Disunited hard left have little in common – Byrne

25 January 2016

The launch of the Anti-Austerity Alliance People Before Profit (AAA-PBP)’s “Common Principles” highlights again how little the hard left have in common.

The one thing that does unite them is perpetual protest. For all their talk of a hard left alliance, this lot can’t even agree on a common manifesto or whether they want to prop up Gerry Adams in government.

You’d get more policy coherence at a meeting of the Independent Alliance. And that’s saying something! Like their inability to agree a pre-Budget submission, the AAA and PBP admitted they will be launching separate manifestos.

Let’s hope their figures are at least in the same ballpark this time.

The AAA proposed increase public expenditure in Budget 2016 of €17.6 billion. And claimed they would raise taxes and make savings of €16.4 billion. The PBP submission proposed €8.7 billion in revenue raising and €8.6 billion of spending and tax cuts. There was a gaping black hole of billions between these two budget submissions that would blow the recovery and put the country back into another bailout.

While the AAA and PBP compete among themselves on who can shout the loudest, Labour in government has been standing up and delivering for working people.

The Minimum Wage has been restored and increased to €9.15 after it was slashed by the previous Fianna Fáil government. This means that the Minimum Wage has increased by 20% with Labour in government and this is worth about €3,000 a year to a low paid worker. A new PRSI tax credit of €12 a week for low paid workers has been introduced as well the independent Low Pay Commission.

Labour in government also ensured that unlike practically anywhere else in the world, workers’ rights have been strengthened despite the economic crisis, through the introduction of new Collective Bargaining legislation and restored Registered Employment Agreements.

It’s clear that there is a choice to be made between these professional protestors or the continued progress for working people with Labour in government.

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