The Socialist Party condemns the threat to staff employed by the Probation Board of Northern Ireland (PBNI) in the strongest possible terms. The threat, which appears to come from a dissident republican paramilitary group, is totally unacceptable.
None of the main parties support a woman’s right to choose. The DUP and SDLP are entirely opposed to any reform, as are the majority of UUP MLAs. Sinn Féin and most Alliance MLAs oppose abortion rights outside the narrow circumstances of sexual crime and fatal foetal abnormality.
A majority of DUP voters now support equal marriage. The DUP’s support is not primarily based on support for their fundamentalist agenda but – like Sinn Féin – upon being seen as the strongest voice for ‘their’ community. They are not impervious to pressure from below, as was reflected in the sacking of Jim Wells as Health Minister after making outrageous homophobic comments.
Jeremy Corbyn’s call to scrap tuition fees and to introduce maintenance allowances is a welcome development in the fight for free education. Although there is a way to go before these reforms are won, the Labour Party’s proposal to invest an extra £25 billion into education in England offered a clear alternative to the long-term programme of cuts and corporatisation.
Fresh health cuts totalling £70 million across Northern Ireland have been announced. This is the result of years when the Executive failed to ensure healthcare funding met increased demand, an estimated six percent annual reduction in budgets.