The last few days have seen a flurry of activity, the AIB bill has been presented, the polls show Labour miles ahead of both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. The economy is faltering and there is a four year budget plan on the way, although it is unlikely to be delivered to Leinster House via a cement lorry. But what are the prospects for the main parties and how do the trade union struggles over the last two years fit into the equation?

Capitalism is in a deep crisis and the bourgeois are planning austerity programmes that could last for a generation. The crisis in the north took longer to hit, but that’s all changed. The Tories have already telegraphed the likely cuts in the north and the CBI has weighed in with its “advice” on how to deal with the crisis. But what would their proposals mean?

As part of his campaign for General Secretary of UNITE Jerry Hicks will be addressing a series of public meetings and visiting a number of workplaces across Ireland this week (beginning the 27th September).

There are storm clouds on the horizon for the economy in the North. While the recession took longer to bite than in the south this only reflects the weakness of capitalism and the predominance of public sector employment. There are now as many people who are economically inactive (26%) than work in “private industry”. But the crisis has now caught up with a vengeance and it is only going to get worse.

Symptoms are the physical signs of an underlying problem. At the moment the Irish economy has a series of symptoms which would send the average doctor fleeing to the hills. But according to the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, everything is stable and the economy is fine thank you very much. Of course Mr Lenihan’s analysis was designed for the press and to settle the nerves of the international speculators.

A ban on trade union donations to the Labour Party will not benefit anyone other than the enemies of the working class and the organised working class in particular.

The Green Party leader John Gormley has announced that the ban is to be introduced, alongside a ban on corporate donations, so much for the Green Party’s veneer of radicalism. This “radicalism” has become very stale and particularly mouldy also. Of course the proposed legislation is designed to appear even handed.

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