AS if the month of November isn’t depressing enough – we have been hit with the news of another Fresh Start. Another paper for us to get our heads around and if the plan works, we’ll forget about all the others that came before them.
Under pressure from the Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, the 67 page agreement was whipped up after ten weeks of talks between Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Before all that, there was the appointing and resigning nonsense that would never be accepted in any workplace except for here. The icing on the cake came when an unelected and unheard of DUP member made the rapid jump from SPAD to MLA and then Junior Minister in a matter of weeks.
But hey, it’s democracy stupid!
What’s your agenda has now been replaced with what’s the alternative?
Some Sinn Fein supporters have said we should be grateful that nobody is being killed in the name of politics and religion any more and that nobody will lose any money under their watch.
But is that not why they ditched the Stormont House Agreement? Because they underestimated the amount of money needed to ‘top up’ any income their supporters were going to lose. So it’s easier to roll over and allow direct rule rather than the two main parties inviting all 108 MLA’s to hammer out an agreement that isn’t too obtrusive to the electorate in which they serve.
As usual with West Belfast, people will only take notice when it arrives on their doorstep. They’re still not taking these cuts seriously.
People will stay at home and wait for the brown envelope to come through the letter box with the dreaded news. If their benefits are cut, they’ll be up in arms and if they’re not then it’ll be I’m alright Jack.
It’s got to the stage where people are afraid of being labelled as an anti peace dissident just because they’ve questioned the reasoning behind Westminster snipping off their lifeline at the source.
Perhaps this is one reason why Eirigi’s rally was poorly attended on the recently wet and windy Saturday afternoon.
At 4:18 you can hear a flute band being played over a speaker. The sound was coming from a stall selling republican knick knacks in the grounds of Connolly House. To any one standing near, this was clearly a childish attempt to drown out the speech being made by Padraic Mac Coitir. I asked a shop keeper if the music and the stall was a frequent fixture on the road. They said the stall was but this was the first time they’ve played music. Funny that.
To the left of the grim reaper banner is a pay day loan shop. It had a steady stream of customers who are already feeling the pinch. A clear sign of the social decline of the Andersonstown Road when people are going here for short term loans instead of the credit union.
So, who else is standing up for the vulnerable?
In the wake of that leaked document, Alex Attwood came out fighting and spoke at length about the impact the cuts were going to have.
He forgot to mention that it was he who signed off on the practice of sanctions during his time as DSD Minister, so he’s not completely innocent in all this. But he might have just saved his seat with this speech.
The winners are going to be those who already have money and those without are going to lose even more. But it’s ok, remember that in May 2016 when you’re in the polling booth.