Nobody working in the pubic sector in Northern Ireland can have failed to be utterly offended by the highly offensive and selective vitriol spewed forth by failed East Belfast TUV candidate David Vance on the Nolan Show on the night of October 30th.
Mr Vance is no stranger to spewing vitriol. Back in 2010 he ended up having to withdraw comments he posted online after his then hosting provider advised him “We have received several complaints regarding hate speech on your website. Per our terms, “Content with the sole purpose of causing harm or inciting hate, or content that could be reasonably considered as slanderous or libelous.” is not permitted”.
Mr Vance never misses an opportunity to push his own particular brand of divisional über loyalism and he rarely, if ever, lets the facts get in the way of an opportunity to do so.
He used the public funded BBC platform to launch a withering attack on public sector workers by selectively quoting a report that sick absence within the Northern Ireland Civil Service for the 2012 – 2013 period had accounted for £30.8m in lost productivity. The reasons for sick leave in the public sector, like any other, are many and varied and yes there certainly is room for improvement. The current “lip service” to the wellbeing (and safety) of public sector workers must come to an end. Any improvement will involve employers, employees and trade unions working to improve upon the current situation. It will involve a genuine, demonstrable and quantifiable committment by all parties to affect improvement.
I’m not going to get into the minutiae of why these people are off work sick nor do I want to have to explain the fact that private sector workers really ought to be demanding the same hard-fought for rights and protections that their public sector colleagues have, rather than demanding parity of a lower calibre, but I’d like to highlight a thing or two if I may.
The bottom line is that these people are off work ill. “Work” is the key word here. The report references “lost productivity” which acknowledges that under normal circumstances where they are not ill and at work they are productive in their role. Both work and productivity cost money in exchange for a service provided. Let me ask Mr Vance what productivity is there in the ongoing flag protests?
At just three months in (we are now 11 months in) the flag protests had already at that stage cost the tax payer £20m in policing costs and in excess of £15m pounds in lost business to Belfast traders within just three weeks of their having started. That’s a £35m (absolute minimum) cost to the taxpayer in just two cost areas in just three months brought about by people whose actions and behaviours do nothing to administer or deliver productivity, support or services to the people of Northern Ireland. A cost incurred, by and large, by people who do not work and who contribute little or nothing fiscally to society as a whole.
Were Mr Vance genuinely interested in or concerned about how Treasury money is spent then he’d do well to collate and consider the figures for policing, lost trade, lost tourism revenue and the costs to the legal system as a result of the actions (or real work inaction) of those people whose job of work is to create havoc and destabilization in Northern Ireland rather than having a cheap pop at people whose job of work is the exact opposite but who happen, from time to time as we as humans are predisposed by nature to do, to fall ill and require time off work to recuperate in order to return to work.
He’s not though, is he?
He actually supports and encourages the flag protests (apologies for exposing you to his bad grammar) whilst seeking to point an accusatory finger of blame at over worked public servants.
He’s a self-proclaimed “social commentator” who either cannot see the irony of his position or is in denial of the biggest social issue facing Northern Ireland at this current time.
He is blinded by his own hatred for public sector workers of whatever hue or religion to the extent that he’d rather spew vitriol at / about them than drag himself into the democratic 21st century and address real world problems.
He’s a has been, a political dinosaur lost in a wilderness. A largely failed “politician” whose only role is to foment hatred, suspicion and division between workers.
He’s part of the problem, not part of any solution.