Of all the talents?

With the issue of future efficiencies and past mis-accountancies still unresolved, Fionnuala O’Connor provides a useful reminder that Northern Ireland’s government administration “of all the talents” has had it easy, so far. [What about those experts? – Ed] Indeed.

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  • Brian Walker

    It’s very interesting that posts to do with the public finances in NI attracts zero or almost zero comment. Why is that I wonder? Outside our control ( not)? Too used to Mother England as Lady Bountiful ( though there are other ways of looking at it)? Money is vulgar darling; or the absence of a delicious sectarian wrangle? Perhaps mainly the last one, sadly. The only thing wrong with Fionnuala is that her Irish Times column doesn’t appear often enough.

  • Peat Blog

    Isn’t that one of our biggest problems Brian?

    We, the people, claim that we are sick of orange and green politics yet don’t challenge our political leaders on bread and butter issues unless, of course, they jeopardise our own particular interest group (i.e. farmers or hauliers or property developers), when the sectora arguments are often framed as if in the wider ‘public interest’ – which they often ain’t.

    I wonder if they will bring in rates on vacant domestic properties as proposed in a consultation last year. They need the money at Stormont but might not want to annoy the property investors and speculators that have easy access to PR firms, lobbyists and the politicos (many of whom are also within the ranks of the multi-propertied class). That will be interestng to see.

    Unfortunately, our society has been too used to others making the decisions for them (using someone elses money) and whilst we whinge, we normally keep the head down and fail to get involved (mumbling that things will never change). We all know what then happens come election time.

    We treat the politicians with contempt and often they feel the same about us.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think the reason is quite simple, there is a disconnect in people’s minds between the politicians that we elect and the economic state of the country. Our politicians have been very careful to try to preserve this, by delaying water charges and halting rates increases, maintaining the status quo – aside from the odd populist stunt such as reducing prescription charges.

    If the British government insists on further “efficiency savings” by cutting the NI exchequer subvention, then things will start to get interesting.

  • Peat Blog

    “If the British government insists on further “efficiency savings” by cutting the NI exchequer subvention, then things will start to get interesting.”

    I agree, Comrade, and hopefully following changes to the structure of govt. post-RPA there might also be some useful and creative tensions between the local and regional level.

    Local councillors (who by then should not also be double-jobbing MLAs!) making planning decisions every week that have economic/environmental/etc. consequences will suddenly start to draw the ire of their local commnities. Maybe then ability will become a prerequisite for election.

  • Pete Baker


    Perhaps mainly the last one, indeed. Especially when there are glittering milk-bottle-top posts to distract.

    But, as you can see, we do have commenters willing to engage on these topics.

    And, as I always counsel, we have many more readers than commenters.

    If you build it, they will come. ;o)