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McCausland needs to realise the voice of socialist opposition is growing stronger on the housing issue

Nelson McCausland (Comment, September 29) appears to have a bad case of the Trots. At least, that's how it would seem, given his increasingly erratic tirades against People Before Profit - the "Trotskyites", don't you know.

Nelson's latest diatribe concerns a debate I had with him on the radio. Though he couldn't bring himself to mention me by name - even though we stood against each other in the last election.

What Mr McCausland took umbrage at was the suggestion that, as a minister, he might have been clouded by sectarianism when it came to housing allocation in north Belfast.

But what he failed to include was the claim that, as a minister, he personally oversaw four areas in north Belfast chosen to receive housing, when three of those chosen were not on the list of top 10 areas in need. These areas were chosen in meetings between Mr McCausland and DSD officials, after areas in most need were already agreed.

It so happens that the areas chosen were areas traditionally perceived as unionist and the areas they superseded were traditionally perceived as mostly nationalist.

So, when he makes the point that the last thing north Belfast needs is the fuelling of division and dispute, I would argue that it is exactly these kind of actions which fuel such division.

Let's be clear: there is significant housing stress in both Catholic and Protestant areas.

Rather than address this, politicians like Nelson McCausland seek to pit people against each other.

Truth be told, if Stormont were to enact a serious programme of social housing construction, all questions of sectarian allocation would disappear.

But they haven't - and they won't. And ministers will continue to be allowed to pit working class Catholics and working class Protestants against each other.

Finally, Mr McCausland refers to a "nationalist and republican narrative" that he is challenging. This is a worn-out trick, one that he learnt from the "Big House" unionists of old that he so much admires: when the working class raises its voice, beat the sectarian drum.

Unfortunately for Mr McCausland, the sound of the drum is getting dimmer, meaning the voice of socialist opposition will not be drowned out this time.


People Before Profit

Belfast Telegraph