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SO the unions were led up the garden path by promises of an agreement with the Government and then ditched when they called off the pre-budget day of action.
Fianna Fáil TDs call this “firm leadership”. I call it low-down double-dealing. Of course there was a cynical calculation here that if the unions could be bamboozled to call off the day of action, then it would demoralise public sector workers and they would be slow to take action again.
This is a well tried tactic that illustrates the kind of slimy mindset that has characterised certain parts of the political and big business spectrum in the past 20 years or so.
It is the same kind of mindset that allowed a number of politicians to accept “political donations” and cash stuffed in brown envelopes to buy land rezoning decisions and other benefits.
Well, some employers’ representatives, bankers and members of the wealthy elite will doubtless be happy that their pressuring the Government to take advantage of the economic crisis to drive down pay and cut social welfare and public services has paid off.
No doubt the IMF, the ECB and the World Bank will be happy too. And meanwhile the neoliberal privatisation monster is stirring again in the form of Fine Gael. But, as they say, “he who sows the wind reaps a whirlwind” and that class war whirlwind is already stirring in Ireland and beyond.
There is no doubt that a great job was done in manufacturing the consent of sections of the public for cutbacks in public sector pay, social welfare and public services generally. Fear was used, of course, just as it was used to gain a Yes vote for the Lisbon Treaty. But the most clever move was made by the campaign in the media to convince the people that public sector workers of all kinds were pampered with cushy, secure jobs and exceptionally high pay and pensions for which they had to give very little.
I think this whole media campaign even managed to create the idea that somehow the public sector workers were actually responsible for bringing the country to its knees in the first place.
NAMA is hardly mentioned in the media now. Nor are the billions that have been poured into the banks.
And there has never been a sustained attack in the media on those developers, bankers and other casino capitalists who, along with the Government, are responsible for our present situation.
It is a thundering disgrace that while the Government is cutting public service pay, child benefit and unemployment benefit, etc, it isn’t attempting to make the wealthy carpetbaggers who were responsible for the crisis even pay one extra penny, and the Government isn’t taking much off its own pay either. Talk about “sharing the pain”.
Yes, sharing it is confined to the lowest paid people in society. And apart from Gene Kerrigan in the Sunday Independent and Fergus Finlay in the Irish Examiner, the media isn’t saying a damn thing about this disgraceful situation.
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