You can't eat a flag - or a border poll

Date:

Over recent weeks we have seen leaders of Nationalism call for border polls while seeing leaders of Unionism once again using a flag to whip up the loyalist working classes.  This further creates division and raises sectarian tensions between Catholic and Protestant neighbours. It also diverts attention away from the issues of socio and economic deprivation, poverty, lack of social and affordable housing and the bread and butter issues of life. Yet these are the issues that day and daily affect working class communities lives the most. Politician’s words promised delivery on such essential issues of concern. And words are all that many have heard, as little change can be seen within many working class communities  The old adage of ‘you can’t eat a flag’ couldn’t be more apt at this time of recession, cuts, job losses and misery for many.

Yet for many of our politicians flags are used for their own selfish and party interests. They use it to attempt to put the blame of their failures onto the ‘other side.’  Stormont was established on the basis that institutionalises sectarianism. The dished out, carved up; wink and nod politics at Stormont is delivering little change for working class communities.

In working class communities our life expectancy is many years lower, unemployment is higher, mental illness, addiction and suicide over the years has grown, fuel and even food poverty is on the rise. That is the real world for many outside of the Stormont bubble, and political optics, manoeuvring and shenanigans won’t change that - it is time for us to play our part in changing that.

We have seen much anger on our streets in recent times on the issue of flags, yet rocking the boat on such issues has also risen up many other issues of concern, from poverty and socio and economic deprivation through to lack of housing, unemployment and chance for a decent life. These are the issues that not only divide us from most of the Stormont class but also unite us within our daily lives within working class communities. Flags won’t change those material conditions and such basic wants and rights, but we can, if we begin to stand together and demand them.

WORDS: Davy Carlin

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