“He’s living with a fiction..”

Also from the Politics Show today, BBC NI’s Kevin Sharkey reports on the £1billion shortfall in the Northern Ireland Executive’s three year spending plan identified by economist John Simpson – who’s offered some questions before. NI Finance Minister, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, has denied that it constitutes a black hole in the budget and, below the fold, his party colleague Simon Hamilton toes the party line in the studio discussion with the SDLP’s Mark Durkan. [What is that ticking sound? – Ed] Indeed.

Btw, it’s all very well pointing at a top-heavy civil service but there’s another top-heavy institution where savings could be made.. and not just in the number of departments..

But the problem, of the NI Executive holding to a three year spending plan that is now based on a fiction, remains.

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  • Mark Durkan is right and puts his case well, but clearly Sinn Fein and the DUP are rattled. Last week Sinn Fein seemed to insist on Finance Minister Nigel Dodds writing to respond to a criticism from Cllr Helen Quigley in the Derry Journal. It was overkill to say the least and yet it demonstrates that Sinn Fein still feel markedly weak on the economy that they didn’t respond themselves.

    [Stop spamming Slugger – edited moderator]

  • Ghath Zob

    We are monitoring your earth.
    And we’d like to leave a message.

  • The Raven

    Simon Hamilton talking about “ivory towers”?

    Helping businesses? I don’t believe he actually said that. This coming from a member of a party who’s leader dared to come out from a meeting with the banks and say “keep calm, carry on”.

    I am interested to see how much inward investment has been yielded from Arlene’s much publicised and many foreign trips over the past year. I’d like to see if she has asked INI to re-balance their budget in favour of local businesses instead of FDI – not all of it, mind. Half at the very least.

    Has Michelle finalised the legislation to allow the full roll-out of the Rural Development Programme? No. In the meantime several million pounds worth of potential rural business investment lies in wait for the bureaucrats to catch up.

    Simon, your point on the budget process is laughable. The whole thing was a farce. There was no rationale behind the budget process. Sorry – I used the word process twice there. How silly of me.

    By the way, the rates freeze has benefited business by feck-all squared. The whole system needs to be overhauled.

  • joeCanuck

    “[Stop spamming Slugger – edited moderator]”

    About frigging time.

    Need any temporary moderators (for SPAM only)?

  • Durkan is right. This ‘budget’ is sheer lunacy as it bears no resemblance to the way things really are. The DUP and Sinn Féin need to answer the question posed by Keynes; “When the facts change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?”

  • Glencoppagagh

    Hamilton attempted to conceal either ignorance of the subject or unwillingness to address inconvenient truths with bluster and comforting phrases like “maintaining front line services”.
    In transalation it means: “This executive is not in the business of upsetting anybody in the public sector since they account for such a large proportion of the electorate. Let’s just hit the buffers instead and then whine about Westminster’s failure to understand our unique need for unlimited subvention”.
    And he’s supposed to be one of the DUP’s rising stars? His vision doesn’t rise far above the horizontal.

  • frustrated democrat

    The DUP and SF appear to know bugger all about finance and economics. Isn’t it time we had some politicians who know something about something other than where the border is and how long it is going to be there? As Cicero said ‘Quam quisque novit artem, in hac se exerceat’.

    We have a £1 billion deficit and we carry on regardless. Is this our iceberg and 2nd Titanic moment where this time we follow the RoI to the the depths of the ocean.

    Micawber had it right – ‘Annual income twenty pounds etc.’ and our lot would do well to mull over his words.

  • Neil

    The DUP and SF appear to know bugger all about finance and economics. Isn’t it time we had some politicians who know something about something other than where the border is and how long it is going to be there?

    You must be feckin mad. Why would we want, slick, intelligent, well briefed politicians when we can have so much fun watching this place sliding down the shitter. Plus, if we followed your plan then what would happen Sammy and his japes over at the Environment ministry? We’d have no-one to laugh/cry at.

    Seriously though, that’s the hub, nub and crux of our problem here. No actual politics, the voters just want their flag waved harder, their identity shouted about louder than the other ‘side’. If we actually started doing the bread and butter stuff, we might even turn this place into somewhere worth living in. Unfortunately, it ain’t gonna happen.

  • frustrated democrat

    Neil

    Who would vote for them if real politics took over? They need the sectarian divison to survive.

    If we actually started to sort this place out they would be out on their ears; so there is no mileage in them solving the problem – do turkeys vote for Christmas?

  • The Raven

    “Who would vote for them if real politics took over? They need the sectarian divison to survive.”

    Or should that be “we need the sectarian division to survive”, FD?

    Sometimes, I wonder.

  • frustrated democrat

    Raven

    I don’t think so, we need direction and policies if we are to build NI back to a sustainable economic unit.

    To achieve this needs unity; the problem is that every step towards financial stability here is a step away from a UI so what do SF and SDLP do?

  • Glencoppagagh

    FD
    “every step towards financial stability here is a step away from a UI so what do SF and SDLP do?”

    Not necessarily: it makes UI a less horrendous proposition for the RoI. The problem for SF and SDLP is that they can’t stomach inflicting the necessary pain on their various client groups.

  • frustrated democrat

    Glenc

    However it makes it less attractive to those here if the NI economy is better than that in the RoI.

    It obviously is at the moment due to subvention, but if it was in a like for like basis then there would be no imperative to vote for a UI.

  • Comrade Stalin

    FD,

    You’re bashing the RoI there but I’m wondering who is most deserving of criticism.

    The British government is borrowing heavily in order to try to bail out its economy today. This money will have to be paid back and tax rises will have to come in the future to do it.

    Ireland, on the other hand, appears to be attempting to increase taxes and cut spending today, with the apparent objective of addressing funding shortfalls in the short term. While this may make the immediate pain more acute, it puts the country in a good position on the other side of the recession as it will have lower levels of debt and will be in a better position to cut taxes to stimulate growth in a more positive environment.

  • The Raven

    “I don’t think so, we need direction and policies if we are to build NI back to a sustainable economic unit.”

    Yeah. But we never vote for it…

  • frustrated democrat

    CS

    I wasn’t bashing the RoI merely stating a fact.

    The NI economy may be undesirable with its massive public sector but that makes it better, at the moment, than the RoI which it seems is near to bankruptcy as it cannot stand over its guarantees to the banks, which are probably insolvent, if called upon.