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Letter: No more discrimination any more?

‘Fair employment in Northern Ireland, a generation on’

18th January 2005

I generally support the analysis presented by your website, but I was a little disappointed by Joe Craig’s review of ‘Fair employment in Northern Ireland, a generation on’. It seemed overly complex and hard to follow.

The difficulty seemed to be that Joe was criticising the book without having an up-to-date socialist theory to base his critique upon and building up the analysis back to front as the thought through the arguments of the book.

It would be worthwhile to reorganise the ideas that Joe has to update the socialist view of discrimination, with an accurate description of the situation in the North and an outline of socialist policy.

In my own view it would be worth looking again at the old Stormont. People have forgotten just how pervasive and highly structured discrimination was. Joe’s review seems to indicate that there are still strong elements of structural discrimination, with Catholics underrepresented in the workplace as a whole, concentrated in lower and part-time jobs, absent from the state forces and underrepresented in higher management, while at the same time teaching in Catholic schools is reserved for Catholics and Catholics are also overrepresented in sectors such as health.

The old struggle was between supporters of discrimination and supporters of human rights. Now it seems to be between the bigots and an equality apparatus determined to share out discrimination and maintain sectarian rivalry.

A brief policy statement would seem worthwhile. The only other policy I know is the Socialist Party’s line that discrimination is now a shadow.

I know that’s wrong, and I think Socialist Democracy in general, and Joe in particular should recast his review as a policy statement.




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