It might have started out as a strategy, but the ICTU leadership’s profound belief that they can wrest some concessions out of Cowen and Lenihan would be better described as an illusion or perhaps a death wish. We’ve pointed out many times that in a slump social partnership is like the partnership between a cat and a mouse. But at least in Tom and Jerry the mouse was a master of tactics.

The Green Party has voted overwhelmingly to support the new proposals that their leadership has negotiated with Fianna Fáil. As we explained recently the reality is that the new programme offers nothing substantially different from what was on offer before, merely a few tiny reforms to the programme that FF set earlier. Its a cold plate of lame duck with wilted greens.

With all the mainstream parties and top business people campaigning for a Yes vote with huge resources at their disposal, and with most of the trade union leaders also backing the campaign, it is not surprising that the Irish bourgeois managed to overturn the result of the previous referendum. This vote, however, cannot hide the growing class polarisation taking place in the country.

Following a wide scale and carefully orchestrated police operation aimed at disrupting ‘dissident republican’ activity and two nights of rioting in Lurgan, it would appear that the north of Ireland’s social peace has not been in such a fragile state since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement eleven years ago.

The NAMA legislation will be introduced into the Dáil this week. Numerous experts and organisations have been involved in trying to cobble together what is effectively a toxic dump to store the bad debts and poisonous relics of the “good old days”, days that is, which are well and truly gone. The economy is in crisis and the government is in deep trouble.

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