We will continue to promote peace, stability and economic prosperity in Northern Ireland, standing firmly behind the agreements negotiated and institutions they establish. We will work to bring Northern Ireland back into the mainstream of UK politics, including producing a government paper examining potential mechanisms for changing the corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland
A neat summary from Chapter 31 of the coalition’s programme for government launched by the top team this morning. I’ve been taking in these launches attended by journalists, academics and civil society. I wouldn’t say ” bliss it was to be alive” or “glad confident morning” but the atmosphere of a bold new start is catching.
There’s plenty of fudging and stalling with commissions over splitting the banks, the future of social care, Lords reform and human rights, opt-outs for Lib Dems over nuclear power, university fees and the derided married couples’ tax allowance and the possibility of Cameron and Clegg voting on different sides if they get to a referendum on the Alternative Vote. And where’s all the money coming from for this blizzard of reform? And yet kicking into touch is different territory from the long grass.
The coalition deal has produced two clear benefits already. First, we can track straightway how different policies become one, or are fudged. Two, working for win:win is better than win or lose in a parliamentary vote. And lessons for Northern Ireland politicians? Working through differences is a whole lot better than deadlock.
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