Cash On Delivery

‘Pay us to agree!’ is the clear subtext of the emergence of a call for a payment of £1Billion if the DUP and SF agree to the Irish and British governments’ proposals. None of the other political parties here seem prepared to question this – it would be a difficult line to take publicly – but there are reasons why the political cover provided by such a payment could adversely affect future politics here.

Without the necessary consideration of financial prudence (to borrow a phrase) an escalation of a spending ‘war’ as parties promote themselves as ‘building a new future for the people’ is inevitable.

Difficult decisions, such as the prioritising of budgets, would become secondary to the promotion of pet projects in the scramble for a slice of that cash (while it lasts) for the various ministries – making the role of Minister for Finance even more pivotal than before.

And crucial issues such as the vexed question of water charges (or rather the first step towards privatisation of the Water Service) will no longer seem quite so controversial – with no infrastructure investment to fund the increases won’t need to be quite so severe.

It won’t be a pretty sight though and with, as is likely, a DUP minister in the Finance chair the allegations of bias are likely to come thick and fast – unless the ‘dividend’ comes ready-divided for use, but then wouldn’t that just be ‘direct rule’?

Just one other point. Why the raising of this now? Are the parties really saying that this is a ‘deal-breaker’? What would happen if Gordon Brown says, “On yer bike”?

  • Davros

    Hmmm – SF want all the dosh saved on security to be used for other things in the province …. will SF ensure that all the IRA dosh is spent on the local community instead of sitting in a bank account waiting in case they need to buy more arms ? 😉
    Otherwise I think the Govt should establish a savings fund which is there to instantly ramp up security if the IRA renege ….

  • Fraggle

    this is an excellent way for the DUP to protect the union. the british are really going to want to strengthen a union with a territory which not only saps at least £2bn from the british exchequer every year but demends occasional unearned payments for simply getting on with eachother.

    someone should let the british taxpayers know about this.

  • Henry94

    We need to get the 108 unemployed Assembly members into a studio. They should at least sing for their supper.

    All together now

    It’s Christmas time
    And we need to be repaid
    At Christmas time
    For all the efforts that we’ve made
    And in our world of madness
    We can spread a smile of joy
    Throw your arms around the north
    At Christmas time

    There’s not a prayer
    We’ll share power with themuns
    You might think we’re hard
    But we’re having fun
    Because we can talk forever
    About the same old thing
    And the only thing that counts
    Is what the next election brings
    Well tonight thank God we’re willing to be bought

    Feed the north
    Let us know it’s Christmas time
    Feed the north
    Give us cash for doing sweet feck all?

    And there won’t be an executive
    This Christmas time
    Unless greatest gift we get this year is huge
    Our wish list ever grows
    But if this is the last show
    We hope you have a fat cheque for us all

  • James

    The last decent piece Tom Wolfe wrote before he sold out was Mau Mauing The Flack-Catchers. It described how some clever urban black activists were really fronts for gulling Uncle Sugar by spinning tiger tales of how close New York, Newark, Detroit (take your pick) were to blowing up into a Burn Baby, Burn frenzy in the 60’s.

    Maybe Gerry and Da Rev read it while they were in the joint.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Malachi O’Doherty had an excellent satire on this at the start of today’s Talkback, if anyone wants to check it out.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/3614006.stm

  • peteb

    Somehow I managed to miss that today, Gonzo.. Excellent is right though.. What about the pigeons!?!

    (1 min 36 seconds into the broadcast, for anyone in a hurry)

  • alex s

    if this is seen to be a sticking point it will play badly ‘over the water’, of course the Dupes could always sweeten the pill, with the Robinson’s sharing a London flat and saving the hard pressed taxpayers 20K