Disappointing to see Mick O'Reilly trying to get local authority workers to make political judgements about aspects of their duty.
It's absolutely essential that all state workers be politically neutral in the discharge of their official functions.
Fook the rule book. On this issue it is time to make a stand and demand reform at local and national governmental level.
This of course sounds like an anarchists charter, however you're not going to get a revolution in this country in this day and age. What we could achieve however is a successful concerted campaign, where people demand change and reform, in return for the government looking for more money from them.
I believe they are entitled to demand reform in return for the government looking for more money from them to provide services that used to be provided for from the existing taxtake. Many of them have voted for parties who are now in government btw, who did promise reforms, who promised a new way of administering politics in this country, a covenant with the people wasn't that how he put it?
Now the government are saying give us more money without implementing the reforms to eradicate waste in the system first. It's time to get things done the right way around. The least people can expect if they are being asked to dig deeper into their pockets, is that the powers that be get the finger out and implement reforms first.
I would say that the majority of voters would be in favour of witholding the household charge until such time that reforms to eradicate waste are introduced. I would come to this conclusion, because nearly half of house owners currently are witholding the charge, add that to people who rent their homes and I'd say that translates to a majority.
This particular campaign against the household charge has gained widespread support, including from lots of people who don't vote for the parties of the politicians who are leading the campaign. The recent Euro Referendum result is a case in point, many people who voted YES in that are the same people witholding the household charge.
People want reform and it appears they're not going to get those reforms. This household charge issue provides an opportunity to build a campaign where people can unite around a single issue; to extricate reforms from the powers that be in return for their money.
It has happened before btw where mass protest forces the governments hand, remember things like the previous government backtracking on medical card proposals for example. This is different because it's about a new tax, but the principle is the same. The government will get their money when they bend to the will of the people. Reform first, then they get paid.
We've had a by-election since the HC was introduced and the main candidate opposing it, Ruth Coppinger, was beaten into 3rd place behind the Lab candidate and the FF candidate both of whom supported it. That's poor evidence of a mandate.
This is a one-off single issue where mass resistance can be orchestrated around a single demand; reform to eradicate waste in public spending.
It's not anti democratic. It's about organising the people to exercise their democratic will, to win a defined demand in return for compliance with a new charge for public services that used to be provided by the existing tax take.
If one of the "political beliefs" you mention is a recognition that the interests of capital and the state, and so the electoral system which provides it with its veneer of legitimacy, diverge very significantly with the interests of the people who live under it, then a different kind of legitimacy emerges, which really could be based on peoples interests.
That's the kind of authority goatstoe is talking about I think
On the other hand I doubt very much that there could be any kind of effective action taken by individual workers or even the public sector unions alone which could do more than delay the imposition of taxes and cuts without widespread active support from other communities. They will just get shafted by their bosses and/or replaced.
While I agree that the campaign against the household charge should stay with its single issue so as to have clearly defined parameters for victory and a decent chance at it, I really hope to see the connections formed in the process get stronger and eventually become capable of mounting sustained and more diverse pressure against austerity. If that happened then maybe it would be possible for individual workers or unions to exert influence by meddling with the bureaucracy.
Last edited by 20 yards of linen=1 coat; 16-07-2012 at 05:54 PM.