Candidate for TD Cork North West
Over the last 40 years, beginning in the mid-1970s in the US under the puppet Presidency of Ronald Reagan (and Ronnie wasn’t the one pulling the strings!) then continuing under the reign of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and adopted now across the globe, there has been a quantum change in the balance of power.
I'm not talking just of the fall of the Wall in Berlin, nor the smelting and melting of the Iron Curtain, nor yet the rapid rise of capitalism in what used to be hardline Communist China, significant as all those events have been. I'm talking about the gradual but now accelerating transfer of all power from elected national governments to unelected technocrats, bureaucrats and the voracious avaricious few.
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Those were the buzzwords, everything deemed a commodity with profit potential and up for grabs for those with the millions – nay, the billions! – to buy and invest, the rest of us mere consumers.
Commerce and profit were the new religions, the markets the new gods and divil take the hindmost.
Water, electricity, gas, health insurance, hospitals, education, transport, travel infrastructure, communication infrastructure and whatever you're having yourself, all were now fair game and were soon gobbled up in this new world of what has become known as neo-liberalism, trickle-down economics.
Initially it was just a very select few who made the massive profits, the sharpest of the sharp when it came to turning a quick buck on the productive efforts of others. By the late 1990s, however, and then into the naughty Noughties, it became a feeding frenzy, the sharks smelling blood, the vultures scenting fresh flesh.
Our blood, our flesh and oh, how we’ve bled; oh, how they’ve gorged.
Today, in obscene symmetry:
- The top 1% own over 50% of the world’s wealth, more than the remaining 99%
- The bottom 50% own less than 1%
- 80 people – about enough to fill a double-decker bus – own more than half the world’s population combined, that’s 3,500,000,000
In a word, capture.
Brick by brick the walls that were built through the early and middle decades of the last century to protect us from the worst excesses of the takers are being dismantled. Hard-won rights are being eroded, public services reduced and the rest sold off to the highest bidder, taxes increased and increased. Labour rights, environmental protection, food quality, not to mention health services, education, water etc – all are now in the firing line.
Meanwhile the sharks and the vultures thrive, feeding their greed not just from the people but from the planet itself, oblivious to the destruction caused to either this generation or those that follow.
Tax? That’s just for the masses, for those who don’t know the loop-holes in the various national laws, loop-holes that have seen the rise and rise of places like our IFSC, the blandly-named tax-avoiding Irish Financial Services Centre facility.
Laws that have been made to facilitate those same sharks and vultures.
By the people we have elected, the same people those sharks and vultures have captured, have convinced that a) theirs is the only game in town and b), if we don’t play that game we’re all doomed.
Laws that enable the corporate multi-nationals across the globe pay less and less tax, the slack thus created made up for by a combination of cuts in services and higher taxes for us, the patsies.
And so we have TTIP and TiSA and CETA and the FTT (Ireland is currently resisting that one, a tax on the most toxic financial transactions to which 11 EU countries, including Germany and France, have already signed up) and all those other lovely acronyms that are so deliberately confusing but also so deliberately aimed at enabling all this transfer of wealth from the many to the few.
We need national politicians who are alert to all of this, who inform themselves independently of what’s happening not just on the national front but on the global scene.
All it takes to change all this, to start the pendulum swinging back to where it was, is the power of one.
For one candidate,
In one constituency,
In one country,
In one national parliament,
In one world.
Let that be your vote.
Let me be that candidate.
Let Cork North-West be that one constituency.
Let this be that election.
Be the difference.