Sinn Fein looking for Full Fiscal Autonomy (even though they don’t believe any of the current figures.)

Apparently the fact that Sinn Fein’s economic figures don’t add up is down to a conspiracy between the Treasury and DFP, according to Conor Murphy… The clip from Nolan:

If you aren’t sure what FFA is (and I suspect SF is relying on the likelihood that most people don’t care enough to figure what it is) here’s a thumbnail sketch on what it is, and what it isn’t

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Sounds like he doesn’t know where to place the chicken and the egg. Or is that the cart before the horse? What comes first, the united Ireland or FFA? FFA for Northern ireland (Conor’s own words) within a um … united Ireland is still a partitioned Ireland. With which of the 2 sovereign states is the autonomy? Is it Sinn Fein’s policy to treat a united Ireland as an experiment now? I can’t wait to see Robin’s response to this for more laughs.

  • Accountant

    SOS, Theresa. We have a widening benefits trap with 75% of UK wages and now >100% of UK benefits (thanks to SF/SDLP). Public sector wages are >100% of UK. No Public Sector redundancy boost or restructuring benefit in the medium-term as the package has been suspended. Now no corporation tax cut stimulus. We’re going to have to cut public services and the infrastructure spending freeze goes on (we’ve just decided to cut our most successful infrastructure investment sector, renewable energy !). We can’t even depreciate our wages to get out of this mess, as we didn’t do Welfare Reform, so we can’t set wages & benefits to make lower paid work pay better than the dole. And SF worry about the Southern voters – who are all doing very nicely. Northern Ireland is heading for recession. Help us, Westminster – get these people away from the levers of power

  • hugh mccloy

    Aspire this, aspire that, someone is going to get taxed somewhere here

  • hugh mccloy

    Duplication of services, SF already saying that a united Ireland will face cuts in services

  • Surveyor

    JSA in the North is £75 per week in the South it’s £135 per week. Surely the answer is to raise the minimum wage instead of cutting benefits?

  • Accountant

    Benefits should be there as a safety net – people need to get to >£135/week by working (if they can). Minimum wage + top-ups is better than deadweight – on both an economic and social level

  • Surveyor

    I don’t understand, who pays the top ups you’re going on about. The taxpayer?

  • Zeno

    If you amalgamate services it will result in thousands of jobs lost. It if doesn’t there will be no “savings”. It’s #Shinnernomics.

  • Accountant

    Sure – as income support or tax credits. But, under Welfare Reform, these credits/benefits get clawed back against earned income, but at an effective tax rate of 50% – so the worker and the tax payer both benefit from the worker offering his/her labour

  • Zeno

    Em, is the main benefactor not the employer who is paying minimum wage?

  • Accountant

    Partly, but if an outcome is increased employment, this drives up demand for labour, dragging up wages – and we end up with fuller employment, output, etc.

  • Zeno

    If the taxpayer is subsidising people on minimum wage it means employers need only pay minimum wage because an increase will lead to the employee losing part of his subsidy. A shortage of labour would normally drive up wages but there is no shortage of people looking for min wage jobs. A few years ago 11000 applied for work when a new supermarket opened in Portadown.

  • Accountant

    You’re right when there is high unemployment – in economic recessions, a minimum wage drives up unemployment. With credits and benefits to top up wages, there is no need for a minimum wage. Employers will pay what the job is worth, with full market forces/competition setting wages. In strong economic times, wages will be bid up and subsidies clawed back; in weaker times, subsidies will top up lower wages.

  • barnshee

    “there is no shortage of people looking for min wage jobs”

    Too many people– (excess of supply) equals lower “price”paid for wages –The minimum wage legislation has produced ,amongst others, zero hour and similar “contracts”

    Business exists to make profits and most importantly survival of entity — If costs are increased raise wages ? then (in the absence of expansion) something`s gotta give–this can include jobs.

  • Sprite

    Funny how having a party in government whose objective is the abolition of the state isn’t working very well. I reckon SF would be very happy to see Stormont collapse as they think they will be in power in Dublin after the next election in the south. With no Stormont they’ll be free to negotiate with London as part of the Irish government over the heads of Ulster’s unionists. They didn’t quite manage to bomb the Northern Ireland economy out of existence but they’ve found intransigence over benefits payments might be the weapon that does just that.

  • Sprite
  • cu chulainn

    FFA, if it worked, would be a powerful model for a united Ireland as the obstacles to the latter as economic as much as anything else.
    But I cannot see how FFA can work in NI as it stands, there is no evidence whatsoever that SF have thought this through.

  • Zeno

    Unemployment is only around 6% I think. The problem is that most of those people are unskilled and there are not enough jobs for them. I’d guess the decline in the building industry, advances in technology in the same trade and the similar decline in retail jobs is the problem.

  • Zeno

    They just don’t seem to have any good economic strategy for UI. They have a lot of stock answers most of which we heard in the interview, but you would think that a party whose goal is UI would put together an economic plan that isn’t full of holes.

  • Gopher

    Who will be the next SF MLA to make a complete idiot of himself in an interview? Is their a specialist cadre in the Republican movement trained in absurdity when asked about economics or do they draw straws to defend Gerry’s next great idea?

  • Zig70

    SF’s big problem is that, at the minute,nobody would trust them with a cheque book, never mind the states finances. They will have to prove themselves in a southern government first. Can’t prove themselves in the North because there isn’t any power. It’s just a costly kindergarten.

  • Accountant

    It is hard to get unemployment an awful lot lower than 6% and IMO minimum wage is responsible for putting some less skilled out of work. Not quite a parallel, and the sector has its own individual challenges, but my missus works in a bookshop which mainly pays minimum wage, but which may shut because it can’t afford to pay that. Maybe she shouldn’t have her wages topped up with benefits/credits if she chose to work there for a lower wage than Tesco, but it would be better if her bookshop could pay below minimum wage and stay open (and yes, I know how incendiary it is to challenge the minimum wage – not even the Tories do !)

  • Dan

    Not sure which was the worst interview I’ve heard this week….was it Durkan’s lamentable nonsense in support of the EU, or Murphy’s embarrassing guff this morning

  • Gopher

    Durkans problem is endemic of the SDLP’s their comfort zone of pseudo reasonableness has been taken by the practical reasonableness of Alliance. This means they actually have to have policy. This they are struggling with. They trip at every attempt because they are continually looking over their shoulder instead of looking forward. Every statement has that many caveats it nulifies the original message. Im sure if we could build a time machine and send Durkan back to 1969 he would be excellent at organizing a protest march or demonstration against the government. But in 2015 he is completely useless. Its got to that stage these interviews by SF and SDLP are now actually entertaining. Though I must admit 42 metres being the lead story on the news followed by lack of a prayer room at Queens, BBC NI today shaded Stormont in the taking the piss as being the most overpaid for least utility in Northern Ireland. Take a bow BBC NI

  • hugh mccloy

    gfa still gives determination to 6 counties to select, and regardless of what happens that will always be the case,

  • Surveyor

    But don’t the Tories follow the mantra of free market capitalism? Does propping up private businesses with tax payers money not run counter to that? What your proposing comes close to communism does it not?

  • Accountant

    I expect the Tories will announce an end to minimum wage within 5 years, on the basis that their Welfare Reform did away with the need for it (and I think WR is clever). WR does not equate to Communism – there is still a strong reward mechanism; but it also brings the low skilled / low paid into the workforce by breaking the benefits trap.

  • notimetoshine

    Your example is quite scary. If the business cannot afford to pay minimum wage, what sort of wage can it pay? Let’s assume that they reduce their pay to 4 pounds per hour. (Frankly I couldn’t see any bigger reduction). Let’s also assume a standard working week of 37.5. On 4 per hour we get a gross income of 150. This is 93.75 below the minimum wage for the standard work week. I think it’s fair to say that the minimum wage is close to bare bones (if not less) in terms of reasonable cost of living expenses.

    So in order to prevent abject poverty we assume state subsidies of 93.75 to make up the wage. So the book shop stays open but only due to a state subsidy. Lower wages won’t increase sales or footfall simply cutting overheads. Not a sustainable practice in the long term I should think. State subsidies to failing and poor performing business ectora, I wonder where we have heard that before?

    Also tell me how far would the government subsidise wages. If an employee was offered £2 per hour would the govt make up all that shortfall to make it equivalent to the minimum wage?

    Assuming deflationary pressures by scrapping the minimum wage, how much would this affect cost of living? Commodity prices would still rise and fall of their own accord for example, so would the overall reduction in wages be matched by an equivalent reduction in cost of living?

    And I can’t help thinking the risk of a deflationary spital from such a deflationary measure as removing minimum wage would be scary.

  • chrisjones2

    ……. because that’s all the consumer will pay for the goods
    are you prepared to suddenly pay a lot more for your groceries, burger, pizza, petrol, newspaper, books, clothes

  • chrisjones2

    there is no shortage of people looking for min wage jobs

    Simply not true. Although the quoted unemployment rate is 6-7% in practice 4% are unemployable or simply wont work. The true rate is now between 2% and 3% . Many of those have very low skill levels eg basic literacy issues

    I watch ministers claiming plans for economic growth – we will need a huge influx of immigrant labour, which is a good thing perhaps

  • chrisjones2

    Every time we bid for a Government Contract it is minimum cost ie minimum wage. Dont blame businesses

  • T.E.Lawrence

    OK SF if you want Full Fiscal Autonomy from Westminster for NI put a Budget on the Table for us the punters to review who it will effect ! By all means make it based on an All Ireland Economic Model and any contributions that would come from ROI. Put Up ! or Shut Up ! because people are getting fed up with the same old long playing record of utter nonsense and crap !

  • Ernekid

    Immediately after partition. The new Northern Ireland state was expected by Westminster to pay its own way and that it was even expected to pay an ‘imperial contribution’ to Westminster to main upkeep of the empire. Of course this imperial contribution was rarely paid and with the decline and collapse of the big manufacturing industries such as ship building and the rapidly spiralling security costs. The subventions from London grew larger every year. Northern Ireland became an economic basket case long before the outbreak of violence.

    Northern Ireland used to have more devolved fiscal powers that it does now. It could set Car Taxes, property taxes and other minor fiscal measures. The old Stormont Parliament had the opportunity to push for greater fiscal independence like the SNP are doing now but they tended to not to experiment with devolution. Only with the Premiership of O’Neill did the Unionist government become serious about making Northern Ireland fiscally sustainable.

  • Accountant

    Agreed – Selective state subsidy is dangerous, but a general mechanism for topping up wages will only prop up a “failing” business until demand for labour (and market-driven wages) knocks it out, once it can’t get any labour at the price it can afford to pay.

    I’d be happy for the bookshop to try to pay £2/hour, which sits alongside a state subsidy for the worker. In time, the £2 will be driven up as, for example, care homes (who, outrageously, cannot currently find skilled staff, as they can only just pay minimum wage) start bidding £3/hour for that labour (which gives the worker a net 50p/hour more than the bookshop does under the Welfare Reform subsidy/clawback formula) – and so on. If the bookshop cannot command sufficient footfall/consumer wallet to match the £3/hour – or whatever labour price the [WR subsidised] market sets – it will have to shut. But it shouldn’t have to shut just because the minimum wage goes up suddenly one year by 10%.

  • the rich get richer

    Some Football Clubs have Russian Oligarcs to Finance them.

    Lets be honest about it Northern Ireland needs a Russian Oligarc or a very wealthy Santa to Finance the place.

  • Zig70

    Having a party that seeks to abolish the state is no more divisive than having a party that seeks to disenfranchise half the population. Neither are working in the best interests of NI PLC. I don’t subscribe to the beige ‘they are both as bad as each other’ view but certainly both exasperate.

  • Old Mortality

    Ernekid
    Which taxes did O’Neill increase or did he just cut public spending?

  • Old Mortality

    Surveyor
    You should remember that it was Gordon Brown who introduced the complexity of tax credits rather than the more sensible measure of raising the tax threshold to the same level as the minimum wage.

  • Jag

    Friday was a big day for SF as it practically abandoned the goal of devolved corporate tax rates in NI.

    “One direct consequence of the ongoing austerity crisis is that, in these circumstances, the regional economy will not be able to afford the introduction of Corporation Tax even if a date and rate were to be agreed.” says Declan Kearney, the SF national chairman, writing for An Phoblacht.

  • Jag

    The upshot of the Nolan interview is it is the SF position that there is a GBP 3bn deficit in Northern Ireland at present. SF base that figure on what unidentified economists have said or told them.

    As I understand it, the NI economy on a GVA basis is worth around GBP 33bn. So, this place is roughly running a 9% budget deficit. That’s where the Republic of Ireland was in 2010.

    SF won’t say how they’ll fill the deficit, but there’s no great magic about it if you look at the Republic. The government in the Republic increased income taxes, cut social welfare, cut capital expenditure and cut public services – collectively, this is known as “austerity”. Last year, the Republic achieved a budgetary surplus (however, interest of its debt meant it still has a deficit, but even with interest, the deficit will be around 2.5% in 2015).

    Could NI take GBP 3bn of austerity measures? Probably, if one public sector worker earns GBP 30,000 a year and costs the public sector GBP 50,000 in national insurance, accommodation, training and other person costs, then cutting 60,000 staff would save GBP 3bn. We’d still have 150,000 public sector staff. Education, health and policing would suffer and we’d notice, but we could do it. And we don’t need focus 100% on public sector costs, we can spread the deficit reduction through raising taxes, cutting capital expenditure and welfare. It’s just SF won’t do any of that (they’ll probably raise taxes on those earning over GBP 70,000 but that’s it)

  • james

    Aaaah so that is the end game for Sinn Fein then….the keys to the bank.

  • james

    Unfortunately, as Mr Murphy admitted on the Nolan Show, they cannot do that as they have no idea of what the figures actually are. Demolition and reaping a tidy profit off of contrubutions is of course a very different animal to trying to run an economically successful state. As SF have no intention of even trying to make NI successful, that will hardly worry them, though it must trouble even the most obtuse member of the Party to reflect that every lasting economic sabotage inflicted on NI makes us less and less attractive to the Republic.

  • Zeno

    11,000 applied for 450 Jobs in a new supermarket in Portadown.
    It’s not uncommon in retail to have over 50 applicants for one jobs.
    So, simply is true,

  • Zeno

    I’ve had several businesses and have never paid anyone minimum wage. Most employers pay as little as they can, not what they can afford.

  • 23×7

    If a business can’t afford to pay staff even the minimum wage then it should question whether it should even be in business at all.

  • 23×7

    The state should not be propping up failing business models, which in my opinion are any businesses that cannot afford to pay a living, let alone a minimum wage. The problem with many capitalists is that they don’t like hard nosed capitalism. Propping up failing businesses with benefits subsidies for employees strangles innovation.

  • Accountant

    The “Necessity is the Mother of Invention/Innovation was the required response before we created the welfare state. The welfare system went too far in protecting not just the vulnerable but also those lacking the self-confidence to participate in the mainstream “personal economy” (some people characterise these individuals as lazy/free riders, but I believe the system is as much to blame). Welfare Reform allows us to find a middle ground and incentivise everyone to work, provided we allow wages to fall such that we reach full(ish) employment. Higher employment (in an efficient economy) creates higher GDP – so taxpayer subsidy actually falls (subject to political redistributive choices). Post WR (and my proposed scrapping of Minimum Wage), the weakest businesses (measured by ability to pay a market-driven wage) will fail. Innovation will still be rewarded, as good new businesses will outcompete failing businesses in the labour market (WR does not distort the cost of labour to employers or the income for employees).

  • Robin Keogh

    Even the best guess tells us that the stated 12bn revenue that apparently is generated in the North is incorrect. The percentage tax take of GDP UK wide is 39%, applied to the North that would suggest a minumum revenue stream of at least 14bn per annum. As Murphy points out, its nigh on impossible to present solid financials if London cannot -or for some reason will not- open up the books, especially in regard to the actual amount of revenue generated by companies operating in the North who declare their taxes directly to London. It would be helpful if the exchequer would be so good as tolet us have a little peek.

    Duplication of services is a cash strain in both parts of this little Island, but the notion that thousands of jobs would go down the swanny is ludicrous. Front line staff will always be required to serve the population in a UI and as ireland currently collects only 30% of GDP in compared to the UK’s 39% there is plenty of wriggle room concerning tax increases in the higher income backets. The numbers in public service can be reduced naturally over time given natural wastage, and voluntary redundancy packages can be offered for those who want them on an all island basis, it might also be the case that many public servants in the North would prefer to transfer to GB rather than live and work in a UI. Britain paying the bill for retirees in the North with Dublin coughing up for those in the South.

    It is more important to try and wrench the menatlity of dependency out of the heads of Unionism. Convincing your people that they are useless and will always need to be bailed out living on someone else’s scraps is hardly empowering. The six county economy can’t function alone; it needs to be connected in some real way with an economy where trade, goods and services can move freely in the absence of a currnecy border, Jobs can be created through exploiting natural economic corridors and where FDI can be shared and spread islandwide. It does not have that with GB for geographical and political reasons.

    Unionism needs to find some level of embarrassment within itself that it has been scrounging off English tax payers for decades, no wonder then a majority of Britons want rid of the statelet. Demanding that Sinn Fein come up with a detailed point perfect plan in the absence of access to real figures, the absence of any sign of a poll and the absence of any effort on behalf of other parties to do the same is simply facile nonesense.

  • peepoday

    The crisis at Stormont highlights the need for a restoration of Westminster rule.Working people will begin to suffer if our politicians are not capeable of doing their job.The devolution experiment has failed and the constitutional position of Northern Ireland remains.Basic house keeping involves having a budget and making it work.Either the system of government is flawed or those elected don’t want to make it work.

  • Zeno

    “Demanding that Sinn Fein come up with a detailed point perfect plan in the absence of access to real figures,”

    How are they able to claim we would all be better off in a United Ireland if they don’t know the figures? Every plan they have produced involves job losses and tax increases.

  • Zeno

    “Duplication of services is a cash strain in both parts of this little Island, but the notion that thousands of jobs would go down the swanny is ludicrous”

    What is the cost of duplication?
    How many jobs will be lost?
    How much saving will be made by amalgamating all services across the island?
    Let me guess, you don’t know? #shinnernomics

  • Surveyor

    It sounds as though your trying to convince yourself that this would work. It brings to mind the now discredited trickle down economics theory which the super rich of the day used to try and placate the low paid.

  • Skibo

    I have spent the majority of my working life paying tax to the British government. Should they not be responsible for a percentage of my pension and my health policy?
    When a UI is set up there should be a financial settlement to provide those who have paid to have health cover and a pension pot.

  • Skibo

    I do not agree with the trickle down theory. Money comes from the supply of labour and without that labour nothing can be produced.

  • Robin Keogh

    You seem to have ignored the part where i said there was no need for job losses.

  • Robin Keogh

    Because the economic strength of the island has a whole lends itself to a stronger economic unit in terms of taxation, fdi, public services etc. The UK focus is firmly on GB and has no economic policy focus on the north. The figures as is are plain to see with exception of what London will not share with us.

  • Skibo

    Can you envisage FFA under a joint authority system?
    For it to work I see Stormont having to evolve into Government and opposition. Possibly the governing element having to contain a minimum of 40% of either nationalist or Unionist members.

  • Skibo

    Only based on ongoing austerity! We need to accommodate a budget reduction of between £240m and £350m to achieve a reduced corporation tax rate. if we have to firstly accommodate the £???m reduction for future austerity, that is the problem.

  • Sprite

    Slightly ironic that “Unionism needs to find some level of embarrassment…that it has been scrounging off English tax payers” when Republicans have no shame in accepting salaries from the same source. [or benefits for that matter]

    If dependency on Britain is a problem just accept welfare reform and get on with it. Never mind Tory cuts, our public services are about to face massive Sinn Fein cuts.

  • Sprite

    I only just re-read this bit: “The numbers in public service can be reduced naturally over time given
    natural wastage, and voluntary redundancy packages can be offered for
    those who want them on an all island basis, it might also be the case
    that many public servants in the North would prefer to transfer to GB
    rather than live and work in a UI.”

    I thought we’d moved on from the “if you don’t want to live in “the UK/UI” then get out” mentality – that’s what led to people shooting each other. Is this what faces pro-Union families in the Sinn Fein utopia of a United Ireland?

    By that standard Robin, why don’t public servants who would prefer to live and work in a free and independent Irish Republic just pack up and head south? Because they’re too busy spending the salaries they receive from HM Treasury and getting on with their lives, that’s why.

  • Zeno

    So you are going to amalgamate all services across the island and retain the workforces now?
    I know it’s an obvious question, but how will savings be made by doing that?

  • Zeno

    We have 180,000 on Sickness Benefit.
    About 45,000 unemployed.
    And something like 550,000 in total economically inactive.
    Adding those to a country with one of the highest debt to GDP ratios in the world will not act like a magic wand.

  • Robin Keogh

    Thats the point Skib, such issues can only be resolved via British Irish negotiations

  • Robin Keogh

    Sprite it would be perfectly reasonable to allow public servants to remain in the emply of the British state in GB if thats what they would prfer. Dont turn a perfectly honest assertion into a sectarian wind up please.

  • the rich get richer

    Northern Ireland will have to develop in a way that it pays its own way. Thats hardly an unfair demand of any region.

    Northern Ireland will develop in a way that is most effective for meeting this End.

    The English will not pay indefinitely for Northern Ireland and from their point of View why should they.

    Northern Ireland in the medium to long Term will have to Pay for itself.
    This is a bare minimum request and certainly not an unreasonable one.

  • Reader

    Robin Keogh: The percentage tax take of GDP UK wide is 39%, applied to the North that would suggest a minumum revenue stream of at least 14bn per annum.
    I assume that your ‘minimum’ is a typo for ‘maximum’, given the poor state of the Northern Ireland economy, which will undermine VAT, National insurance, income tax and corporation tax receipts in comparison with the UK average.
    Robin Keogh: Unionism needs to find some level of embarrassment within itself that it has been scrounging off English tax payers for decades, no wonder then a majority of Britons want rid of the statelet.
    Strange then, that you seem to have a belief that we aren’t really sponging, and that if only we could see the books, we would know that. Though unionists aren’t going to be too embarrassed while the map of DLA claim rates looks like it does!
    And, as people keep on and on and on telling you, efficiency savings = lost jobs. If you delay the job losses, you delay the savings. If you spread out the job losses, with a recruitment freeze, then you put ongoing pressure on the private sector job market, as well as delaying the savings. If you bribe people to retire early, you need to find money up front.

  • barnshee

    “Unionism needs to find some level of embarrassment within itself that it has been scrounging off English tax payers for decades,”

    Careful examination of the data set

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/05/27/truth-or-consequences-the-potential-impact-of-un-devolving-welfare/

    shows that the “scroungers” and “dependency” are to be found to be heavily represented in the constituencies of

    West Belfast
    Foyle
    Newry and South Armagh
    Fermanagh and Tyrone

    A clear picture appeares of exactly WHERE the “spongers” and “dependency” are situated- its not “unionism ” that needs to find “any level of embarassment” ( other than perhaps of embarassment at the conduct of those whose behaviour produces the “dependency”)

    The AFM data also highlights the reason for the panic in SF ranks as it realises the impact of welfare reform on its client base -and the idea that it might be accountable for the impact

    “Convincing your people that they are useless and will always need to be bailed out living on someone else’s scraps is hardly empowering”

    Have you never heard of the “protestant work ethic” ?? the only people regarded as useless are the enthusiasts for DLA and the enthusiasts for the associated benefits “industry”.

  • Kevin Breslin

    So amalgamating the councils under RPA was a bad idea up North then?

  • Kevin Breslin

    He opened trade with the Republic and vice versa. The idea that Northern Ireland could get the best in trade either overseas or even with the island of Britain without working with the Republic was folly.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And yet the most popular party of the future graduates (including many of the doctors, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, dentists, economists, financers, accountants, lawyers, judges, agriculture and linguists and educators) of QUB is Sinn Féin.

    There’s a little glimpse of the future economy of Northern Ireland.

  • barnshee

    ” the most popular party of the future graduates (including many of the doctors, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, dentists, economists, financers, accountants, lawyers, judges, agriculture and linguists and educators) of QUB is Sinn Féin.

    What that got to do with it ? (I am unaware of any courses graduating *Judges” )

    1 A largish sector of the prods avoid QUB and exit to other UK universities -well done SF helps explaine their “popularity”

    2 SF is the most popularity amongst Doctors Dentists Engineers etc ?? In my experience SF ” popularity is” in Irish Studies & Social “sciences” Now doubt you can produce faculty by faculty statistics for you claim

    PS who will employ the AFM list of ( largely public job sector) seeking graduates?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Two points:

    1) Many of the “Prods” go to England, Scotland and Wales and never come back. Many of the “Taigs” likewise I may add. There may be the case that many of those SF supporters either return to (if they are from what they call “The 26”) or go (if they are from what they call “The 6”) to the Republic of Ireland. Though some of the Shinners from the South might stay in jobs up here to balance those who live here to go to elsewhere.

    2) The law of averages supports my claim: if QUB (and UU is quite similar I may add) has more locals from a “Catholic” background than a “Protestant” background, more from Northern Ireland than from elsewhere in the world, and more from that Catholic background support Sinn Féin than anyone else including …. then it should not be a surprise that many middle class professional jobs in Northern Ireland are being taken up by Sinn Féin supporters.

    I say this as an unbiased SDLP supporter who has many issues with Sinn Féin’s attitude and policies and things and I feel that a Bayesian inference estimate could back this claim up. Given Sinn Féin is the most popular party in QUB, it is reasonable to assume that their supporting students are not lopsided into the social sciences which do not account for the majority of student uptake.

    There are more Science, Engineering and Health places in QUB than there is in Humanities, Legal and Social Science and the Arts. QUB doesn’t even do Art degrees. Many of those who fill the places from outside NI and particularly outside the UK and Ireland do not stay here. So what remains from SF being a largely supported party in QUB probably increases on an NI level (and definitely increases on an all-Ireland level) when it comes to the number of locally available graduates willing to stay here doing any subject.

    A Bayesian inference on the following 3 main heuristics:
    1) Sinn Féin most popular party at QUB
    2) Science, Engineering and Health subjects are the most popular courses at QUB
    3) NI operates net loss in student import i.e. Students who go to GB, ROI, ROW more likely to stay in GB, ROI, ROW than Students who go to NI from GB, ROI, ROW.

    All three of those heuristics are reasonable, so favour my argument.

    Most popular party x Most popular subjects x Most likely to stay.

    But also on your previous post, you clearly omitted the fact that majority Catholic Mid Ulster still beats Majority Protestant East Londonderry, so your sectarian generalizations about the Protestant work ethic kind of hit a bump on that one. No I mean that in the nicest possible sense, because I don’t want my Catholic guilt complex to kick in if I’ve offended you. 😀

  • Kevin Breslin

    How can you have Full Fiscal Autonomy under direct joint authority? Surely to have joint authority Stormont would need to surrender its fiscal autonomy to two states. May as well call it No Fiscal Autonomy.

  • Kevin Breslin

    If Ireland were to be united, full fiscal autonomy would require a federal Ireland with some diverging fiscal priorities something which Sinn Féin oppose.

    Full Fiscal Autonomy would mean everything bar the Oireachtas, the Irish defense forces and international affairs regarding the Northern state would be controlled from Belfast.

    You’d also have the “Southern Irish” question like the English question was in the Scottish Independence debate if this is the case.

    With full fiscal autonomy Belfast would not even need to “harmonize” corporation tax but there would be economic consequences for the absence of parity, and might even force Dublin to adopt a higher rate if it doesn’t. Having two differing tax zones in one nation is not allowed under EU law unless, the tax rate pays for itself in both regions, otherwise regions have to pay deficits to central authority.

  • Kevin Breslin

    It already is in a country with one of the highest debt to GDP ratios in the world. Those unemployed and economically inactive people can move freely to the Republic of Ireland anyway.

    Also we don’t have 550,000 (one third of the local population) economically inactive, EVEN if you are counting every single child and person under 16 here who wouldn’t be registered as economically inactive, that figure is totally ridiculous.

  • barnshee

    Go back to your stats class there is no correlation between your 1 2 and 3 above

  • Kevin Breslin

    Doesn’t have to correlate, you have three high independent probabilities.

    The product of three independent probabilities in one event in separation is the expectation probability all three occur together upon unity.

    Two is really the only factor that is truly idependent because the probability that a local student supports SF in Queens is higher than for Sinn Féin QUB Students from the rest of the world (I.e Southerners and freinds of SF globally). We are additionally assuming only that a Republic of Ireland based SF supporter is as likely to stay in Northern Ireland as a SF supporter from Northern Ireland. Given that considerably more students at Queen’s come from Northern Ireland, Great Britian and overseas than from the Republic of Ireland the impact of 26 county based Sinn Féin supporters on the statistics is neglible in comparison to the expected number of 6 county based Sinn Féin supporters.

    So here’s the 3 probability estimates.

    Probability 1 (QUB SF supporter/total support) is around 18% at a conservative estimate with apathy-undecided and other parties thrown in. This is a plurality I.e the main desivive political choice from all options, second in terms of political choice to apathy-undecided and higher upon survey than unionist unity given it beats the combined open support of the DUP Association and Young Unionists.
    Probability 2 (QUB STEM/total subjects) is around 55%
    Probability 3 (QUB stay local/total students) is around 80%

    So even if Probability of a local STEM graduate from QUB to be independent of party support it is expected that an ad hoc estimate that 18% of these graduates must be SF supporters, and .18x.8x.55×100% would be SF supporters with STEM degrees who would stay here. This is standard Bayesian inference approach.

    That’s roughly 8% of the total student population of Queen’s.

  • barnshee

    Yep thats right the cumulative probability –based on your assumptions–shows 7,92% of stem students will be SF supporters

    hardly

    “the most popular party of the future graduates (including many of the doctors, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, dentists, economists, financers, accountants, lawyers, judges, agriculture and linguists and educators) of QUB is Sinn Féin.”

    Especially as (so far) I cant locate any of the doctors, engineers, mathematicians, scientists, dentists, economists, financers, accountants, lawyers, judges, agriculture and linguists and educators) of QUB IN Sinn Féin.

  • Zeno

    No reply Robin?

  • Zeno

    “Also we don’t have 550,000 (one third of the local population) economically inactive, ”

    Look it up and then come back to me.

  • Zeno

    SF don’t use normal economics. They have a magic wand. Great savings by amalgamating services and no job losses! You couldn’t make it up.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Economic inactivity seems to include students including PhD students and that is whether they have other jobs or not.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I can, I did say Sinn Féin supporters, but the local membership and even some of the representatives are professionals, especially in the Republic but we will see this increasingly in Northern Ireland. The SDLP is not the only schoolteacher, doctor and lawyer party within Irish nationalism in the North.

  • Zeno

    Economically inactive people don’t have jobs.


    The economically inactive are defined as people who are not in employment or unemployed. There are many reasons why an individual may be inactive, for example, they might be studying, looking after family or long-term sick.”

  • Kevin Breslin

    A student who works in a part time job is considered economically inactive. A student who moves here to study is economically inactive. Though it is strange to think students contribute to economic inactivity when they are paying fees, accommodation and developing the next generation of industry, and works in tutorials and outside of university might be considered employed by some but economically inactive by those who simply add the student population to the list on their estimates while a homeless person who is on zero hour contracts and is ineligible to claim JSA is considered employed by the statistics and unemployed by society.

  • Skibo

    The same way as you would have FFA with Westminster only. Devomax as what Scotland has requested.

  • Zeno

    I’m quoting official figures. What other figures do you have?
    Are you claiming that Northern Ireland is a hotbed of economic activity because some students have part time jobs?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Effectively, the only joint authority possible under full fiscal autonomy is for the Secretary of State to share the NIO with the Irish Foreign ministry, but given many of the reserved powers deal with either UK sovereignty matters or local fiscal maters which would have to be given to Stormont any condominium would mean a separate set of Irish Republic government powers over NI that doesn’t violate NI place in the UK or matters of the UK’s own governance such as defence. Only way I can think of threading that needle is to return to the Anglo-Irish Arrangement and have Stormont lose influence over cross-border and cross-island bodies with NIO and the Department for Foreign Affairs dealing with Strand Two and either both, the NIO or neither taking Stormont’s diplomatic role in Strand Three since both governments are in by themselves anyway. Effectively force a Devo-Max Diplo-Min trade off.

  • Skibo

    One reason I would like it to happen is the Unionists would not be as happy to give powers back if they knew the Dail would have a hand in it.
    That was the threat that brought big Ian in to sit down with SF apparently.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Any form of direct rule including joint direct rule is the opposite of full fiscal autonomy for the Six Counties. The Anglo-Irish Agreement (I’d rather have called it British-Irish to reflect not all Brits are Anglo) defines the British-Irish arrangement, what Good Friday Agreement did was give unionists and nationalists direct say in their relations with the Dáil and Britain’s (and that of their crown dependencies) political assemblies. These aren’t specifically fiscally devolved because they could arguably be called national, but wouldn’t unionists prefer to define their relationship and non-relationship boundaries with the Republic than London impose a solution, indeed Dublin imposing a similar solution for nationalists would not necessarily go down well either.

    The other thing is where would the Tory cuts end and the Fine Gael cuts begin? How would the voter really know which is which. If say intertradeireland gets a cut wouldn’t it be an agreement by the NIO and the Irish government anyway.