“more to do with their reluctance to take the hard economic decisions…”

As Andy said in his post yesterday

Many people were surprised when Sinn Féin did not take the influential Enterprise, Trade and Investment portfolio after last May’s election, even though it was theirs for the taking. I have heard it said that this absence of interest in the economy is partly due to a lack of confidence in economic matters: although the IRA prisoners who became Sinn Féin leaders were famous for their attention to their studies when they were in jail, few studied economics. However I think it is more to do with their reluctance to take the hard economic decisions that Northern Ireland policy-makers – in common with their counterparts everywhere in Europe – will be facing in the coming years. They prefer to remain the party of left-wing protest, albeit from within the governing structure of Northern Ireland.

One of those “hard economic decisions” facing the semi-detached polit-bureau concerns devolving the power to set the rate of corporation tax.  The Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, did, at least, turn up for the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Economy on the 15 December.

But his party is noticeable by its absence from the list of respondents to the Treasury’s public consultation paper on the “options that could be taken to support rebalancing of the Northern Ireland economy, including  the issues involved in devolving the power to vary the corporation tax rate for profits in Northern Ireland.”  The consultation was open from 24 March to 8 July this year.  A summary of the responses, and the list of respondents, can be found here [pdf file].

Indeed, Sinn Féin were the only party in the Northern Ireland Assembly not to respond.  Even the Green Party managed to find something to say about it…

Perhaps an ideological corporation with an annual turnover of £1.2million has certain interests to protect…

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  • Cynic2

    Aw come on Peter. They couldnt admit the reality that on this, as on much else, they are subservient to Westminster

  • Old Mortality

    I think SF are in favour of bringing the rate down to the same as the Republic, in keeping with their (one and only) ‘all-island’ economic policy.
    They will be wrathful at any suggestion of undercutting the RoI but will be placed in a dilemma if the Eurocrats succeed in raising the Irish rate while the standard UK rate falls.
    In keeping with Andy Pollak’s comments, the SF stalwarts on this site – Mr Donnelly et al – rarely having anything to say on matters economic. Their intellectual resources are probably exhausted by fixing the historical record.

  • The way this article comes across, you would get the impression that Sinn Fein is the only party that is vacuous on all things economic.

    I think that DUP supporters will be delighted by this diversion because they, just us much as Sinn Fein, are guilty of squandering opportunities to give a better future to the people of Northern Ireland. Indeed, it is just as much the DUP’s fault that populism and getting re-elected takes precedence over Northern Ireland’s economic future.

    Lets put this into perspective. When it comes to “hard economic decisions” such as setting water rates and increasing student fees, all the politicians in the Assembly, with the exception of a tiny few, are gutless and spineless and are only in politics for their own personal benefit.

  • The yokel

    I don’t think anybody could accuse the DUP leadership of lack of expertise in microeconomics, it’s the macro they have the problem with.

  • Old Mortality

    Still silence from the Republican front. Do they observe a Christmas truce in the polemical war?

  • Cynic2

    “Still silence from the Republican front”

    I have to say that I really do detect a policy at work here running across a number of posters and threads. Things in the too difficult box aren’t answered. They just all disappear.

    Which begs the question, how is this co-ordinated? And by whom?

  • Cynic2

    Wont the Irish rate be affected by the Axis proposals on EU political union?

  • Los Lobos

    SF/DUP face many problems as we peer into 2012. Already they have had their “jewel in the crown” snached from the jaws of victory – the A5 £1 billion motorway that would have linked Dublin to Derry just in time for the 2016 celebrations. Now NAMA is stalking the 6 counties like the grim reaper and driving down housing prices. Because of the free market ideology of both SF and the DUP they are in no position to protest even though the “meddling” is from South of the border. Add on the £25 Million pound loan taken out on behalf of the citizens of NI at a premium rate in order that the PMS were bailed out because they lost while gambling their savers holdings on the money markets and you get a picture of pain, followed by more pain and finishing off with a collapse of Government, with both sides blaming each other. Nevermind, at least we aren’t blowing the hell out of the place!

  • Sluggerposter

    Dunno why the Greens get singled out on an economics issue…. Green Economics gets 296,000,000 results on google!