We are living in a bubble. It cuts us off from the real world, it substitutes politics with tribalism, it offers nothing but a Groundhog Day view of the world and yet the majority of people here seem perfectly happy with it.
The cost-of-living crisis that is having a devastating effect on working people, families, pensioners and the young is being driven by profit taking, dividends to shareholders and plain old-fashioned greed.
Wage demands haven’t caused inflation. Capitalism has.
Inside the bubble
Yet here, inside our bubble, we are, once again without a Stormont Executive
We still have a segregated education system. We’re not building enough affordable public housing but instead happily force people into the clutches of the private rented sector. We have the longest health waiting lists on these islands, while our public services continue to be subjected to cuts, privatisation and profiteering.
Our economy is designed specifically to accommodate multi-national companies and is based on low wages, part time employment and deregulation.
Workers’ rights are trampled on as companies pursue a policy of ‘fire and re-hire’
Just and necessary pay demands are met with derisory offers that fall way short of inflation. Working people are told they must tighten their belts and do without while the top 350 companies on the London Stock Exchange have had a 73% increase in their profits in the last three years.
All the while, inside our bubble, were told that our priorities are border polls and protocols.
Working people have made it possible
Working class people built this society. The infrastructure, the services, the rights, the housing and the health – we made all that, and more, possible.
We’ve had to defend those gains every step of the way. We’ve had to do it in the face of sustained, coordinated and vicious attacks from capital and conservative forces.
It’s time we burst the bubble – it’s time to rewrite the script in favour of those who deliver with their hands and brains for the common good – not for those who leech off our efforts, hive off the profits and divert out attention away from the realities they want to cover up.
The coming months will be a serious test for working people, their living standards, their quality of life and for the nature of the society we live in. It’s not a battle we can afford to lose.