By Kevin Henry
THE RECENT comments by the Northern Ireland Minister for the Environment Sammy Wilson, “that preference should be given to people from Northern Ireland” when employers are advertising jobs shows the complete inability of local politicians to deal with current economic crisis.
His comments in reality were an attempt to deflect attention away from the Assembly’s failure to create jobs by making scapegoats of immigrant workers for the economic crisis.
Wilson’s anti-immigrant comments were defended by the DUP. Sinn Fein was quick to condemn Wilson, but many have not forgotten the xenophobic remarks made by Sinn Fein MLA Martina Anderson last year who found herself referring to Polish people applying to join the PSNI as being “the wrong sort of Catholics”.
The sectarian political parties cannot deal with the crisis because it is their friends – the speculators, big business and the bankers who have caused this crisis. In fact, the politicians in Stormont are making the crisis worse for working people by carrying out big cuts across the public sector.
The fact that Sammy Wilson is a Minister in a Stormont Executive which is cutting thousands of public sector jobs shows the hypocrisy of his comments. And whatever happened to the much-hyped investment by US multinational companies which was announced after the politicians wined and dined fat cat bosses at Stormont and at the US:NI Investment conference? They cannot see beyond capitalism and therefore have no solutions to the economic crisis.
The Socialist Party is opposed to the “race to the bottom” i.e. the use of migrant workers or other unorganised low paid workers to undermine wages and conditions. The race to the bottom must be fought by the trade union movement by organising all workers and not allowing bosses to exploit vulnerable workers to undermine wages overall. The dangerous comments made by Wilson should act as a warning of how opportunist desperate politicians will try to sow division amongst workers opposed to the Assembly’s right-wing policies. Wilson should be answered by building a socialist alternative which unites all working class people in a struggle for decent jobs and services for all, and against the anti-working class policies of the Stormont Executive.