Regional solutions, national inaction and global problems

California has made its own plan to cut the state’s ommissions by 25%, breaking with the federal government’s rejection of Kyoto. David Cameron has honed in on the environment as a key issue and Charles Clarke identified it as one of the issues causing disillusionment with Labour. Can Northern Ireland follow this lead? Could Unionism use a restored Assembly to take the lead on key national issues? If yes to either, what issues should it focus upon?Californian governor Arnold Schwarzenegger argues that taking the lead is good economics:

“We can now move forward with developing a market-based system that makes California a world leader in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues. [This deal] strengthens our economy, cleans our environment and once again, establishes California as the leader in environmental protection.”

  • Surely, that should be emissions not ommissions? There’s a big difference!

  • Setanta

    “Could Unionism use a restored Assembly to take the lead on key national(sic)issues?”

    Fair Deal – you seem to be overlooking the end of Stormont and the somewhat changed political reality.

  • fair_deal


    1. SF seem to think they can drive a nationalist agenda on all-island bodies despite the constraints of power-sharing.
    2. Depending on the maths and number of ministries when an executive is formed it is possible for a unionist majority on it making such an aprroach more achievable.
    3. Just because it won’t necessarily be easy doesn’t mean you don’t try.
    4. Individual ministers will still have scope for initiative within their departmental ken.
    5. On what basis can innovation be attacked on a serious public policy issue? “You can’t act on that important issue because London based parties might be interested! We’ll suck carbon until 2016/2021/within our lifetime.”

  • B em used

    Fair Deal’s right – it would be astoundingly churlish to resist such a move by Unionism on narrow constitutional grounds. That said, given that these are the same bovine oafs who preside over the annual carcinogen-fest that is ‘the twalfth’ and strenuously object to any sensible attempts to rein-in the groundwater-polluting, bungalow-building farmers – I wouldn’t hold out much hope of them suddenly discovering a moral or ecological conscience. These twats are the Northern mirror-image of the fat, lard-brained Fianna Faillers in the South – asinine, myopic and corrupt.

  • Jo

    The way Jim Wells has been treated wouldn’t signify that environmental issues are regarded anyway seriously by the DUP.

    It’d be interesting if Wm McCrea could pen a song about the “carcinogen fest” though.

  • fair_deal

    I realise I used environment as an strong example however as my questions at the end of the past make clear it does not necessarily have to be the issue(s) chosen. Apologies if my over-emphasis has pushed the debate in one direction.

  • Bemu sed

    I agree that there’s nothing stopping the local parties making the running on a major issue and hoping then to lead, influence or encourage the British or Irish governments national policy in the process. The problem is that the local parties (and the Unionist parties in particular) have tended to concentrate on such an absurdly narrow sectarian agenda that their thinking on more relevant and significant issues is either reactionary or non-existent. Jo was right to bring up Jim Wells – the DUP’s treatment of him confirmed that they are now completely in hock to a particularly odious constituency of bird-brained bog-trotters and that any suggestion of interfering with these moron’s ‘right’ to pollute and deface all round them is to be nipped in the bud.

    There are a number of no-brainers that should have been introduced years ago:-

    Plastic bag tax as per the South.

    Strong financial penalties for more polluting car engines as per the South.

    Immediate ban on fish farming.

    Revocation of the statutory immunity attaching to the DRD in respect of its utterly outrageous campaign of water pollution.

  • Jo

    “a particularly odious constituency of bird-brained bog-trotters”

    ..wonderful! 🙂

  • I’m gonna hit Arnie up for a job as Commisioner of Omissions.

    Speaking of this legislative achievement in terms of what Unionism could do in the Assembly is missing the point. The real story isn’t about the environment: It’s how to get things done.

    This piece of legislation was only possible because Swartzenegger abandoned normal California Republican politics, cut the girly man crap and reached out to the Democrats, including them on his staff. He is also now loath to piss off the nurses union but not the California Republican Party.

    It didn’t come easy. He abandoned the California politics as usual when the electorate handed him his ass in a sling in the last election. He ain’t all that dumb and he is married to one hell of a little shanty Irish pol. His numbers show him now likely to win against Angelides.

    Maybe we’ll have better luck with Austrian politicians than the Germans did.

    Now, Sluggiepoos, find a nordie unionist that can reach out to themuns and do half as well and pigs will indeed fly.