Isn’t it strange that so few Northern Ireland voices have been raised loudly in the perfect storm over the expenses scandal? Maybe people have reached a level of maturity and balance that has been previously lacking in our politics, or else they feel “they all in it together”. Or again, they’re prepared to give the Assembly more time to bed down before politicians have to chose which House to sit in. Cutting through all this more keenly than most, Liam Clarke in the Sunday Times stretches to the full extent the case for a backlash against the DUP ( but not only the DUP) over jobbery that puts my cautious bit of leader writing in the shade.
I said for instance
“(Peter Robinson) must have expected that eventually, opponents would be able seriously to exploit public unease over double jobbing, although there are no serious signs of that yet. Jim Allister jibes by themselves should hardly have been be enough to unsettle him. More plausibly, it was the threat of David Cameron to legislate to end double jobbing that led him to advance the inevitable, in the febrile atmosphere of the expenses crisis.”
Clarke agrees but amplifies:
” It is not panic yet but there is growing concern in the DUP camp about a backlash by voters against double-jobbing by MPs..DUP voters, on the other hand, are inclined to be outraged at any perceived waste of taxpayers money. “
Liam does his best but even he admits that “panic” has not yet arrived. It’s not clear where the concern is most felt but it’s amazing that other parties except Jim Allister aren’t stirring it up.
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