enda kenny david cameron belfast

The Irish Times reports that the Prime Minister and his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny of the right-wing Fine Gael party, ‘abruptly’ left the negotiations yesterday, because they could not reach a deal ‘over the future of Stormont’ – though saying that progress had been made.

David Cameron warned Northern Ireland’s political leaders that they needed to “start delivering” – but what and to whom?

Mr Cameron told reporters that a deal would be possible because the parties have done a lot of good work on the issues that need to be settled:

  • how to manage parades,
  • how to handle the past,
  • the issue of flying flags and
  • welfare reform.

Focussing on the first three issues appears to be a divide and rule strategy which might well destabilise the power-sharing administration in Belfast and allow in the corporate picnic which would follow implementation of the fourth:

Welfare reform (spending cuts), entail the corporate handover advocated in the name of efficiency and lowered expenditure, rarely delivered

wendy savage prof save nhsProfessor Wendy Savage, consultant gynaecologist and president of the Keep our NHS public campaign, delivered a warning to delegates:

‘Northern Ireland must beware of the creeping privatisation, use of social enterprises as Trojan horses and the right wing rhetoric that we cannot afford the NHS,’ she said.

‘A civilised country can afford to provide free health care to its citizens and the NHS has again been rated as the most cost effective in the OECD countries by the Massachusetts-based commonwealth fund.’

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance comments that these developments reflect the dominant trend in neo-liberal economic policy over the last forty years, undermining the post Second World War consensus and the protections “from the cradle to the grave” to which it aspired.

NIPSA adds that those who say that there is “no such a thing as society”, see public services as a series of barriers to making money that have to be demolished: “The “wrecking ball” for this aspiration was and is privatisation”.