From Socialist Voice, March 2010

Transfer of policing and justice finally agreed

The approval by the Northern Ireland Executive of the transfer of policing and justice powers to Belfast is to be welcomed as a significant and important step towards giving greater powers to the Executive and Assembly. A strong, comprehensive Bill of Rights is the next important step, coupled with the demand for greater fiscal powers.
     The transfer of policing and justice has been long in coming, being resisted by the intransigence of the unionist parties, in particular the DUP. The last-minute attempt by the Official Unionist Party to block the transfer was nothing but a pathetic attempt to achieve opportunist electoral advantage over the DUP in the forthcoming British elections.
     The role the British Conservative Party is playing behind the scenes is reminiscent of how the British over the centuries attempted to use Irish political representatives and Irish political parties to advance their own agenda in relation to British imperial politics. The Tories will do anything to get into government, regardless of their publicly stated support for the Belfast and St Andrews Agreements. They have been trying to exploit the unionist desire to win back a number of seats in the British House of Commons from Sinn Féin and using the possibility of a hung parliament to extract concessions, while hoping to have the Unionists on side to make up the number in case of a close election result.
     The old imperialist mentality and its ingrained prejudice and contempt for the Irish people constantly bubble to the surface. As James Connolly put it so well, “Yes, ruling by fooling is a great British art—with great Irish fools to practise on.”
     The next big test for the Executive is how it is going to deal with the growing economic crisis, and the implementation of water charges. It is clear that both political entities on this island have failed economically to meet the needs of all the people. They have been nothing more than weak, subservient appendages to the imperial economy of Britain; and as that has declined this dependence has shifted to the United States and the European Union.
     The economic policies required and the building of a sustainable economy can be constructed only on an all-Ireland basis to maximise the use of the talents of our people and the use of all our natural resources, both on land and in and under our seas. No solutions are to be found in appealing to London for some change in policies, as those policies are determined by the needs of the big financial and banking interests. Neither will Brussels or Berlin provide policies that can create jobs and prevent the haemorrhage of mass emigration once again.

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