Pink PDs: Beyond GUBU


I want to treat this morn of a little local difficulty with a certain amount of national resonance. With the pollsters continuing to dole out dollops of percentage-based bliss to Gilmore and his Pink PDs, there remains a stubborn misapprehension amongst some on the Left that this represents, in spite of the party’s avowed policies, some sort of material advance for progressive politics in this country.

Examples are legion, but I single out Workers’ Party president Michael Finnegan’s rather pitifully desperate shout-out to Eamon Gilmore in the latest edition of the excellent Look Left. One would expect the WP, of all parties, to have been rudely disabused of the persistent delusion that the slithering creepy-crawly of electoralism can ever blossom into anything finer.

For the purposes of this post, I want to transport you back to the halcyon days of summer 2010, a time when the sun cast shimmering shadows upon pavements resounding to the soft-shoe shuffle of the dole queue and the plangent, trailing hoot of the vuvuzela.

In the North Dublin suburb of Ballymun, the hundreds of families still stranded in dilapidated flats by a bungled regeneration programme were without functioning lifts. This in itself was not unusual, lift maintenance being one of those little optional trimmings of dignity which are habitually withheld from those in their power by Dublin City Council for fear of giving them ideas.

In this instance, however, lifts were grounded by industrial action pursued by the TEEU on foot of a clear breach of normal redundancy procedures enacted by the (what else?) contractor, Pickerings Lifts. Dublin City Council reacted with typically underhand serpentine cunning by discharging Pickerings from its contract rather than thrashing the issue out, thus pulling the rug from under the picket lines.

Or so they thought. When the council sought to top off its treachery by taking an injunction against the TEEU’s ongoing picketing of a site now handed over to Dimension Elevators, they received an unexpected shock. High Court Justice Mary Laffoy was forced to concede that an oversight in the otherwise watertight anti-union legislation of 1990 rendered picketing of a former employer’s business legal, provided the dispute was a legitimate one (as the Labour Court had deemed this to be.)

Now what, comrades, do you suppose was the reaction of the local Labour Party to all this? To excoriate the bureaucrats for their deviousness? To insist that DCC take up the union’s offer of emergency coverage? To ask why the council was willing to waste time and money on a High Court injunction (the TEEU was awarded costs) while residents suffered and services were decimated across the board? (I spoke to some with mobility issues whose lives had effectively been on hold since February, when the dispute began.)

Nope, instead the clarion call that issued forth from the fuzzy rubicund ranks was “Send in the scabs!” I was unaware of this, having been unable to keep apprised of the minutiae of the issue during the summer, but just came across this Labour Party freesheet printed at the height of the dispute whilst tidying up some other rubbish.

Another scene of urban misery, another Labour photo op.

Note the absence of any passing reference to the chicanery of Dublin City Council, and the framing of the dispute as a purely legal matter. Now, I’m sure Cllr. Lyons would defend his appeal to the army (who were indeed called in and predictably ballsed everything up, being, like, an army, and not a trained lift maintenance crew) on the basis that people were suffering and needed an instant resolution. We’ll call it the Passport Office Gambit for the nonce. Bear in mind that the only possible utility of introducing the army was to break the union, end the picketing and allow Dimension Elevators to take up the contract; the army, as any half-wit would know, is simply not capable of providing this service. Why would they be?

It’s funny how the POG is never applied when the Gucci’s on the other foot, though, isn’t it? The suffering caused by privatised and streamlined-to-oblivion services is never an argument for actually, properly providing those services. Hard-headedness must rule, except where the hard heads are wearing hard hats.

That, in microcosm, is what Labour represents. It’s why a stable Labour/FG government with an unassailable majority will deliver nothing less than an apocalypse to the working class. And it’s why the immediate task of Irish socialism is to forestall that eventuality at any and all costs.

Further reading on the rampant assholery of Dublin City Council:
This excellent article by Cllr. Cieran Perry via the ISN (neither of whom I’d endorse categorically on all issues, but both of whom are doing good work.)


One Response to “Pink PDs: Beyond GUBU”

  1. Mark P Says:

    Jesus fucking Christ.

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