If you rattle the begging bowl do it with dignity

From the FT’s report on the implications of devolving policing and justice. this Gregory Campbell quote:

“If the government does not agree to cover all this over the next three years, I cannot see how we can go ahead with the devolution of policing and justice. We are not prepared to put up the money.”

No doubt there’s a proper financial case to be made. Fair enough. But MLAs don’t fully realise how badly this sort of hollow backmail threat goes down with the whole of the political and official world over here, coming from people who think they deserve a reward for normal behaviour. To give them credit Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and Nigel Dodds adopt a more hard headed approach.

The parties have put a joint request to Gordon Brown to provide Northern Ireland with more money. They met him in Downing Street on Wednesday, and reported yesterday that he had agreed to £900m of additional funds.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London