People Before Profit are standing in this election to offer a radical alternative to the failed policies of the Stormont establishment and their communal headcount politics.

Instead of focusing solely on the fight to be King of the Stormont Castle, our candidates enter this election to offer a progressive, socialist alternative that speaks to working-class people who are suffering through a cost of living crisis.

We reject the communal carve-up of politics and do not accept the narrative that there are only two traditions that are dominating and irreconcilable. Our society is changing and diverse and there are many people who do not fit into or refuse to be locked into, the traditional headcount. We welcome this. There are many people, too, that do not want to be ruled by a dysfunctional Stormont which stumbles from crisis to crisis, or by a Tory Westminster.

People Before Profit wishes to reflect our changing demographics and provide a vehicle to fight for a better society for us all. In doing so, we look to the huge movements which have been lightning rods for change – such as Repeal. These movements point to a better way, to an Ireland that is not run by the same old conservative ideologies.

For decades, our elections have been deadlocked. We are told to choose between the largest representatives of ‘our own communities’ – primarily the DUP and Sinn Féin. Before every election the big parties beat the communal drums; afterwards, they work together to preside over inequality and poverty, until a new crisis in Unionism starts the game all over again.

The latest iteration of the crisis of Unionism sees the DUP whipping up fear over the protocol in a desperate attempt to deflect from disastrous polls and their failure to deliver for working-class people.  Yet this is the very party that welcomed the protocol and believed the lies of Boris Johnson who they invited with open arms to their 2018 conference. Now they pretend that a ‘Unionist identity’ is under threat from both. Thankfully, they don’t speak for the majority of people, including those from a protestant background.

Sinn Féin claims that winning the position of First Minister will take us on the high road to a united Ireland, but that position is purely symbolic. While we disagree with those who would boycott an Executive with a Sinn Féin First Minister, People Before Profit believes it will make little difference to people’s lived experience, given the record of Sinn Féin working with the DUP to deliver austerity.

All of the big parties – DUP, Sinn Féin, Alliance, UUP, and SDLP – have failed to improve the lives of working people.  They fight over communal symbols and then agree to economic policies which protect the wealthy and hammer the poor. Just look at their combined record:

  • Energy prices are soaring yet the Executive has delivered little beyond a one-off £200 payment for those on benefits. No offering for low or paid workers, and no price caps.
  • Our health service faced a crisis even before COVID because of underfunding, low pay, and privatisation.
  • One in four children are currently living in poverty, with the use of foodbanks rising.
  • The average cost of childcare is £170 a week – one-third of the average household income and the highest figure in the western world.
  • As inflation nears 8%, public sector workers face yet another below-inflation pay offer, including health, local government, Housing Executive, Education Authority, and Transport workers.
  • Average wages are a full £2,000 less than the UK average, with four out of ten workers on or below the poverty line.
  • The Stormont Executive maintain a discredited, unfair, and discriminatory welfare system which treats people with suspicion and disdain.
  • They have agreed to ‘rebalance’ the economy away from the public sector, creating a low paying private sector economy that benefits from reduced corporation tax.
  • Scotland has abolished tuition fees, yet here they are over £4,000 per year.
  • NHS care and nursing homes have been shut while struggling families pay a staggering £700 a week.
  • The very wealthy profited greatly from COVID, yet the Stormont Executive refused to call for a “COVID wealth tax”.

We have been told there is no money to fund jobs, healthcare, a fair benefits system, etc. The past two years have shown this to be an utter farce. When the pandemic hit politicians found money overnight for various handouts, not least £155 million for retail vouchers and hundreds of millions more on an “eat out to help out” scheme.

People Before Profit demand the same type of urgency to deal with the crippling cost of living crisis, to revitalise our health service, our housing stock, and our other public services. As hardship increases, a radical and transformative approach toward politics and economics is needed more than ever.

People Before Profit are out to fight for a different kind of politics, rooted in communities instead of Stormont, that can reach across the divide and win real change for ordinary people from all backgrounds.

A new generation and workers are already leading the way by standing up for their rights. We salute the local government workers, the education workers, university workers, and all others who are taking action to raise their wages. We salute the thousands of women who have stood up to the dinosaurs of the DUP in asserting their right to control their own bodies and have abortion services in the North. We salute the young people who are rising and demanding climate action now!

To all of them, we promote a vision of a better, socialist society where there are top quality free public services, decent wages for working people, full rights for ethnic minorities, women and the LGBTQ+ community, and a real effort to stop our planet being destroyed by climate change.