The Watery Woes of E. Gilmore

The Labour Party has a bad dose of the trots. Its poll ratings continue to tumble. It is staring into the same abyss where vanished PD’s and the Green Party. Its canvassers at the door steps are about as welcome as a fart in a space suit. The spectre that haunts them is named Water Charges. It may be their undoing and they know it. Their euro candidate for Ireland South, Phil Prendergast has become so rattled that she wants to dump Gilmore as leader, and probably as everything else as well. Only this can explain all the huffing and puffing and tweaking on the proposed standing charge for water. They are moving a little bit over here and another little bit over there. Some will pay a little bit more while others will pay a little bit less. But the bottom line will remain the same. They, the government need €500 million to pay down the bank debts, the debts of the rich, and you and me, the ordinary Joe and Joan, are to be given privilege, whether we want it or not, of stumping up the loot.

This business of appearing to shift the weight around has a long and rather sickening history in Ireland. Here is just a flavour. Several decades ago a Fianna Fail government reduced the road tax on cars to £5 a year (yes, it was in old money). We all hugged ourselves with joy. The truly innocent among us even spoke of road tax having been abolished. However tax offices never closed. The staff remained in place. The machinery still whirred, and in time road tax reappeared large as life and twice as ugly.

The same game is playing out now. This Fine Gael/Labour coalition, this large servant of the rich elite, is determined to insert the thin of a water charges wedge. If the Irish people can be gulled into tolerating it, without too much fuss, without a political bloodbath at the local and euro elections, then they are home and dry. Then they will crank up the charges a little at a time, there is after all general elections in 2016 to consider. Once that milestone is passed they can let rip. Then we will have to think twice before washing our hands, flushing the toilet or showering the children.

Water charges must be stopped now. This beast be strangled at birth. What are we to do? We can begin by turning the elections on the 23rd of this month into a referendum on the issue. The local and euro elections can be used as a stick with which to beat those who are out to fleece us again. Punish Fianna Fail who first proposed charging for water. Punish Fine Gael whose passion for water charges is driven by a deep contempt for the ordinary people of Ireland. Wreak a terrible revenge on the Labour Party, the pretend champions of ordinary people, who have betrayed us at every turn. Let us also have a good long look at Sinn Fein. They oppose the charges, or not, depending on which day of the week it is. They must be made to climb down off that fence.

We must give our votes to those who consistently fight austerity, who opposed water charges for the beginning. People Before Profit is the front rank of these. We have always said that the rich must pay their own debts. As for the rest of us, we can’t pay, we won’t pay. People Before Profit is building a campaign of resistance, of public protest and civil disobedience. Getting our candidates elected is part of this. Successful candidates will use their positions to rally the people to resistance. Winning seats on its own will not be enough. Only an organised collective fight back by the people will bring victory. Only People Power will win the day. Our Government knows this. That is why E. Gilmore has such a bad dose of the trots.



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