Disillusionment with Stormont growing claims new poll

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A survey of more than a thousand Northern Ireland voters has revealed a high level of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the current Stormont government. A Belfast Telegraph/LucidTalk poll found that only one in ten people believe the government is performing better than direct rule, and that half would label its performance as poor or very poor. This means that it is rated almost as badly as the Greek administration which was trounced in that country’s last recent election.

The overall net favourability of the Stormont government, which was calculated by subtracting the percentage of negative ratings from the percentage of positive ones, was put at -40%. Many people were also found to be in favour of reducing the number of MLAs (69% overall), and a sizeable minority (18%) wanted to abolish Stormont altogether. However, only 23% said they supported the introduction of an official opposition.

Further adding to the overall negative picture, the poll also found that 48% of the public did not intend to vote in the next election. The poll was carried out by interviewing a random sample of 1,267 residents, aged 18+, via telephone between May 6-26.

Furthermore, the poll provides a snapshot of a society in transition and attitudes to a range of issues from power-sharing, discrimination and the constitutional question. Worryingly, for republicans the poll also points to a continuing decline in support for a United Ireland with just 7% of those polled wanted to remove the border immediately and just 25% more backing moves towards a United Ireland in 20 years times.

While this poll is a snapshot over a particular time and place and comes against a backdrop of an economic depression and despite republicans arguing for an independent border bote to get a true reflection, this poll represents a wider pattern in the last couple of decades in declining support for a United Ireland.

The reality is that removing partition and imperialism will do little to alleviate the cancer of sectarianism, social inequality and the wider capitalist system unless we link common class issues with the struggle for a free and equal society.  We need to both transcend the narrow economist workerist espoused by some sections of the reformist left that ignores imperialism; along with the limitation of various brands of unionism and nationalism which offer us more of the same division and sectarian conflict. As anarchists and the wider left we need to step up to the challenge and not afraid to challenge the key political questions of the day without getting sucked into the cul-de-sac of 'both sides are as bad as each other' for fear of offending one side or the other.  For this is the politics of opportunism devoid of class politics and revolutionary potential.

The survey also indicates majority support for shared schools while a majority are still to be convinced about a reduction in corporation tax if it means reducing public services despite support by all the Stormont establishment parties in terms of giving out another blank cheque to multi-national corporations.

Overall, the poll paints a picture of changing social attitudes including the hardening of conservative views in relation to the questions of gender, sexuality and immigration while sectarianism and segregation remains embedded and perpetrated at all costs. While the constitutional question has been temporarily buried as a burning desire in comparison to more concrete bread and butter issues, the challenge is to channel this disillusionment and build a credible working class alternative street by street, in every community and workplace against Stormont’s austerity drive because no political party will do it for us. The future is ours to take.

Slash Stormont, not services!

To check out the poll’s findings please go to: http://www.lucidtalk.co.uk/Latest_News.aspx?lc=1&id=4003cb86-ed9b-4f1f-aeb4-9e113eb0bb52