Tag Archives | NI Executive

What Stormont must do to convince Cameron to up his offer

Are the political parties still hoping that David Cameron will turn into a White Knight and Save Ulster from Austerity?  What does Stormont have to do to persuade him to answer  their pleas to up his offer? Among the elements are: devising a proper three year  plan for the first time so as the world more…

Assembly reform without real change in political outlook means little

The reform ideas for  the beleaguered  Stormont Assembly  disclosed by the BBC are well intentioned.  but they’re the wrong treatment on the wrong diagnosis, as the disease is the failure of our politicians to  work together effectively.  Note that they’re being put forward by the British government five months ahead of the deadline of May more…

There Is No Alternative! (to Casement Park development plan) – Redux

Belfast High Court has ruled that the decision to grant planning permission for the controversial £70million redevelopment of Casement Park in west Belfast was “fundamentally flawed”.  However, Mr Justice Horner did not quash the decision, and will take further submissions from lawyers for the Department of the Environment, the GAA and the residents group who mounted the more…

“that’s the trojan horse of the entire republican strategy…”

From his reported comments, it would appear that Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, the Northern Ireland Education Minister, has, at best, a flawed “understanding” of his party president’s comments last night – and, hence, a flawed “understanding” of his party’s entire strategy.  From the UTV report Mr O’Dowd added that his understanding of Mr Adam’s ‘Trojan more…

Gerry Adams: “There is a clear need for more innovative and forward-looking politics…”

By which, the passive-aggressive Sinn Féin president actually means, the SDLP must join Sinn Féin in a sectarian electoral pact in “the next Westminster and Assembly elections”, and the year after that, and the year after that… because… themmuns! To paraphrase, if Sinn Féin can get away with treating all future Northern Ireland elections as a glorified pissing contest more…

Devo Max with corporate tax cut ” disastrous” for NI

This powerful case against the SNP’s Devo Max plans including a 3% cut in corporation tax is made in the academic  website The Conversation by  Arthur Midwinter Associate Professor, Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research at University of Edinburgh  and a former adviser to the former Labour leader in the Scottish Parliament  Johann Lamont. It more…

Corporation tax powers huge test for Stormont

The word is out that the government will grant  Stormont control over corporation tax when the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on 3 December.  Peter Robinson is  talking with the confidence of a done deal.  David Cameron gave a broad hint this morning as he was  grilled by  all the select committees chairs in the more…

Barnett formula bonus won’t last

The present and future  cuts may seem tough – and they are – but here I belatedly post the good news from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), s that they could be much worse, were it not for a” flaw “ in the Barnett formula for allocating the block grant.  The calculations presented in more…

Assembly reform needed but to enable rather than to block

Rick Wilford the recently retired professor of Politics at Queens, provides  an analysis in the Belfast Telegraph  of the deadlock in power sharing that is as bleak as it is authoritative. “That there is a case for reforming the Assembly and the Executive is irrefutable”… This was recognised by all parties at St Andrews, where more…

The phoney crisis over the Budget is an indictment of our politics

The brinkmanship over the budget is over. The emptiness of a threat to return to Direct Rule has been exposed. Martin McGuinness’s attempts to create a late Hallowe’en scare over the prospects of what Direct Rule might mean in reality amounted to the agenda for future Executive action that still awaits – including water charges and perhaps some more…

Saving the Ulster Orchestra is by any standards, a priority

Music Makes The World A Better Place

The modern trend in Orwellian-sounding government cultural policy is to head for the grass roots to look for new mainsprings of creativity. It has a variety of motives and aims. In GB,  the policies of the  DCMS and in Northern Ireland DCal and the priorities of various cash-strapped Arts Councils are also about investing in arts jobs and more…

Shirlow on the gap between slowly shifting attitudes and political positions

Peter Shirlow has to deal with politicians and so cannot afford to sound completely exasperated or polemical. Informed  by his detailed work in the communities  he discusses the perceived gap between public attitudes and the starker political  positions in the Belfast Telegraph, in the light of the recent LucidTalk poll commissioned by the paper. I would only add more…

Kicking the [financial] can down the road, again.

According to the BBC’s Mark Devenport, The Treasury has been asked to supply Stormont with a one-off loan of between £100m and £150m to ease its budgetary crisis, the BBC understands. According to the reports, the proposal was discussed with the UK Treasury by the NI First Minister, the DUP leader Peter Robinson, and the more…

Is Stormont fit to take the gamble on a lower corporation tax?

The economist James Stewart of Trinity College Dublin  has revealed details of the extent of legal tax dodging  (£) involved in the Republic’s tax much vaunted 12.5% business tax rate in the Financial Times He argues that  the Republic’s government seems not be aware that a vast quantity of profits  are not subject to corporation tax anywhere more…

Theresa Villiers: “It is in the interests of everyone affected… that a way forward is found towards a local resolution.”

As the BBC’s Mark Devenport reports, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has proposed that a panel of “experts” be appointed with the objective of mediating “an agreed accommodation between local people in respect of Loyal Order parades in the Twaddell and Ardoyne areas of north Belfast”. The official NIO statement includes the terms of more…

Dealing with the past is – past

People may not have woken up to the fact  that inquiries into Troubles cases have ground to a halt. This is said to be  as a result of the financial pressures on the PSNI as disclosed by the Belfast Telegraph.  The Historical Enquiries team has been wound up,  the historical  role of the Police  Ombudsman which was  once progressed more…

Adams and McGuinness: hard cop, soft cop routine

What are we to make of this?  Who calls the shots? Gerry Adams 24 September ( party leader but unelected in the jurisdiction he’s pronouncing on) Sinn Féin would be willing to allow the Northern Ireland Executive fall and new elections called if the parties cave in to the British government imposing budget cuts of up to more…