No taxation without representation…

Des Wilson inveighs against the lack of local representation that still persists after nine years of iterative negotiations. His particular target is London, which is looking to charge ever more of the direct cost of cleaning up Northern Ireland’s infrastructure:

So, no surprise that we are being told now we have to pay for the London government messing up – literally messing up – of raw sewage and general infrastructure. And for the Lord only knows what else. No surprise either that Irish people will pay for new roads which should have been built by London anyway, pay for the absence or decay of infrastructure which suffered decades of neglect. They will pay for water of which nature presents us with more than enough, and for renewing water delivery systems which, like the political system, are sadly out of date.

And while doing all this they will be forever unrepresented in any effective government, they will enjoy the status of the servant or slave – forced to obey laws which they are forbidden to have any hand in making. Every law is oppressive if the people it governs have not the power to make or unmake it. That is the difference between oppression and freedom.

If Mr Blair and Mr Ahern keep the DUP veto and thus nudge the rest of us out of managing our own affairs we shall then be ruled by another assembly – in London – but as remote from our realities as a Chinese provincial committee. And as much concerned for our welfare and development.

But he reserves a sting in the tail for the DUP:

If the DUP does not want to be in government it is undemocratic to force them into it. Just as undemocratic as forcing the rest of us out of it. The choice about government is not just ours, then – it is also the choice of Mr Ahern and Mr Blair. If it were only ours we would know what to do because we are not afraid of responsibility and self-rule. We should never have to give in to those who are.

Except, as things stand, even Mr Blair is prevented from making such a move for fear of moving everyone into the now infamous (if only on Slugger) territory of constitutional nonsense.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty