The reported statement yesterday of Labour's minister without portfolio, Brendan Howlin, that many parts of the public service are "not fit for purpose" would have done the master of black propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebells, credit. Like his Fianna Fail predecessor in Finance, Brian Lenihan, Howlin attacks public sector workers and uses non-specific (what does "leaner, more efficient, better integrated and responsive public service" actually mean?), sweeping statements to blacken the good work and reputations of public servants all over Ireland. Then Fine Gael's Minister of State, Brian Hayes, added to the propaganda with more claptrap today.
The softening up process has already begun and it is now clear that there is an agenda for further cuts in public sector pay being worked through by the new Fine Gael/Labour coalition, no matter what sacrifices have already been made, what wage cuts taken, what redundancies already achieved and what efficiencies already delivered. And, just as in Goebbels' time, the Government will find willing allies among the media; serving and retired (particularly) academics; commentators; political hacks, and the capitalists that destroyed our country, all of whom are happy to jump on the propaganda bandwagon for their own gain.
Kristallnacht for the public sector cannot be far away.
And, recalling their dismal failures of the past, I have little faith in organised labour to come to the defence of workers when the assault begins.