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.

  • Wilde Rover

    Did ya hear the one about Paddy Irishman asking Paddy Scotsman for Paddy Englishman’s money…

  • Ulsters my homeland

    [i]”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”[/i]

    How should he have spun it then? I say tell it them straight, the Government are big enough to take it on the chin, no need to go around the issue in a round about way [God, I hate people who do that, it’s shallow). Be upfront and honest, it’s the trait of a good Ulsterman.

  • Sneakers O’Toole

    Living in England myself I can confirm what anyone who glances through the comments sections of the large British papers already knows… The English are sick to the back teeth of what they call the “Celtic Parasites”

    For Gregory Campbell to warn “We are not prepared to put up the money” is the type of thing the English *hate*… And much more counter productive (in terms of English support for the union) than he realises.

  • blinding

    Call me a nutter if you want but is it not time for Northern Ireland/Six Counties to start on the road to self sufficiency.
    I believe that the british goverment hoped that the progression of the peace process might cause a momentum for this to happen.
    Goes to show you should never spoil your children in the first place.
    Luckily the politicians of Northern Ireland have plenty of brass neck and are totally unashamed when proffering the begging bowl.

  • Sarah Lavender

    As an English woman I’m not sick to the back teeth of anyone and I’ve never called anyone in the devolved administrations parasitic, but I have to admit to a sharp intake of breath when I read this.

    Those in England who are actively concerned about disparities in funding in the various nations of the UK have mostly aimed their ire at Scotland on the basis that, in a system based on need, NI’s need would still be high. (Despite the higher NHS spending and better education system).

    However that won’t last if these extra payouts continue and I fear that it is only so long before taxpayers in England begin to object.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    This is simple smokescreenery by the DUP to cover their tracks and distract those who might otherwise listen to TUV Jimbo shouting Lundy at Dodsy and Robbo.

    Having said yes only yesterday they are trying desperately to pretend they are not all wrapped up and delivered to Connolly House in time for Chrtistmas.

    Non Story.

  • Sneakers O’Toole

    Most recent figures I could find, for 2006/2007:

    Expenditure per person:

    * England £7,121
    * Scotland £8,623
    * Wales £8,139
    * Northern Ireland £9,385

    Time we started on the road to self sufficiency indeed.

  • Toby

    Sneakers,

    There is a higher level of spend per head on public servicesin NI because we have a significantly greater need for public funding in terms of deprivation, rurality etc. As regards P&J;, it is clear that there are major holes in the budget, whilst the UUP/Alliance/SDLP will exploit any funding shortfalls as Thatcherite funding cuts, as has been the case in relation to existing NI departments. Therefore, the logical option is for the DUP to cover their backs early. It would be better if the focus was on how the money was being used rather than the amount of funding itself, but that ain’t going to happen in the current political climate.

  • Insider

    Allister has blown it this time. He set out the test for the DUP on Policing and Justice on Talkback only minutes before the FM’s announcement, only to discover Robbo had met every single condition. Poor Jim has had to search for ever more crazy objections. Outscored again.

  • Sarah Lavender

    Toby

    “There is a higher level of spend per head on public servicesin NI because we have a significantly greater need for public funding in terms of deprivation, rurality etc.”

    To a certain extent this is true but NI already gets more than a needs based assessment would allow it. Treasury research reckons that NI would require about 32% higher spend than England to achieve comparable public services but actually recieves 35%. Areas of England with similar levels of poverty and rurality get even less than the English average quoted by Sneaker’s (e.g. Cornwall on about £6,300 per head) and have much poorer public services.

    So if there are holes in the budget your devolved assembly needs to look again at its budget before it comes back for a deeper dig in a pot which is pretty much empty.

    NI is riding on a tide of public goodwill on this side of the water, which is fair enough given the horrendous tide of ill will which it replaced, but it’ll run out if your representatives keep behaving like spoiled children asking ‘daddy’ Brown for more. The English kids are getting jealous.

  • runciter

    NI is riding on a tide of public goodwill on this side of the water

    Gee thanks.

    The English kids are getting jealous.

    Whish is bad news for unionists and good news for nationalists.

    Luckily for us, the English are easily provoked.

  • Toby

    Sarah

    Has the HMT research you refer to ever been published or subject to quality assurance by NI officials? It would be interesting to see what year the 32% is in reference to to as the 2006-07 spend per head figures quoted by Sneakers imply that the spend per head differential with England was 31.8% in that year on a declining trend. This would suggest that NI is already signficantly below even the HMT figures in terms of need.

    The argument that the Executive could simply take funds from other areas to meet the gaps in the P&J;budget is also open to question as this funding is largely staff costs and hence cannot be turned off withouth signficant up front redundancy costs. In terms of the Cornwall example, we could also point to similar areas within NI, the main issue is between the four home nations not the sub-regions within.

  • Sarah Lavender

    “NI is riding on a tide of public goodwill on this side of the water

    Gee thanks.”

    Wasn’t expecting or asking for gratitude mate. I just think it would be better if Irish Nats and Scots Nats and English Nats and Welsh Nats could cooperate rather than compete. And it makes it harder for me to argue this with my English Nat colleagues if they’re feeling shafted by Irish politicians, including the Nationalist ones.

    “Whish is bad news for unionists and good news for nationalists.”
    Fair point

    “Luckily for us, the English are easily provoked”
    Not a fair point. I spend half my life trying provoke English people to actually get off their backsides and do summat instead of just whinging! You got any ideas about how I can get ’em wound up enough to act, let me know.

  • Sarah Lavender

    Toby

    The HMT research was published in ’01 and may well be out of date but unsurprisingly, despite the controversy surrounding the Barnett formula, the British government ain’t in a hurry to make further info available. Funding may have changed but so has need.

    “In terms of the Cornwall example, we could also point to similar areas within NI, the main issue is between the four home nations not the sub-regions within”

    Except that similar areas in NI would still be part of NI and get funded the same. England is _not_ a nation and does not exist as a political entity, it is treated as nine separate regions, so Cornwall’s ‘South West region’ is analogous to NI for comparative examples but England is not.

    England only exists as not very good sports teams.

    If only England were one of the ‘home nations’ with its own representation I’d be a happy woman.

  • runciter

    Wasn’t expecting or asking for gratitude mate.

    Of course not mate.

    I just think it would be better if Irish Nats and Scots Nats and English Nats and Welsh Nats could cooperate rather than compete. And it makes it harder for me to argue this with my English Nat colleagues if they’re feeling shafted by Irish politicians, including the Nationalist ones.

    As I said before, the more shafted they feel, the better it is for us.