7 December 2010
The much-hyped budget has finally been delivered, much of it leaked over the last number of weeks in a sordid orgy by “informed sources” and the serried ranks of commentators and tame academics, vying with each other to present their interpretation of what each and every leak meant—all contributing to the general strategy of manufacturing the people’s passive consent to the draconian measures finally presented to them.
This budget was designed and manufactured in Brussels, gift-wrapped for the Irish people by this discredited Government, and quietly consented to by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
The savage cuts in public spending, the cuts in social welfare and all the other measures are designed to make the poor pay. The increases in indirect taxes will take more money out of the pockets of working people, small businesses, and the self-employed.
The imposition of new service charges, in the form of water charges, is nothing but a further additional tax on working people. While the the politicians have thrown a bone in the form of cuts in the salaries and pensions of TDs and ministers to placate the growing anger of the people, the homeless and the hungry will remain homeless and hungry. The massed ranks of the unemployed will grow, diminishing only by mass emigration, not by job creation at home. The increase of €500 in third-level student charges to €2,000, and the cut of 4 per cent in student grants, will further restrict the ability of members of working-class families to get to college.
The Irish establishment and their masters in Brussels and the IMF in Washington can be well pleased with today’s budget and the setting in stone of future budgetary strategy. They have ensured, for the moment at least, that working people, small businesses, the self-employed, the poor, the sick and pensioners will pay for the deep and deepening crisis of the system itself.
It is clear that all the establishment political parties have committed themselves to defending the interests of European finance houses, the European Central Bank and the European Union against those of the Irish people.
The central thrust of this budget will not be reversed by whatever combination of parties makes up any future government. The case for a prolonged campaign of civil disobedience and opposition to the new charges has to be the central focus for the trade union movement and all those committed to a socially just Ireland.