WITH ONLY days to go before the close of nominations and even though
campaigning was already under way, Tony Blair has called off the
Northern Ireland Assembly elections. Despite his assurance that they
will go ahead in the autumn there is now a real question over whether
they will take place at all.
AS WE go to press, it seems almost certain that Northern Ireland’s
Executive and Assembly will collapse this week. New Labour’s Northern
Ireland Secretary John Reid will probably suspend the institutions in
the hope that they can one day be resuscitated.
The situation outside the Holy Cross primary school has developed into
an ugly stand-off as community leaders talk about trying to settle the
conflict. At root, this conflict is about redefining boundaries between
Catholic and Protestant areas, which is further polarising the
One of the most vicious recent attacks was on the home of a Muslim
family in Craigavon. A gang of up to ten men armed with baseball bats
threatened to burn the family out; they have since left the area.
The Socialist Party has decided to challenge the right wing and
sectarian parties by putting up two candidates for the Assembly. Voters
in East and South Belfast will have the chance to elect someone who will
fight to defend the common interests of working class people and to
break the logjam of sectarian politics.
WITH THE Assembly in long term suspension, the main political parties
are once again enjoying the luxury of permanent opposition. They have
suddenly found their voice again and are able to lay the blame on
Westminster for cutbacks, privatisation and other unpopular policies.
The Socialist Party and its forerunners in Northern Ireland have
consistently campaigned for working class unity and the struggle for
socialism as the only answer to the sectarian division that is part of
every day life. Through patient work in often extremely difficult and
polarised conditions they have built a base in...
80,000 turned out in Belfast, despite the wind and rain, to support the
trade union demonstration against sectarian attacks. This was bigger
than any of the previous anti sectarian trade union rallies that...