3/15/2006

UUP 'out of touch with working class'

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Kathy Stanton today said that UUP were 'out of touch with working class' Protestants, I would question if they were ever "in touch" but that is beside the point.



Kathy said the UUP proposals to tackle poverty in loyalist working class areas were flawed, sectarian and clearly put together by a party out of touch with the realities on the ground.

"It should be the objective of all political parties to tackle deprivation and poverty wherever it arises. Deprivation and poverty undoubtedly exists in unionist working class communities, as it does in nationalist and republican working class communities. This disadvantage will not be tackled by political parties attempting to approach the issue along sectarian and partisan lines."

"Poverty and deprivation can only be tackled on the basis of need. It cannot be done on the basis of perception or on the whim of a political party like the UUP seeking a headline after decades of ignoring loyalist working class areas and placing them in the clutches of unionist paramilitary drug dealers."

Kathy Stanton criticised the UUP after it also argued NIO Criminal Justice Minister David Hanson should compel community restorative justice groups in nationalist areas to work directly with the PSNI/RUC as another confidence building measure.

Who do the UUP think they are?

It has no right to compel anyone to do anything. Nationalists and Republicans will support an accountable, independent and effective police service when we get one. What we have at the moment is nothing short of shambolic!

I am not surprised that the UUP is out of touch with working-class Protestants and judging by their youth that reality will remain for a long time. I was at a SRC meeting last night when a UU member said that academic selection is beneficial for the vast majority, this is despite the fact that 55% of those who take the 11+ receive a "D" grade and are labelled as failures at the age of 10/11.

I am a steadfast opponent of academic selection at the age of 10/11; in my view such a situation is tantamount to child abuse. The UUP also fail to realise that academic selection fails working-class Protestant areas even more.

Compare the University attendance in areas like West-Belfast and South Armagh to that of Sandy Row and Tigers Bay. The working class Protestant community is suffering because of this but their political leaders are more interested in looking after their "Malone Road" type support base.

I am not suggesting that everyone should go to college or that the only measure of success is a University degree but the working-class Protestant community is being left behind in this regards and the cycle of inequality is just getting bigger and bigger.

Working class Protestants need to wake up to the reality of the situation; their political leaders are taking them for a ride!

They are not placing their needs on the agenda; they are merely perpetuating and agitating for their middle-class power base.

Wake up and smell the coffee people, dump the chumps!

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