Cameron: “it’s local politicians who have to deliver on that”.

Prime Minister David Cameron was in Northern Ireland today, as part of a UK-wide tour to promote the Olympics.  But despite their recent complaints, neither the NI First and deputy First Ministers appear to have been able to schedule a meeting.  According to Martina Purdy,

The first and deputy first ministers were not on hand to meet the prime minister as both are on holiday.

[Both!?  At the same time? – Ed]  Indeed.  And, as I said in slightly different circumstances, that’s why you have junior ministers, guys.

The NI Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, was available to meet David Cameron at the controversial Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre.

And, perhaps tellingly, here’s what Martina Purdy notes on his visit

The prime minister insisted this visit – the first in just over a year – was proof of his engagement.

“I don’t accept I’m not engaged,” he said. “In the middle of the Olympics I’ve chosen to come here to Northern Ireland to emphasise how important it is we all get behind the United Kingdom athletes including those from Northern Ireland.”

Mr Cameron said it was a welcome trend that the prime minister did not need to meet the local parties for crisis talks – and also correct that their point of contact was the Secretary of State Owen Paterson. [added emphasis]

Mr Paterson’s recent expression of disappointment that there was not more progress on the community relations strategy led to a public spat with the first and deputy first ministers. But his view clearly resonated with the prime minister.

Mr Cameron was pointed in his desire to see progress here in Northern Ireland, particularly on a “shared future, not a shared-out future – it’s local politicians who have to deliver on that”.

[Obviously he didn’t hear the Queens’ speech… – Ed]  Possibly…

I would just point out, however, that it wasn’t Dean Jonathan Swift who was responsible for the Giants’ Causeway “not worth going to see” quote, it was Samuel Johnson.

ANYhoo..  A Belfast Telegraph report adds

[David Cameron] also confirmed politicians and Treasury officials will meet again in September or October to discuss the devolution of corporation tax powers to Stormont.

There are claims that difficulties have emerged over the issue of lowering the rate in Northern Ireland to help it compete with the Irish Republic.

Mr Cameron said: “There are difficult issues that have to be hammered out. But I am in no doubt that we need to do more to encourage the private sector and growth in the private sector in the Northern Irish economy.”

Back to Martina Purdy for a comment on that

[The DUP’s Arlene Foster] welcomed his remarks that he was committed to working through difficulties on the issue of corporation tax being lowered here.

All this optimism on the issue is at odds with the private pessimism on the issue.

“It’s dead,” one insider told me recently.

[Just the blame game left then? – Ed]  Indeed.

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  • HeinzGuderian

    Barely legible,barely literate,barely readable.

    [ Ed indeed ]

    Drinking mid week is frowned upon.

  • Mister_Joe

    There seems to be a number of mixed messages here.
    Apart from that, I wouldn’t depend on either the DUP or SF to deliver my newspaper, apart from anything else. Their joint ethos seems to be “Do nothing, then we can’t be blamed for anything”.

  • Here we go, angling for yet another of those multi-coloured cards Mr Baker so generously dispenses …

    First, let’s help HeinzGuderian @ 1:51 am (must — as in OED, n.4 — never sleeps) with a bit of literacy.

    I’ve always felt that Johnson on the Causeway was a bit naff.

    Johnson. of course, never suffered from those romantic impulses which so affected the younger fellas:

    We passed through Glensheal, with prodigious mountains on each side. We saw where the battle was fought in the year 1719. Dr. Johnson owned he was now in a scene of as wild nature as he could see; but he corrected me sometimes in my inaccurate observations. — ‘There, (said I,) is a mountain like a cone.’ — Johnson. ‘No, sir. It would be called so in a book; and when a man comes to look at it, he sees it is not so. It is indeed pointed at the top; but one side of it is larger than the other.’ — Another mountain I called immense. — Johnson. ‘No; it is no more than a considerable protuberance.’

    Consider next that Oliver Goldsmith (as I recall from past study) needed help from Sam Johnson to complete The Deserted Village, and so we have this:

    Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
    Teach him that states of native strength possessed,
    Though very poor, may still be very blest;
    That trade’s proud empire hastes to swift decay,
    As ocean sweeps the laboured mole away;
    While self-dependent power can time defy,
    As rocks resist the billows and the sky.

    Very Johnson, very humane, very apposite then [1770] and now.

    If Johnson was no aficionado of natural wonders, where did that come from?

    Well, there’s Archbishop (of Dublin) Richard Pococke, LL D, FRS,
    writing on 28 Jan 1748

    In my last passage over to this Kingdom, I saw that very remarkable Curiosity called the Giant’s Causeway: the Sea-Cliffs are very high thereabouts, and what is called the Causeway is a low Head, extending from the Foot of the Cliffs into the sea like a Mole. This Head does not appear at first so grand as it is represented in the Views engraved of it; but when one comes to walk upon it, and consider it more attentively, it appears to be a most stupendous Production of Nature.

    The odd word or hint of similarity, not convincing, but just possibly instructive.

    Johnson never got to view Staffa and (what later was named) Fingal’s Cave up close, as Boswell explains:

    We saw the island of Staffa, at no very great distance, but could not land upon it, the surge was so high on its rocky coast.

    Added to which it was already October, and Johnson was suffering the West Highlands climate with his usual impatience.

    As to why so many good men (and women), not just in NI but generally — and notably so in the metropolitan Tory press — manage to put distance between themselves and Cameron, that’s in Tennyson:

    Woe is me!
    Authority forgets a dying king,
    Laid widow’d of the power in his eye
    That bow’d the will.

  • Perhaps the Olympic organisers agreed wholeheartedly wqith Johnson’s sentiments about Norn iron when they decided to leave it out of the britain olympic team’s tiltle, and who could blame them.Perhgaps FIFA could take the cue and rename the football team as GB as well.

  • You want a sickener?

    Bradley Wiggins, Heather Stanning and Helen Glover won gold medals because of David Cameron’s wishes, he suggested today.

    As he returned from Northern Ireland, the prime minister joked with reporters that it had given him an opportunity to turn to the spiritual world to boost Britain’s chances of success.

    “I was sitting in the Wishing Chair at the Giant’s Causeway and told that I could make my wish,” Cameron explained.

    “I’m not allowed to tell anyone what is was, but as soon as I got back and switched on my mobile phone I heard the good news.”

    [Ian Dunt at]

  • OneNI

    Robbo and Marty will be fuming about being slapped down by Cameron again!
    Not much love lost between local parties and Cameron and Paterson

  • OneNI (@ 2:02 pm:

    I read the implication of Mr Baker’s headline piece to imply the slapper and the slapee were the other way round.

    Anyway, if Not much love lost between local parties and Cameron and Paterson, that is bad news (in anyone’s book) precisely because … ?

  • Barnshee

    “Anyway, if Not much love lost between local parties and Cameron and Paterson, that is bad news (in anyone’s book) precisely because”

    The only people its bad news for in the first instance are the local “politicians”

    Dave has delivered the following message ( message that should have been delivered 40+ years ago).

    1 You are now in charge
    2 You get more than your due
    3 You ain`t getting any more
    4 All damage and I mean ALL damage will be paid for by YOU (this includes any damage in GB)
    5 If you want more raise it yourself or go begging next door
    6 If you don`t like it fuck orf.

    If you don`t believe me ask wee Sammy..

    A some stage the local gasbags/murder gang residues/one eyed holy rollers/self important shits will be exposed for what they are.

  • “Mr Cameron concluded his Northern Ireland visit at Giant’s Causeway where he viewed a new multimillion-pound visitor centre at the Unesco World Heritage site.” .. David Cameron was in Northern Ireland link

    Except that he didn’t

    The main controversy pertaining to the new visitor centre is the £8.50 experience – even if you only wish to have a bite to eat in the cafe or by a memento or use the toilets!! The Nationalist Trust is doing a grand job in building inter-party unity whilst it suffers from self-inflicted wounds.

  • Pete Baker

    “Except that he didn’t …”

    Number 10 press release not entirely accurate!

    Another scoop, Nevin…

  • I couldn’t have done it without the help of some MSM Facebook friends, Pete – a team effort 🙂

  • Pete Baker

    Well done…

    What a success.

    Meanwhile, back at the actual politics…

  • There’s another political angle to flag-up, Peter. Arlene Foster was the ministerial host for the Royal Visit to the Causeway in June 2010 as she was for Wednesday’s visit by the Prime Minister but Conor Murphy, the then Minister for Rathlin Island, didn’t put in an appearance for the Rathlin leg. I should imagine the opening of the new visitor centre will also be a Royal occasion. Will Peter and Martin (and the Irish president) put in an appearance – possibly as early as September and possibly under the auspices of Tourism Ireland?

  • BluesJazz

    Well said
    We get way more than the average Brit.
    In 2015, come whatever government, we’ll get less and rightly so.
    Hopefully lots less to force the impact of living together forceful.
    That’s whats going to make the jump over the prepcice, a major drop in the block grant. Otherwise we stay apart. I’m hoping for a 30% drop in the 1st year block grant, followed , by continual so. For 5 years at least. Then we’ll start smelling living together coffee.

  • malairt


    In a blog that comes up with many memorable posts, that’s definitely the best of the last few weeks. Thanks