclusively) public sector base. Thus protecting what small advantages they perceive as being possible for public sector workers becomes their key area of activity. But public sector workers have not been immune from wage cuts, cutbacks in the sectors they work in and are far from satisfied. The result has been the absence of a fightback on a serious widespread basis by organised workers. We have seen sporadic outbreaks and heroic stands like that at Veta Cortex but the Trade Union movement has failed to rally the working class. Cracks are showing however with unions more based in the private sector starting to buck the trend, the move by Mandate to back a "no" vote in the referendum is an example. In that context the rise of household tax campaign is a great cause for hope. Unburdened by the need to play by the rules, negotiate with the state and not burdened by the dead hand of trade union bureaucrats it is a real flesh and blood campaign, organically part of the working class. This expression of working class community militancy is full of contradictory and competing ideas, individuals and political groups but it is potentially the most powerful movement to emerge in Ireland since the 'Tan war".
The class war is intensifying; in that context, there is only one question that everyone will have to answer eventually: "Which side are you on?"
Sat 01 Oct, 11:17
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ECB gives banks 6,250 years worth of Household Tax 23:57 Fri 02 Mar 0 comments
Wednesday the European Central Bank (ECB) gave out 530 billion euros in 3-year term loans to the private banks of the Eurozone. Together with the 490 billion they doled out last December, that's over 1 trillion euros. If pigs could fly and politicians never lied and every household in the country was magically able to pay the hated Household Tax, the total receipt would be 160 million euro. At that rate, it would take 6,250 years to amount to 1 trillion. It would also take 20 years to amount to the 3.2 billion euros the state are handing over to the Anglo bondholders on the 31st March coming.
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Half a million take to the streets of London against cuts 21:25 Tue 29 Mar 0 comments
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Clarion hotel in Cork and Davenport in Dublin: Fighting for solidarity the key 20:43 Thu 24 Feb 0 comments
The attack on workers at the Davenport Hotel in Dublin had highlighted the greed and bullying in the hotel business. A similar case to that at the Davenport has come to light here in Cork. But so far fear has ruled the day. The Clarion describes itself as one of “Cork’s premier 4 Star City Centre Hotels”. Although it’s well able to charge for its rooms it cannot find its way to granting its workers a 29 cents per hour pay rise.
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How many could we house, educate and care for with 19 billion? The Irish government is currently furiously fighting the European Union to prevent Apple paying us back taxes it owes us. There has been a lot of ‘concern’ about government plans to spend 48 million looking after 4000 people fleeing warfare in Syria and Iraq. The government and the media defend there ‘our own’ is first - the super rich in Ireland and elsewhere!
The "Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013", published by the government on Thursday last (23rd May), is a clear attempt to bully public sector workers into voting for the re-hashed terms of the Croke Park II deal emphatically rejected by them just a couple of weeks ago.
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In spite of a long and consistent campaign which has been waged against people in relation to the imposition of this unjust and unfair tax on homes, over 650,000 households have not registered with revenue [22.05.2013]. Draconian legislation and the threats of fines has not resulted in people volunteering their information to the revenue.
The Croke Park extension: What it is and how to fight it Feb 27 0 comments
Early yesterday morning, the leadership of the public sector committee of ICTU emerged from talks with the government claiming they had achieved the best possible outcome from the negotiations. The best possible outcome in question involves extra hours at work, cuts in overtime rates and allowances for unsociable hours, delayed increments and revisions to flexitime arrangements and work-sharing patterns.
Sean Quinn - Cowboy turns desperado - A Western in four parts Aug 02 0 comments
We don’t know a lot about the personal life of this son of a small farmer. He was the richest man in Ireland in 2008 with an estimated wealth of €4.7billion and now he is only out of jail because the Judge wants him to help the Irish Resolution Banking Corporation (IRBC) recover some of the €2.8 billion that he owes them. You may never have heard of IRBC but you will know of it’s previous alias: Anglo Irish Bank,winner of the dodgiest bank award in a state where there is stiff competition for that prize. His son is in prison, (plush Training Unit in Mountjoy) serving a sentence for what the Judge called ‘outrageous’ contempt of court as he sought to put money/assets beyond the reach of the bank. His nephew Peter is supposed to be there for the same reason but has gone missing. All we know about Sean – the daddy of the empire is that he’s big into the GAA and he likes to play poker for a few quid with his friends. Along with his love of poker, I would guess that Sean senior fancies the odd western.more >>
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