A rather hollow package

The proposed peace package seems to be have left many underwhlemed. The local CBI Chairman, Declan Billington, has described it as a nuisance payment. Meanwhile, Newton Emerson thinks it is all a con, any “increases” will be less that the asset stripping Gordon Brown wants to do. The parties aren’t exactly dancing in the street either. UPDATE One Welsh Academic thinks we should get real.

  • Greenflag

    Both Newt Emerson and Declan Billington are correct with the latter edging it in that Newt’s understandable skepticism smacks of too much ‘ungratefulness’ ?

    Essentially Gordon’s package does nothing except to throw more public sector funds at an economy which is already drowning in the same .

    A litle arsenic can be a tonic . . Stuffing more arsenic down the throat of the already over dosed patient could be just what the patient needs 🙁

    Gordons lifebuoy will help . It will keep the patient afloat but not any closer to a full rescue . It seems the would be rescuer does not expect the patient to float for very much longer .

  • seabhac siúlach

    I never understood this idea that the Brit. govt. were going to throw more extra public money at the money pit that is the 6 counties. From the numbers talked about, it would appear that the Brit. concept of the ‘peace dividend’ is merely to continue to pay the bloated subvention year on year for the next 10 years, nothing more, while (hopefully) the economy sorts itself out…and integrates into an all-Ireland economy. It would appear that there is little extra money available for the necessary infrastructural changes that would be needed to compete with the 26 counties nor is there a willingness to lower tax rates. It would appear, therefore, that any money for major infrastructural projects (Aughnacloy-Derry motorway, improved Research/Development etc.) will come from the Southern govt., with the Brit. govt. picking up the (hefty) bill for the day-to-day running of the statelet in the meantime (paying the salaries/costs of the inflated number of civil servants and benefits recipients…)
    The very idea of pumping more public funds at this moment in time into an unreformed and inflexible six county economy would be foolish. There is, in fact, a case to be made that instead of extra money the 6 county economy could do with a cut in direct govt. funding, to wean the population off the easy life of guaranteed public sector jobs and ludicrous benefits payments…
    A harsh dose of financial reality is perhaps what is needed to sharpen political minds (particularly on the Unionist side…)

  • Yokel

    Seabhac…look at all the lovely council housing around..thats the money pit….

  • Yokel

    Invest NI…over heavy government departments…

    What it would be most interesting to see is how NI comes out as a region ahead of other areas of the UK which have the same category status in terms of social, economic issues etc when it comes to funding.

    Greenflag, Gordon may not want to give it much money but the fact is they will continue to subsidise to it a high level though not as as high as before whilst it remains in the UK. It’s only fair that NI is treated in parity with similar regions of the UK in terms of focussed funding.

    I find it particularly rich of unionists who talk about feeling like second class UK citizens going off with the begging bowl so often. The NI economy could stand relatively ok on its own two feet if it was forced to but the attitude is far too much about always running to others for support from politicians here of all hues and far too often its people as well.

  • Crataegus

    If he wants to do something he should show a resolve to improving the local economy. Drop corporation tax and couple this with business rate breaks in disadvantaged areas. Also we need someone to light a fire under the likes of he Planning Service etc. What this place needs is a clear sign that we are serious about improving the economy and there is government commitment behind that aim. Forget all the quango waffle and social economy funding we have had years of it and what has any of it achieved?

    We now need to decommission quango land and I bet that is more difficult than getting the PIRA, UDA etc to move. The pen is welded by sharper brains than the sword and there is considerable self interest in maintaining the status quo.

  • Greenflag

    Yokel

    ‘but the attitude is far too much about always running to others for support from politicians here of all hues and far too often its people as well.’

    This attitude is inherent in ‘unionism’ and always has been . You can’t blame a dog for barking . or expect a horse to moo 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus ,

    ‘Drop corporation tax and couple this with business rate breaks in disadvantaged areas.’

    Gordon has to look at the consequences for his tax take from Scotland , Wales and poorer regions of England if he dropped corporation tax rates for NI. Anyway it’s not allowed under Eu rules .

    ‘there is considerable self interest in maintaining the status quo. ‘

    True even if the staus quo is an economic mess at least the taxpayers of England are paying for it . Might be different when NI taxpayers get to pay their fair share ?

  • Rubicon

    SS – You may have a point but it isn’t evident in SF engagement on similar issues within your “26 counties” (officially known as the “Republic of Ireland” and it’s high time northern ‘republicans’ started to call it by its proper name! Ever wonder why SF bounce against a ceiling in independent Ireland?).

    Failure to vary corporation tax will present a serious challenge – but not one that either side seems keen to engage with at the moment. SF & DUP may yet be shown to lack the required backbone – but as Pete is constantly telling us – the clock is still ticking. It hasn’t ticked out yet.

    Your proposal SS is to withdraw finance to service the aim of a UI. Your veneer of an economic argument is just that – a shallow attempt to use events for your own political purposes. In independent Ireland SF’s position is the opposite where they appear opposed to the low corporation tax.

    It’s a pity the media don’t focus on SF’s all Ireland party credentials by comparing its approach north and south of the border. But – since it’s too much work for them to read the Assembly’s Hansard reports it would be way too much to expect that they read the Oireachtas reports too.

    If you stick to criminal justice the likes of Dodds appear to be presenting SF with the ‘out’ they need. I for one won’t be crediting ‘republican’ partitionist economic hypocrisy as anything more than a convenient political hostage for ‘republicans’ to spout to those daft enough to listen.

  • seabhac siúlach

    Rubicon

    “Your proposal SS is to withdraw finance to service the aim of a UI.”

    I believe the Brit. govt. is doing this itself…
    they appear to be trying to tell Unionists…’It’s the economy, stupid’! That is, they are introducing no extra money and are more than happy to allow the creation of an all-Ireland economy. They are happy to allow this all-Ireland economy to take shape (going by the often repeated and enthusiastic comments of Hain, etc. on this very topic) even though the idea of one country usurping part of the economy of another would normally be considered a gross intrusion into the national sovereignty of the country affected. It is quite clear that the Brit. govt. do not now see the six counties as integral to their state. This must be worrying for Unionists. How else to explain the enthusiasm to effectively cede sovereignty in the case of the economy? And once the economies are part of a single all-Ireland economy the game is up…there is a de-facto UI whether Unionists like it or not…
    The economy is the country, if you like. You cannot create an all-Ireland economy without eventually having to harmomise taxes, currency, etc. North and South…for Unionists it doesn’t look good in the long term…
    This is not me saying this…it is the Brit. govt. talking about all-island economies.

    “In independent Ireland SF’s position is the opposite where they appear opposed to the low corporation tax.”

    I do not speak for SF, but I believe that they wish to raise corporation tax to 17-17.5%, from the 12.5% rate at the moment, which is still much less than the 30% rate in the UK. A rate of 17% would also still allow the 26 counties, sorry the ‘republic’ or Ireland, to compete with Eastern European countries while gaining extra money for social provision.

  • Bog warrior

    Greenflag is onto something about the EU not allowing the reduction in corporation tax. La Hain himself quoted that as the main reason it couldn’t happen in an interview the other day on Radio Ulster. According to the tanned one EU rules forbid differing rates of corporation tax within the one state. The reason for this could be to do with the distribution of EU structural funds and convergence (i’m guessing).
    Rubicon could it be that they are appealing to two very different constituencies North & South. In the North SF have the working class Nationalist vote virtually sewn up. The only way they can grow their vote is to attract middle class Nationalists. In the South their strategy appears to be focussed on attracting votes from working class housing estates and those excluded from the Celtic Tiger. It seems they’re cutting their cloth to match with different stances on corporation tax rates North & South to appeal to different types of voter.

  • Yokel

    Greenflag you perhaps slightly confuse political unionism with many people who consider themselves unionists.

    Most that I know are pretty effin sick of the begging bowl approach. Some of those people are in business, some are just regular labouring joes and others are I suppose in between.

    None of them would be upset if the government said no more money beyond anywhere else in the UK because they know NI has got lucky.

    A well trained dog knows when to bark..

  • George

    Bog Warrior,
    “Greenflag is onto something about the EU not allowing the reduction in corporation tax. La Hain himself quoted that as the main reason it couldn’t happen in an interview the other day on Radio Ulster. According to the tanned one EU rules forbid differing rates of corporation tax within the one state.”

    Indeed, this is not and never has been on the table. I simply don’t understand why Gregory Campbell ever thought it could be. Could it be he doesn’t know what he is talking about?

    The only time this could have happened was during the GFA negotiations when the goodwill was there from Europe and Ireland was still wheeling and dealing on its own corporate tax rates.

    It could have been packaged with a single Industrial Development Authority to get Foreign Direct Investment for the island of Ireland.

    Ulster Unionists left triumphant that they had prevented this particularly hideous Northsouthery spectre from materialising and eight years later their successors, the Democratic Unionists are travelling to London and Dublin on bended knee begging for a level playing field for foreign investment.

    If I was a unionist and in business I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  • McGrath

    On the face of it, liquidizing assets to be used on infrastructure improvements is not all that bad of and idea, surly NI could use some of that. However, this type of cash injection is not going to capitalize the NI economy, it will merely be a quick renovation of the factory with little to no cash put to increasing sustainable revenues. Eventually the capital projects will end and we are back to were we started.

    The real concern is calling it a “peace dividend”, surely it is money that NI had coming to it anyway. Secondly calling it a “peace dividend” is an indication of which people are going to be involved with the spending decisions, which will lead to massive inefficiencies and misappropriations.

    It seems Gordys’ strategy is to sell the house, give all the money to the kids to distract them for 10 years or so, they will be so busy partying and wasting the money, Gordys’ life will be easy and by the time all the money is gone, the kids will be someone else’s problem.

  • Greenflag

    Yokel .

    ‘None of them would be upset if the government said no more money beyond anywhere else in the UK because they know NI has got lucky. ‘

    Their elected political representatives have a poor way of showing it . I can just hear the silence from them with regards to the upcoming increases in water charges etc etc .

    The whole Unionist be it DUP or UUP approach to economic opportunity reminds me of the bright lad who went to interview for his first job and being asked by what starting slary he was looking for

    ‘Im thinking of somewhere in the range of 75,000 pounds a year or so depending on the other benefits ‘ says the bould Sammy .

    ‘W-e-l-l ‘says the interviewer .

    ‘ What would you say to 6 weeks paid holidays plus all official bank holidays , full private health and dental insurance , a retirement fund where the company will contribute 30% of your gross salary every year and a company car – a Porsche – all expenses paid by the company ‘?

    Sammy gasps and says ‘ Wow -are you kidding ?’

    ‘Yes ‘, replies the interviewer.

    ‘But you started it ‘!

  • Greenflag

    Yokel ,

    ‘Most that I know are pretty effin sick of the begging bowl approach. ‘

    I’m sure but their elected representatives are’nt . My apologies if you are confused but my point was that unionism i.e political unionism by virtue of it’s history in Ireland has very little choice other than to hold out the bowl .

    When the Conservatives took away the Unionist Stormont ‘unionism ‘ lost whatever self respect and ‘independence ‘ it might have had . Forty years of abject leadership and head in the sands politics has left political unionism up the proverbial creek without a paddle . Paisley’s near death conversion to power sharing with SF is 30 years too late IMO .

  • Greenflag

    George

    ‘If I was a unionist and in business I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.’

    Well at least it’s a better choice than what faces being a Unionist and being in politics . Their choices are not whether to laugh or cry but whether to crawl on their knees to HMG or prostrate themselves in the hope of ermine .

    Gordon Brown’s package neatly sums up the political and economic cul de sac into which Unionist leaders have led their people .
    Without the possibility of corporation tax reduction NI will continue to lose out in comparison to the Republic . Thus the stage is set for continuing economic divergence between the Republic and NI .

    The only way Unionism can reinvigorate the NI private sector ito make it competitive with the Republic is by leaving the Union . It’s the ultimate catch 22 or should that be catch 6 ?

  • Michael

    Ingratitude isn’t a strong enough term to describe the attitude of the CBI and some of the politicians.

    70% OF NI income is via the public sector. It is approx 50% in Wales and Scotland and closer to 40% in England.

    NI should take the money and run and be grateful. If I lived in Scotland or Wales, I’d be pretty fed up with NI politicians and their bottomless begging bowl.

    Harold Wilson got it right when he used the term “spongers”.

    As for Corporation Tax, it is illegal within the EU to have differing rates within the same member state. Also, if NI gets a lower rate why shouldn’t Scotland or Wales?.

    A week ago we have Paisley claiming that he will stuff Tony Blair’s words down his throat then we have the DUP on their knees in Downing Street begging for yet more handouts.

    There is a big tough ecomonic world out there and it’s time that NI started pulling it’s weight.

  • lib2016

    This is not an insoluble problem nor will it be the panacea for all our ills when it is sorted out, as it will be.

    Eastern Europe has in many cases a zero rate corporation tax and an educated workforce but their economies while they are improving haven’t caught fire in the way the economy of the South has.

    Devolution in NI will eventually lead to an Assembly with real powers which will follow the path the Scots are already following and the economies of the UK will separate. By that time the North and the South will be coming together and no-one in Brussels is going to worry too much about what happens in part of a remote island on the edge of Europe.

    Temporary little arrangements on the road to unity will be winked at. Reunification when it comes will be as quiet and non-eventful as the coming together of the Benelux countries.

  • just visiting

    Michael

    Fair enough for some points, but you are wrong on Corporation Tax. The business groups want the main focus to be on reducing Corporation Tax as the only way to make a real change on attracting inward investment and cut the subvention from Westminster. The parties on the PFG Committee, in line with the evidence they had from economic advisors, backed this as the key thing that could make a real difference. Our economy is so weak, so dependent on public sector, that we couldn’t make the difference we need just by growth in existing local firms.

    The evidence is not at all clear that different tax rates would be illegal. They have to be under the control of the regional authority, which has to bear the costs of any changes, otherwide it is illegal state aid.

    They all have a begging bowl of sorts, but it is directed at the backlog in investment in infrastructure and skills training. In addition, Alliance has pointed out the costs of segregation as an area where we should invest to save future costs.

  • Crataegus

    Lib2016

    I agree with the general thrust of what you are saying about the European Union. The problem in my opinion is not Europe, but lack of will in Britain, the old saying of where there is a will there is a way applies.

    It would be very easy to make a strong case for a more devolved administration here that could be viewed as an entity that is if you like off shore, and though attached is apart from Britain. An entity disadvantaged by the tax structures of a neighbour.

    Further NI is in the position of having been through over 30 years of war, with under investment in both the private and public sectors and we must consider the tax precedent set by like the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

    I have just returned from central Europe and in my opinion there would be considerable support for any such proposal for reasons that are not entirely philanthropic.

    With Corporation tax we have to ask will it make a difference. I set up a business with others, we buy, develop and generally sell. In my opinion Corporation Tax reductions are bound to help. If people like myself decide that there is a cost advantage to locate in Belfast rather than suffer the inconvenience of somewhere strange with different laws and customs and often questionable regimes then we will if it is politically stable. Also what is important is not the amount of money we personally have, but the amount of money we have access to. It also doesn’t matter if we develop in NI or abroad as long as our financial trail is through NI as that in itself will give rise to more local employment and greater local tax take.

    My grasp of corporate tax and business structures is at times decidedly wanting, but I know people who have an adroit comprehension and it may be useful to also look at related company legislation. What we want is for companies to find it advantageous to operate through NI.

    Corporation tax reduction will not solve all woes, you also need to enable people to make better use of the assets they have. Much of the indigenous wealth of NI is tied up in land and property and we need to be better placed to use that potential. I am not for one moment advocating a free for all in planning, but we really do need to look at this area in terms of both wealth creation and sustainability. We need a coherent efficient Planning Service. I think it needs to be fundamentally restructured and its role reappraised. Currently it is repelling investment!!!!!!!!!!

    With regards areas like the Shankill you need to encourage and support business that set up there so that there is the possibility of a more diverse local economy. The position in some areas is so poor that in addition to getting rid of organised gangsters you would need probably 25 years of business rate relief. It will take decades and billions to reverse the decline in these areas. If we produce a package of measures for these areas it will also help with the problems of long term unemployment, role models for children, improving outlook etc but it is a major problem that does need to be addressed.

    We should also look at increasing the number of University places here and the role of education, appropriate training, trade guilds and all that sort of thing, so that we build up a robust, skilled work force properly monitored and organised.

    We are not looking for subsidies from Britain, what we what is less charitable donations and recognition of the real economic problems and a package of measures that would address those problems. We want to reduce our dependency.

    Just visiting

    The structural costs of segregation really do need to be addressed.

  • mcgrath

    Let face a reality, NI lacks Capitalism, Capitalism would circumvent most of the anti-social problems that exist in NI. We are faced with a bunch of socialists (on both sides) with differing agendas.

  • Rubicon

    Just Waiting – you are correct about the evidence, the Azores case makes it pretty clear how to comply AND vary corporation tax. The rub would be that NI would need to be seen to pay for it.

    Without doubt NI will benefit from the UK providing this flexibility. If our politicians don’t succeed (as seems likely) in pushing this, the failure will be for ‘other’ reasons.

    Even the most negative view estimates an extra 2.5 billion for NI. Devolution can decide how this money is used – it could achieve a lot.

    Without devolution – no £2.5 billion and the block grant will be up for grabs. Politics in the UK is moving on and NI willfully being absent will suit many. SF will be delighted.

    Unionism has yet to wake up to the fact that it has few friends – its survival depends on its ability to assess the options available.

    I’m NOT saying unionism MUST conceed. What I will say is that unionism can achieve all – it is there if only it could conceive of each human being as equal. If it can – NI will survive. If it can’t – NI will fulfill the SF dream.

    Unionism needs to get out of the bibles and start dealing with what unionism means. The DUP have achieved a lot – but … nobody is interested in keeping the cropies down any more.

    It’s OK to be a Methodist, Presbyterian or Catholic – or whatever. Some in SF and the DUP would disagree; but, you voted for them!

    Watch what happens when the bible belt think they’ve got their way. It won’t be long before they scream.

    Unionism has had many opportunities to share – all refused. That’s fine – there was a time when unionists generated money, were innovative and made Belfast a world-wide landmark for industry. The refusal to share has brought that to nothing.

    Keep it up – and get nothing. Think yourselves the God given lemings that you are.

    Wilson said it as it was; “SPONGERS”. Ireland agreed about the same lot of wasters and removed articles 2 & 3 just in case. Nationalists north of the border took benefits while the citizens of independent Ireland paid. It’ll be a long time before a SF’r will convince a “Free-Stater” that they have contributed – even though 1 in 10 seem willing to listen.

    For unionists the message is simple. You can govern yourselves – or be governed. That means …

    Those still in possession of their anti agreement posters may need to search the attic. With your arse to the moon – nobody much cares what you find.

    The SAA is IT for now. Take it or leave it – in the grander scheme it doesn’t matter to anyone beyond yourselves.

  • Phil

    A foreign chancellor giving away English money to more foreigners. England must have her independence NOW!

  • Greenflag

    McGrath,

    ‘It seems Gordys’ strategy is to sell the house etc ‘,

    I’d say Gordon’s strategy is to make into number 10 with as little hassle as possible . He’s not going to give Scot nationalists the ‘present’ of conceding a much reduced corporation tax rate to Northern Ireland .

    ‘You would na hae a telly the new if it was nae for the union ‘

    Just as well that EU ‘restriction’ is out there to provide the Chancellor with cover.

  • Greenflag

    just visiting, Crataegus, Rubicon

    Congratulations on three excellent posts each of which in their own way highlight differing facets of the inherent contradictions within ‘political unionism ‘

    JV,

    ‘Our economy is so weak, so dependent on public sector, that we couldn’t make the difference we need just by growth in existing local firms. ‘

    I agree . Which is why there will in all probability be continuing divergence between the Republic and NI in terms of economic performance , growth rate , new business creation etc etc . All of which would not matter if NI and ROI did not share a common border or did not have ‘unresolved ‘ constitutional issues which regardless of GFA/SAA keep the ‘uncertainty’ in play at least as regards the politics of NI .

    Crataegus,

    ‘The problem in my opinion is not Europe, but lack of will in Britain, the old saying of where there is a will there is a way applies.’

    Sometimes where there is a will there’s also a wont . Particularly for stubborn cases which have for a generation or more turned away from the economic realities of a changing world .

    The lack of ‘will’ in Britain is nothing new . Britain’s relationship with Ireland (and I mean all of the island) has always been neither here nor there . Looking back it seems as if Britain could never make up it’s mind whether we were British , or just another colony or some half way ‘foreign’ country with a different religion .
    Today Britain seems to have decided that the Reoublic is indeed Irish and that NI is still in a semi cose condition i.e neither here nor there . Thus the political confusion , the lack of will , the tendency to just muddle through and hope for ?

    Rubicon,

    Well said – Et tu Brutal 🙂

    ‘Unionism has yet to wake up to the fact that it has few friends – its survival depends on its ability to assess the options available.’

    And on the question of options there are’nt too many out there . The economic world has changed
    dramatically during ‘unionisms’ long economic hibernation . Apart from the Republic , eastern europe , China , India and now even South America are targets for global investors .

    And so to Catch 22/6 . Northern Ireland’s only chance at catching up for a generation ahead is to have a similar ‘economic and tax regime’ as the Republic and they can’t have that option as long as they remain in the Union . The SAA will make ( assuming it’s agreed even) NI even more public sector dependent and would return NI to having Government without a practical ‘opposition’ which is where it all began .

    Political ‘unionism ‘ has had it’s day . Time to accept that and move on . Unionists need to look to themselves and ask the tough questions .

    No wonder so many head for the garden centres .

  • English

    Northern Ireland should not get any advantage or special treatment in relation to corporation tax – because it is part of the UK. If Unionists want a similar economy to the south, then they will have to unite with it! Unionits cannot have everything their own way!

    Indeed that is the crux of the problem, because the DUP want everything their own way and that is why they put up obstacle after obstacle, condition after condition. That is why I believe agreement will not be reached, and everybody will be pointing their fingers at the DUP.

  • Greenflag

    English,

    ‘Unionists cannot have everything their own way!

    Why not ? It’s what they became used to under Stormont 1920-1972 . And some of their politicians are still trying to get back there 🙁

    So who will point the finger at the DUP ?

    There is no agreement – There never was an agreement . How can you have agreement between two parties whose leaders have never spoken directly to each other ever !

    It’s a farce , a charade , a diversion . More political music chairs to play around . That’s all .

    The DUP know that once power sharing begins with SF the road thereafter goes in only one direction – never mind the constitutional guarantees etc etc -which of course will be observed at least in theory . In the real world the Republic’s business people will soon control a large part of Northern Ireland’s private sector and Northern Ireland’s administration will be in the hands of the Fenians . There are just not enough young unionists left with enough qualifications – the bright ones have left for university in England/Scotland and most will not return . There is nothing to return to .

    Paisley and his ilk might as well take a boat to Rockall and start howling at the puffins . Nobody else will be listening .

    Some might say that the DUP are between the proverbial rock and a hard place .

    Not true . They are between no place and no place not going anywhere . Paisley is like an octopus on roller skates . Plenty of movement and flailing of limbs but no direction . No is not a direction . It’s a dead end . Why should we surprised that it is so ! It could not be anything else .

  • lib2016

    The DUP, like most unionists have always known that eventual reunification was coming. It’s not necessary to rehearse the demographics yet again – unionists know them better than most as the recent oh-so-innocent attacks on the existence of faith schools proves.

    That’s the real point of the present manouvres. Unionists know that this may be the last time when they can make demands as a local majority and that they will soon be just another Irish minority group along with the Chinese-Irish, the Polish-Irish and all the rest.

    Their politicans face terrible choices but that’s life. The Northern Nats faced them in the 1920’s as did the Southern Brits. If Europe continues to come together all those nationalists both British and Irish who oppose a United States of Europe will face similar choices.

  • IJP

    Is anyone seriously surprised?

    Brown seeks not a single vote in NI, so we expect him to spend even more money here than he already does?!

    The generous residents of the Southeast of England already hand us £6 bn a year on a plate, even though we also have all kinds of peace funds inter alia (“alia” now includes the odd billion from Dublin, it seems), we chuck it down the pan on consultants telling an already bloated civil service how to do its job, and then we go off demanding some more?

    If UK plc were a venture capitalist he would long ago have said “You want lots of money but you haven’t shown any ability to spend it effectively, nor have you even got a Board of Directors prepared to take responsibility for it – go away!”

    If we want more money to spend on public services, we’d better start creating the wealth right here at home. Because no one else is going to do it for us.

  • Greenflag

    IJP,

    ‘If we want more money to spend on public services, we’d better start creating the wealth right here at home. Because no one else is going to do it for us’

    Not a truer word ever said 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Lib2016,

    ‘The DUP, like most unionists have always known that eventual reunification was coming. ‘

    And at just about the time that it a (UI) looks like a real possibility the DUP will ‘discover’ the repartition solution. By then of course the UUP will be even less of a credible force than it is today assuming it continues to even exist.

  • guillaume

    This is all that matters now: The principles
    Increasing the representation of individuals from under-represented religious groups in the workforce including managerial, supervisory, administrative, clerical and technical jobs.
    Adequate security for the protection of minority employees both at the workplace and while travelling to and from work.
    The banning of provocative religious or political emblems at the workplace.
    All job openings should be publicity advertised and special recruitment efforts should be made to attract applicants from under-represented religious groups.
    Lay-off, recall, and termination procedures should not in practice favor particular religious groupings.
    The abolition of job reservations, apprenticeship restrictions and differential employment criteria, which discriminate on the basis of religious or ethnic origin.
    The development of training programs that will prepare substantial numbers of current minority employees for skilled jobs, including the expansion of existing programs and the creation of new programs to train, upgrade, and improve the skills of minority employees.
    The establishment of procedures to assess, identify, and actively recruit minority employees with the potential for further advancement.
    The appointment of a senior management staff member to oversee the company’s affirmative action efforts and the setting up of timetables to carry out affirmative action principles.
    In addition to the above, each signatory to the principles is required to report annually to an independent monitoring agency on its progress in the implementation of these principles.

    The Macbride principles.
    Endorsed by:

    The Irish Government:
    The Reverend Jesse Jackson
    Randall Robinson of Trans Africa — the group that sponsored Nelson Mandela’s visit to the United States
    New York State Governor George Pataki
    Former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo
    New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
    Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins
    Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn (and former Ambassador to the Vatican)
    The AFL-CIO; the National Council of Churches
    The American Baptist Convention
    The Episcopal Church
    The Lutheran Pension Board
    The United Church of Christ Board of World Ministries
    The United Methodist Church
    Many US Catholic bishops
    Virtually all Irish-American organizations.
    Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBride_Principles”
    Categories: Economy

  • Crataegus

    IJP

    If we want more money to spend on public services, we’d better start creating the wealth right here at home. Because no one else is going to do it for us.

    The problem is that many of us find it a lot easier to make money elsewhere!

    Greenflag

    I agree with your assessment of the UK government, however if they gave it further consideration (which they won’t) they may realise that instead of wishing for the good fairy to solve the financial problem that it may actually be in their interests to consider an option that would lead to a NI that is increasingly devolved. Let’s face it at the very least if there is any recovery here Westminster will benefit. One has to ask why not have a go what is there to lose?

  • Alan

    Greenflag – Where’s the best garden center? – Try asking SF or DUP, then the tree you want will have 30 rings on it before you know what your getting! And SF will want to call it an Evergreen Fir and the DUP will say “NO,NO,NO” its a (j)Oak. By the time they’ve finished arguing the tree will no longer cost you 5 pounds/euros (whatever) but will now cost 100 and in the meantime the shadow of the tree will have killed off anything else that may have grew around it and the crop is barren.

  • aquifer

    Gordon would not give the Unionist parties the low corporation tax concession to boost the NI private sector. The other traditional route, in economic terms, would be to build very quick transport links to the economically overheated south. That way NI companies can make money both as suppliers to ROI companies and as owners of them. NI could focus on providing affordable housing, efficient education, excellent R&D, business consulting, and public transport services to even the competitiveness gap.

    Unionists have an emotional problem with the southern links bit, so their struggle will be to prevent the NI economy succeeding due to spillover from higher economic growth in ROI. Reviving irish separatist dissident gangs should do. Go to it DUP.

  • hahahaha

    lib1016

    “Temporary little arrangements on the road to unity will be winked at. Reunification when it comes will be as quiet and non-eventful as the coming together of the Benelux countries.”

    lmao :DDDDD

    All posters on this topic have overlooked one thing, ONE MILLION LOYALISTS.

    look at the trouble 200-300 terrorists caused during the “troubles”.

    It will be War you idiots. not even the british army could contain the situation never mind the cowardly free state “army”.

    money doesn’t come into it at all – so get that into yer thick heads.

    rofl

  • Crataegus

    Aquifer

    The other traditional route, in economic terms, would be to build very quick transport links to the economically overheated south.

    I take it that that is an argument for an economy based on migrant labour.

    In the context outlined why set up a business in NI? The tendency would be to set up in the lower tax environment unless there is good reason to do otherwise. Although you do work in the North you could locate in Dundalk and your staff though they live and perhaps work in Newry are employed through Dundalk. Indeed the better the road network the greater the economic range of such activity.

    Personally I don’t think that this sort of distortion is beneficial to either side of the border in the long term and I have always thought you need closer harmonisation of many taxes due to the circumstances found here. We should also be encouraging the use of both the Euro and Sterling in the North.

    Brown should look at this and stop being so complacent. Adebate on this and the resultant changes would be to the long term benefit of the UK economy.

    If the position were reversed and petrol in the North were say 50% of what it is in the South etc etc it wouldn’t be terribly healthy either. It is bad for Ireland in the longer term.

  • Greenflag

    Guillame,

    The future of the NI economy is dependent on PRINCIPAL – in particular investment principal.

    The MacBride principles are all very worthy and it’s list of ‘princples’ supporters is long and no doubt worthy . Paisley also has his ‘principles’ . Can it be said that either set of ‘principles’ have contributed any significant PRINCIPAL that reduced Northern Ireland’s excessive dependence on the public sector for it’s economic survival ?

    References to ‘minority’ may need to be updated . Over large areas of Northern Ireland the former majority is now a minority. There is also a new growing minority of immigrants in NI who are ‘omitted’ from MacBrides list .

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus,

    ‘One has to ask why not have a go what is there to lose? ‘

    From Gordon Brown’s perspective everything -Scotland and the 300 year old Union for a start not to mention any chance he may have have of being elected British PM in his own right.

    As for greater ‘devolution’ in NI ? Seems to me that what Scotland is discovering is that in the absence of any significant powers as regards taxation no Scottish Government can be held fully accountable to the Scottish electorate for it’s ‘management’ of Scotland’s economic performance . The same will/would be true of any restored Stormont.

  • Crataegus

    Greenflag

    I see it in reverse; a loose alliance of countries and regions would more likely maintain the Union. However the current straight jacket with a fiscal policy to benefit and dedicated by London and the South East is more likely to fuel calls for independence. Of course if that happens Labour will never form the government of England.

    It’s back to Blair’s inability to think through and deliver a cogent and coherent devolved structure for the country. What do councils, Regions, Westminster and Europe do has never really been tackled rationally. In my opinion there is one layer too many, and take your pick.

  • Smithsonian

    Greenflag
    So if our economy is so weak how come the unemployment figures are at historic lows.

    Is there any fundamental difference between accepting a block grant from the UK and unearned tax dollars from America via a 12% corporation tax, both are unearned.

    This idea that the bottom 15% of the population control the political future of Ireland does not appear logical. I do not underestimate the difficulties that this section of the community face but nor do I accept that they can hold a country to ransom. They should be given the opportunity to contribute to society, but society should expect them to take advanatage of any such opportunities.

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus,

    Devolution never took off as a popular new political ‘tool’/stucture in England . London and the South East are the economic and politicasl hub of the UK . Over 50% of the UK’s population live south of a line from Bristol to the Wash with most of those in the London /SE region. Devolution has come to be associated with the ‘outer fringe’ Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland . The record of Northern Ireland’s ‘devolution’ experiment 1920 to 1972 is not one to inspire confidence but then the divided nature of the NI State from it’s inception was always going to be a problem sooner or later . Scotland and Wales are each more workable real democracies than NI ever could be .

    The present Union is dependent on the fiscal strait jacket . Loosening the fiscal strait jacket would in my view accelerate demands for full Scottish fiscal independence. Longer term a looser alliance might be able to preserve the ‘Union’ as a kind of island/islands Commonwealth . The EU is now the Union.

    Too many layers of Government ?

    Always probable when new ‘bodies’ are created .

    ‘What do councils, Regions, Westminster and Europe do has never really been tackled rationally’

    Probably because people don’t really want to know how laws or sausages are actually made 🙂

    It’s early days yet to see how the new Scottish drive for full independence works out . After all the economic arguments have been made pro and anti there still remains the ‘national sentiment’ card .

    In 1910/1911 even up to 1918 Ireland could still have gone the Home Rule (devolution route) . But post the 1918 -1921 War of Independence that route was closed off .

    Modern Scotland may be approaching it’s own 1918 moment albeit peacefully . Which is to be preferred .

  • Smithsonian

    IJP
    If we want more money to spend on public services, we’d better start creating the wealth right here at home. Because no one else is going to do it for us

    So what about Scotland, Wales, North East England, East Midlands, West Midlands, South West England, East of England?

    There are only three regions that pay their way, London, SEast and North West everybody else depends on the largess of the exchequer.

    All of this is brought about because of the concentration of wealth in the City of London. This is unlikely to change.

    You could make a similar argument for Dublin and the rest of the Republic of Ireland.

  • Greenflag

    ‘So if our economy is so weak how come the unemployment figures are at historic lows. ‘

    Because 70% of Northern Ireland’s GDP is based on the public sector. Only in the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe has that percentage been higher .

    As Peter Hain has said the present level of public sector spending in NI is unsustainable . What this means in real life is that the NI private sector with or without direct investment from outside NI has to step up to the task at hand . Given the present corporation tax rate NI will find it next to impossible to attract significant levels of outside investment . Thus the tiny NI private sector will continue to be disadvantaged by the dominant public sector and NI can say goodbye to ever becoming a high wage economy or a place where it’s university graduates will remain.

    ‘Is there any fundamental difference between accepting a block grant from the UK and unearned tax dollars from America via a 12% corporation tax, both are unearned. ‘

    The fundamental difference is seen in the GDP per capita figures for NI and the Republic with the Republic’s at 52,000 (US dollars as per Economist World Data 2005) and Northern Irelands at approx 29,000 .

    In simple terms the block grant to NI from the UK is ‘fish’ . The Republic on the other hand has been getting the fishing rods and has thus been able to catch it’s own fish and a greater variety of fish in a larger sea .

    Teach a man to fish etc etc .

  • Crataegus

    Greenflag

    I live a fair bit in central London. It’s a global hub and a different world to anywhere else on these islands. It has no equal in Europe.

    I think the reason why regionalisation of England failed was because of the way it was presented. The English were offered glorified councils. There was no point in having them so they didn’t.

    I personally would agree the Union should be Europe, but I have very little loyalty to any piece of land and a larger entity suits me just fine. It is so liberating to now be able to travel and work from here to he Black Sea. I enjoy Europe with its rich history and idiosyncratic diversity. With that in mind why would I necessarily want to continue links with Northern Ireland, what would make me sit up and take notice? There really is no reason to invest there other than laziness. I know the place and have to do less background work, but you will never build a vibrant economy on that basis.

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus ,

    True enough but not much consolation for those who are less mobile and/or broadminded as yourself and who cannot ’emigrate’ from NI with advantage ?

    Given up then have we ?

    Sadly NI is restricted in it’s development due to the political Gordian knot with the UK economy and having a common border with the low tax -fast growing Republic . As I said it’s catch 22 .

    Of course NI can continue on it’s present path with a 70% public sector based and low wage/low skills economy . Eventually though such a future would IMO be even more politically destabilising and would end in ‘implosion’. Local private sector NI companies will remain small and undercapitalised as well as ‘cheap’ prey for larger companies from the Republic

    The SAA may buy time but the world , the EU and the Republic/UK will move on regardless .

    Unionist political leaders have led their people into a cul de sac for more than a generation . As they now turn around to look back at the cul de sac entrance they now see that it’s closing fast .

    The Germans have a great word for this /

    ‘Torschlusspanik’ (closing door panic -usually associated with missing final opportunities) .

    Could be what the octogenarian leader of Unionism is now experiencing .

  • lib2016

    The new workers coming onstream in this decade will be overwhelmingly based in the border areas and West Belfast, as was openly stated in a government survey as long ago as 1998. (No, I’m not putting up a link – yez know where Google and CAIN are!)

    They will find crossborder employment and the service industries in towns like Newry and to a lesser extent Armagh are already showing the results.

    Northern Ireland is not a big place and the North-South employment links are already being built. There will be problems in East Antrim and North Down but given an aging population there which is already changing as that of the Malone Road did in the 1980’s those problems will solve themselves.

    Sinn Fein has already admitted (see Adams’s first speech at Stormont) that they are worried about the educational attainments and work prospects for the loyalist working class as well of course, as the prospects for their own community.

    The UUP has gone, the Orange Order is a joke and the government run paramilitaries are being reformed as in the police service, posted to Iraq as in the RIR, or simply wound up as is happening to the UDA.

    There is no credible base for unionist power to stand on, unless one takes the DUP with their unorthodox understanding of democracy and international pariah status seriously.

    Game’s over!

  • crataegus

    Greenflag

    I gave up on NI long long ago when a business associate had to send his children to boarding school in case they were kidnapped and another I knew was murdered. The place will never be right until those who live there learn to live with each other, and it really doesn’t matter what the eventual nature of the state be it UK or Irish same problem same poison. The place seems doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past over and over. As for the politicians what a pathetic bunch of losers.

    NI interests me because it is like so many other places that are deeply divided by the past and solutions seem few.

  • IJP

    Smithsonian

    Yes – likewise, if Scotland and Wales want more money for public services, they’ll have to create it at home.

    Tell you something else, Wales has a much better case for a few extra billion than we have.

    Good thing we’ll have a Secretary of State fighting our corner… ah…

  • Smithsonian

    IJP
    Maybe we should fight our own corner. Political stability is the key. Northern Ireland is so small that a few multinational transplants would sort the economy out.

    lib2016
    I graciously accept your surrender.

  • Greenflag

    Crataegus ,

    ‘I gave up on NI long long ago when a business associate had to send his children to boarding school in case they were kidnapped and another I knew was murdered.’

    I can understand giving up on a political entity that cannot be made to work as a normal democracy . However you cannot give up on the people . I’ve worked with NI people both Unionist and Nationalist/Republican and bar one or two bad apples they are the same as the rest of us on these islands .

    There are some political entities that cannot be made to work as normal democracies. NI may be one of them . That said it could be much worse .