“the start of a period of classic left-right debates”?

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport with a slightly different take on the message delivered to the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers by the new Prime Minister than Brian noted.

By telling our ministers they can take the pain now or take it in the next financial year, the Prime Minister has posed the Stormont Executive with a difficult choice. Their track record on water charges and freezing rates would appear to indicate the Executive will choose procrastination (or what the Alliance termed in their recent manifesto “cheap populism.”)

And he points to a possible outbreak of actual politics…

So the Executive faces a dillemma over postponing cuts. Down the line it could also face a dillemma over the Conservative proposal for lowering Corporation Tax, because, as this blog has pointed out before, that will require cutting the budget elsewhere. The discussion on Good Morning Ulster today between a business advocate and a trade unionist could be just the start of a period of classic left-right debates dominating our local politics.

It could only be an improvement on what we currently have…

Of course, other events may prove much more influential.

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  • slug

    The UUP should continue with a moderate centre – right position on these issues.

    *A long term plan to increase private to public sector ratios

    *Selling off NI Water to pay for investment in transport links to airports

    *Lower corp tax paid for by water charges

    *Student fees rise in line with UK levels to pay for investments in the two Universities.

  • jim

    u forgot about the BRU cut that

  • slug

    In terms of social security, that does represent one of the major reasons our economy is so dependent. However, rather than cutting it directly, I would argue that investment in education and lower corp tax could both help alleviate the very low activity rate of NI – but its an awfully long term project!

  • To be honest with education we are over-educated enough. Time to start charging for it proper. Then only those who want to succeed will get there, not those who default onto degree pathways.

  • On the overall message from Cameron, I find it refreshing.

    God sometimes I wish he was CU commander in chief and be done with the local meaningless wrangling…

  • HarryJ

    Lower corp tax paid for by water charges……….

    so who pays for water then if the charges pay for corp tax

  • slug

    The user! Preferably metered.

  • I think Naomi Long’s election in East Belfast is partly to do with the lack of a left wing option for the unionist working class in the absense of the PUP

  • *Lower corp tax paid for by water charges

    Er, not quite. Water charges are needed even if corporation tax stays the same.

    Of course, we shouldn’t forget Reaganomics. Has anyone done the maths to see whether cutting corporation tax rates might increase total revenue?

  • Odhran Moses

    We’re going to have to swallow cuts of between £120 and £150m says Sammy.
    The corporation take is forecast at £42b by the Treasury.
    Yet the Brits are going to spend £40b plus on defence – this includes £14b per year in Afghanistan for the sake of paying for “our boys” to stand on the necks of poor Pashtun folk in order to secure a gas pipeline. Is this fair or wise?
    I can see scope for savings from the UK defence budget.
    Why not implement them and pass them on here where most people do not support the war?
    Oh, forgot, the democratic deficit. Electing a handful of MPs to Westminster means in a mininimum influence weighting akin to Albania during the Ottomon era.

  • Glencoppagagh

    ‘Why not implement them and pass them on here where most people do not support the war?’

    Because most people here are not net taxpayers.

  • Odhran Moses

    Fair point. Forgot this dysfunctional little fantasy land doesn’t work properly either.
    As we are not net taxpayers we may resign ourselves to doing exactly what the ubermenschen say and liking it.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but its an awfully long term project!’

    And thats a problem because none of the present elected politicians can see any further than the next election or two at most . NI will need a radical shock to the system but in present economic and political circumstances too radical a shock could have consequences beyond the economic.

    That’s a good line St Etienne

    ‘we re over educated enough ‘. I read recently graduated civil engineers are lining up in the USA for jobs as banqueting waiters so it probably won’t be long before a certain notorious cafe near a lock in Belfast will be attracting media studies and philosophy graduates as waitresses – as long as they have the right colour philosophy 😉

  • glencoppagagh

    Or we could cut our cloth. It’s a fantasy land for the public sector nomenklatura but not for anybody else.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Am I alone in thinking that the left/right wing division is pure nonsense these days. We all agree on capitalism. When it comes to choosing a left/right division within that most of it is nonsense. If you decide on an issue before you have heard all of the arguments you are an idiot. In an agreement on capitalism the best solution is pragmatism