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(en) Ireland, Organise! Working Class Resistance #8 - Sticky Fingered MLA's

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 21 Feb 2005 09:32:30 +0200 (IST)

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Besides being the day after Valentine’s Day, the 15th of February
holds no particular significance for most people here, even though it is
Galileo’s birthday, that minor Italian star-gazer put to death by the
Roman Catholic Church for daring to insist that the world was not actually flat.
The 15th, however, is a date which should command our attention.
Quite simply that is the date when, next year, us plebs will be informed
where political parties in the north get their money from, thus finally
unmasking the economic interests behind Paisley, Adams and Trimble
et al. And why are we only being told now? For that we have to thank
the small print of the Good Friday or Belfast Agreement which
contained a clause written into the 1998 Northern Ireland Act, and
re-affirmed by the Neill Committee set up to ensure a permanent
register of members’ and party interests. This passed into law on
16 February 2001 under the Political Parties, Elections and
Referendums Act 2000 (Disapplication of Part IV for Northern Ireland
Parties etc.) Order 2001, and graciously handed a four-year exemption
to parties from the north releasing them from the obligation of telling
us who filled their filthy coffers. The register of interests, of course,
was a New Labour manifesto pledge that later came back to haunt
them durng the Bernie Ecclestone fiasco, though the furore
unsurprisingly had fuck all impact in the end. Such doesn’t bode
well for us here after the 15th of February, that’s if they don’t
use the suspension of Stormont to give themselves another five years
free of scrutiny, but at least we’d have an idea of the lobby groups,
business interests, cronies and assorted parasites behind the political
elite here.

There has, thankfully, been a small ray of light over the past few years.
The papers got wind of the donation of several thousand dollars to Sinn
Féin from that earnest friend of Colombian workers (whom they
themselves claimed, without a hint of irony, to support), the Coca Cola
corporation. Strangely, this donation was forgotten completely during
the subsequent Columbia 3 trial, and was but a misty memory when,
the other month, Coca Cola shut down its Lambeg bottling plant. Also
available is the declaration of members interests who sit on the Select
Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs at Westminster. From this we
know that East Antrim’s Roy Beggs junior has been feted, fed and
accommodated all-expenses-paid by such paragons of virtue as Virgin
Trains and the US Navy, and has extensive beef cattle, property and
landfill interests. In fact, his junket courtesy of Virgin Trains was to
discuss upgrading our rail network – now why would Richard
Branson be interested in our pissy wee rail network? After all ou
politicians have ruled out privatisation, haven‘t they? Also, that
author of such pot-boilers as ‘Capital Punishment for Capital
Crime’ and ‘Carson – a man of action’, the DUP’s
Peter Robinson, weighs in somewhat disappointingly with two
unremunerated (he says) directorships and a shares interest in Harland
and Wolff. A problem appears to be the voluntary nature of this
declaration, which makes those cynics amongst us doubt that the
SDLP’s ex-accountant, Eddie McGrady, has no more interests
other than his salaried post on the Board of the PSNI.

This is the same problem with the Directory of Northern Ireland
Government, a book which has a section on the professional
background of our MLAs. It gives such generally banal information
such as that the Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy was a BT Salesman,
Sinn Féin’s kingpin-in-waiting Conor Murphy is a manager,
and that the DUP’s Edwin Poots is director of the family firm. It
nonetheless provides a handy guide to the extra irons in the fire of our
feckless representatives that could be built upon in order to dig up the
real shit behind the shit, so to speak.

[Ed. Note: Organise! is an anarchist group]

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