The prospects for social, political and economic progress in Northern Ireland may have been set back for at least a generation.
That is the stark reality facing the citizens of Northern Ireland after Thursday’s poll.
The results of the Assembly election have confirmed British and Irish nationalism as the dominant political force here.
Nationalism of any sort is never progressive.
It is always insular, small minded and ultimately conservative – despite its claims to the contrary.
No Different The Sinn Fein / DUP Coalition which led the last Executive borrowed millions of pounds to make 20,000 public servants redundant, it slashed public services, it planned to give tax breaks to multi-national companies and it bottled its opportunity to stand up to a devastating programme of welfare reform. Their next coalition will be no different.
When discussions around a new Executive begin this week, jobs, health, education, housing and deepening sectarian division won’t even be on the agenda.
There are more than 100,000 children in Northern Ireland living on or below the poverty line, 15,000 people are officially classed as homeless and the average wage is less than it was ten years ago. There is a crisis in education, health and social care. Which of the parties likely to participate in the Executive, will be prioritising these issues? Where are the proposals, the strategies and the emergency plans to meet the real and immediate needs of working people?
Nationalism , British and Irish, trades on fear, division and separation. We have seen that to our cost and we have seen what results. Nationalism attracts all classes to its cause, though for different reasons.A new DUP /Sinn Fein Coalition will be formed at some stage but it will not be to the benefit of the disadvantaged, the dispossessed or the downtrodden in our society. Ironically, it will not even be to the advantage of the vast majority of people who were duped into voting for it.
Smoke and Mirrors The “negotiations” in the coming weeks will be all smoke and mirrors. They will attempt to convey an impression of progress but will, in reality, do nothing more than consolidate the position of each sectarian bloc at the expense of ordinary working people in Northern Ireland.
But it will also confirm that the radical, class-based analysis of the Workers Party and its demand for the Socialist Alternative presented in its manifesto is more relevant, more pertinent and more urgent than ever.
Nationalism, conservatism and capitalism will not go away of their own accord. They must be dispatched. That is the task we have taken on. Election results will not diminish our resolve.