Not all the zombies are politicians. This is also civil society’s failure

Not so long ago, Northern Ireland  politics were conducted in a seething cauldron. Today they’re in zombieland.  Nobody seems to know what sort of situation is facing  Northern Ireland in the  forthcoming days, weeks and months.

Your starter for 10. Is it bailout, surrender or just staggering on?   At home, nobody can be bothered even to do an informed analysis of the costs of continuing denial. Malachi, like myself no economist,  is no better informed but is properly  uneasy .  In the UK press only the unfortunate coincidence of Peter’s heart attack ( Times £)  has given it any prominence at all. Just watch how the local coverage leaps ahead to easy speculation about the DUP leadership.

Not all the zombies are politicians. There is a tacit conspiracy among experts and professional bodies not to rock the boat too hard for fear of toppling it over. Perhaps too there are fears of being quietly dropped from scarce public funding or Executive contracts.  Stakeholders chose to fight on narrow fronts in the hope of making limited gains. The campaign to devolve corporation tax was a kind of victory for business. Now it may go up in smoke, together will those hopes for  “rebalancing the economy. “  Yet not a dickey bird from any of them so far.

What are the budget figures that matter – £2.8 billion or £500 million? Accepting a £30 million gap in welfare rather than Treasury fines of £114 million a year for failing to balance the budget? Added  to which, no Treasury- supported  loans to fund generous public sector redundancies.

If Sinn Fein thought they could do an SNP, the results of the election should have disabused them. Newton Emerson has offered a few penetrating reasons why not from West Belfast. Martin McGuinness parrots SNP arguments that might count in a landslide but his brain hasn’t caught up with events. You see Martin, there is isn’t a hung parliament  and you have no leverage except  the threat of self abuse. Oh and the small  fact that you are doing harm to your own supporters. The lack of  “Tory votes”  is a hypocritical argument, in calling for  even more British solidarity, when spending per head is the highest by far in the UK.

But nobody clocks. Ah sure the Brits will pay up in the end. Doesn’t  look like it this time.  Zombieland in the North is Sinn Fein’s price for holding their position in the South.  But there too the odds on success are lengthening.  But not all the blame goes to Sinn Fein. At least they put forward a point of view.

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  • Robin Keogh

    Its not about asking…its about telling. The Tories have no manadate in the North of Ireland, therefore the will of the people is in the hands of those elected to Stormont on both sides. SDLP and SF refuse to support welfare reform, London needs to cough up or call a border poll.

  • Cue Bono

    Stormont: I’m telling you that you need to give us millions of pounds of extra money so that SF voters can continue to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

    Westminster: I’m telling you that we don’t.

  • Robin Keogh

    No but you clearly have no idea what you are talking about

    http://www.dfpni.gov.uk/northern-ireland-net-fiscal-balance-report-09-10-10-11.pdf

  • Robin Keogh

    You obviously do not understand the concept of fiscal deficit

  • Robin Keogh

    When it comes to girning and trolling Chris I am avery poor second to yourself

  • Robin Keogh

    I have no idea

  • Cue Bono

    Could it possibly be because they are morons?

  • Robin Keogh

    yes

  • Cue Bono

    Did they import it from Greece?

  • Robin Keogh

    of a sort, but you put them oin the halfpenny place

  • Robin Keogh

    no, swaziland

  • Cue Bono

    The problem with Uncle Jarry’s strategy is that it is sh1te. Voters are not dumb. They can see clean through the idiotic antics that SF are engaging in.

  • Robin Keogh

    ya thats why they are the biggest party in Ireland, good one

  • Robin Keogh

    I agree, let Dublin take over

  • Cue Bono

    They were the biggest party in Oireland before they embarked on this moronic strategy. Since then they have lost their position as the top party in Northern Ireland and I expect that it will also help to sink them in the south.

    Enjoy.

  • notimetoshine

    “Removing the border in favour of Irish unity would indeed solve the problem…”

    Not a chance. Our safety net would make the southerners head explode (not to mention their wallets).

    Realistically welfare reform is the only way. It won’t always be pretty but we need to work with realities here. And I tell you one thing the NI public will soon wake up to its necessity if we end up with public services cut to the bone to cover the costs of welfare.

  • whatif1984true

    If the option was given what percentage of ‘the people’ would vote to increase benefits? There is the thought that if given the option to increase funding solely for the NHS by increasing income tax by 1 percentage point that people might actually vote yes. ‘The People’ are not stupid. The politicans do not have the guts to suggest the above.
    No leaders in NI just ‘keepmyjob’ suits.
    In theory those in power should be better informed than their electorate and every once in a while come up with disagreeable options that are unpleasant but necessary. Pretending otherwise is really calling the electorate stupid.

  • Robin Keogh

    Its cool that you can dream even when u are not asleep

  • Robin Keogh

    LOL, a UKipper talking about competence…Ha! Wetting myself

  • mac tire

    Granni – BBC Parliament is on Sky channel 504 or, if you have Freeview, it is Channel 131. If you use Virgin Media it is Channel 605.
    It can also be viewed on BBC iPlayer, through the BBC website.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Robin, so your plan is to tell the Tories “we want more money”. We already know what the answer is – “no”. So what now ?

    There cannot be a referendum due to the terms of the GFA. The nationalist vote is falling which makes a referendum even less likely than before.

    So now that those two responses have been debunked – what do you plan we do next ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Also worth adding that Syriza were elected in Greece on a mandate of rolling back austerity. They’re implementing Sinn Féin’s Stormont budget policy on a national scale. Anyone want to take any bets about how it’s going to work out ?

  • Catcher in the Rye

    The misunderstanding is yours, Robin. The British government subsidise us to the tune of nearly £11bn. Even if you negotiated to block our contribution to defence (which wouldn’t happen) we’d still need over £9bn from London to fund our public spending.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well if you are happy in your black hole thats a shame

  • Robin Keogh

    you cant get them into work if thereare no businesses to hire them

  • Robin Keogh

    Its up to the SOS to decide when a referendum can be called

  • Robin Keogh

    yes but cutting out the f=defence contribution would solve the welfare issue and poor much needed cash into the Irish economy

  • Robin Keogh

    Denmark does ok

  • More magical thinking…

    There are no ‘fines’ involved. The UK treasury is simply recouping the money they have spent in maintaining the old benefits system here that every other part of the UK has reformed.

    Hence the lie of unity in opposition with other regions of the UK.

    “revenue raising possibilities”?

    What revenue raising possibilities have any of the parties here proposed? They do have options.

    “It is simply down to choices.”
    Choices that some of the parties here refuse to make.

  • Starviking

    The mythical 100 billion to upgrade the nuclear deterent is a figure plucked out of the air. Best estimates I have seen are between 15 to 25 billion over 50 years. That’s around 5% of the defense budget.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    All big organisations are prone to develop narcissistic inward looking tendencies, but yes, the story should not simply be about them themselves so very often, I agree.

  • Granni Trixie

    Zombies? According to Bbc, last night a politician spoke for one hour fourteen minutes – not a filibustering tactic – just them doing what they do. Any normal person would cave in in despair.

  • chrisjones2

    There are several issues there;

    First unemployment in NI is at around 6% – that’s approaching the level where almost everyone who wants a job has one.

    I assumed you noted the Bank of England’s MPC recent concerns that they see an upward pressure on wage rates as a result. That may actually be a good thing as it makes work even more attractive

    Within that 6% unemployed you have

    * those who are just moving between jobs and are unemployed for a few weeks
    * those doing the double. Government (underestimates) overall benefit fraud in the system as 0.7% in cash terms – but that’s perhaps 4- 5% of the unemployed total once you reach this level of employment
    * those unemployed will not work unless absolutely driven to it

    * those who cannot find work because no sane company would employ them as they are utterly useless or have serious drug / alcohol or mental health issues

    So the jobs are there and the reforms will help ensure that the merely feckless will take them and make slowly realize that there is the potential of a better life for them and their families Indeed, in NI we desperately need another wave of immigration to help the economy grow

  • chrisjones2

    …well then let them get skills and get a better job as the rest of us had to.

    I see the dependency culture runs like a river through your posts The bets solution to their problems lies with them

  • chrisjones2

    Perhaps so because we dont buy as may Ford cars

    Cry all you like but its a global economy – the next issue in the car industry and many otehrs is China which is advancing faster than Japan did in the 1970s .

    A friend recently spoke at a conference in Beijing. In the UK he would have been addressing an audience of perhaps 200 most of whom would have been in their 30s and 40s. In Beijing he found himself speaking to almost 5000, almost all in their 20s and 30s and qualified to Masters Degree level

    We have to compete and keep competing

  • chrisjones2

    Its not about asking…its about telling…..like the guys on street corners with sandwich boards and a loud hailer, shouting ‘Ye Must be Born Again’

    Yeah..that will really work

    “London needs to cough up or call a border poll.”

    So people can vote for even lower benefits in the Irish Republic and to lose the NHS. Yeah..that will work

    And legally they cannot do that because SF insisted that in the NI Act in 1998 a poll can only be held if the SoS believes the result will be a YES vote. Note that SF INSISTED on this.

  • chrisjones2

    …read the agreement and Act before you spout nonsense

  • chrisjones2

    yeah…then they could have water meters

  • chrisjones2

    Why should they…as part of the UK we have to defend our state

  • chrisjones2

    you haven’t dealt with the issue that NI health and social care and benefits even with cuts are far better than yours.

    The Unionists are just helping create an Ireland of Equals

  • chrisjones2

    No longer ‘our day will come’ but ‘our day was yesterday’

  • chrisjones2

    Its tough in Connolly House these days. Still this one beats the trampolining dog

  • Granni Trixie

    You’re a star,thanks.

  • Spike

    peter didn’t hold it for long last time so id say he’ll want a more permanent position. the others id say would take anything they are given!

  • james

    Naturally. In a United Ireland SF (whose only real policy is to get to a united Ireland) would swiftly become an irrelevance. Their very existence depends on there not ever being a UI.

  • james

    There’s the infamous SF financial sorcery right there

  • james

    From within as from without

  • John Collins

    Well if Dublin took over every OAP on flat rate would have £40 a week more than they have now and it would be more if the exchange rate was not as bad as it is now

  • barnshee

    “You obviously do not understand the concept of fiscal deficit”

    I am afraid I do- spend more than you generate in tax.
    How long will fiscal deficit run for? how high will it go?

    Let NI borrow the money it needs to bridge the gap between what it raises in tax and spends??

    What –nobody will lend NI money? its -OK- we have “fiscal deficit”

  • HopefulPessimist

    Yes but Unionists and Nationalists in Northern Ireland have no power. They can’t change the results of the General Election as much as we might all want to. This means that the Tories will implement the current cuts and there are likely to be even more coming down the pipeline. Sticking your head in the sand and refusing to play real politik and work for the needs of your constituents will only result in an even worse situation.

    Apart from that I don’t lick welchers. SF have done it twice now and in the process have made it clear that all that matters is the Southland and that their constituents in the Northland don’t matter or are to be sacrificed for the sake of the long game.

  • Robin Keogh

    And if everybody gets ‘skills’ who then is left to do the unskilled work?

  • Robin Keogh

    Its perfectly correct. The SOS has the power to call for a border poll

  • Catcher in the Rye

    No it wouldn’t.

    The welfare state costs over £3bn annually to run. Removing the defence spending would save £1.8bn. You are still £1.2bn short.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    what is the point of being here if you aren’t going to talk sense ?

  • Gopher

    They are Zombies. Politicians that we cannot get rid off, that is the fundamental problem. The MLA in question did not get within 1,200 votes of a quota and his combined party total was 400 votes short of quota and he gets to talk drivel for an hour and one quarter. This man only got 3,500 votes (rounded up) out of a constituency of 62,000 at the general election and he can waffle for an hour and one quarter. Its complete and utter nonsense. He has no mandate its just a convoluted nonsensical process that puts him there and pays him! He was even an executive minister!

    Simply put to get rid of these Zombies the thing has to fall and a new workable democracy needs to be put in its place. GIve me the Westminister system any day. You want rid off McCrea he is gone, You realiase on Friday morning you have elected a dud and Naomi wernt so bad after all thats your bad, five year wait to get rid of him. At least your not stuck with Zombies forever.

  • barnshee

    l MLAs tonight really elevated their game

    I must have been watching a different program

  • barnshee

    Au contraire London would be delighted Raise all your own money and don`t get any handout from GB –London will break your arm for the deal

  • barnshee

    I think giving precedent more than heads would explode.