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Insiders against the rest of us in 'civil war'

On Wednesday, just before interviewing Brian Gallagher about his book on the Civil War, Taking Sides, one of my radio panellists quipped: "Which civil war is that, the one in 1922 or the one we're about to have?" Taking sides is right. It may not come to flying columns and reprisals but a divide in Ireland is looming and the words of the Billy Bragg song, "Whose side are you on boys, whose side are you on?" will soon ring in our ears.

There are two narratives about which "side" to take; the "haves" versus "have nots" and "public" versus "private". But if you ask me, the "haves" are not those with money, but those with power. And instead of the public sector we should be focusing on those -- public or private sector -- who to an undue degree are net beneficiaries of the tax system. The real divide is between "insiders" and "outsiders".

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