When you’re all quite finished laughing at the mendacious cartoon stereotyping of “the oul Orange deal”, here’s a more sobering analysis of why that money is needed, Michael Hugh Walker:
The idea that our peace is so fragile diminishes the losses the generation before me suffered and disregards the investment in a terror-free existence that we as a nation have made, and continue to make, every day.
Talking up the frailty of our peace for political capital is deeply insulting, opportunist and obscenely inaccurate. So please stop it.
Stop allowing English politicians, last in Northern Ireland two decades ago, to make these grand statements with such high accord; and for the commentators, who continue to make these claims, stop using the imagery of my country on fire to politically point score against May.
I find it fascinating though that the same people who talk up Northern Ireland’s potential to break into conflict ignore our past’s very real impact on everyday lives – deprivation. That is another reason why we are different and deserve more money than the other regions.
The Troubles continues to reverberate through Northern Irish lives. In 2012, the biggest ever study in poverty in the UK was conducted.
It not only found that “levels of deprivation and financial hardship are more extensive in Northern Ireland than in the UK as a whole”, but it found that those who were affected by the Troubles are significantly more likely to suffer deprivation.
These are factors that, gracefully, nowhere else in the UK endures; it is why we are a special case; it is why this money is needed, and shouldn’t be derided.
So some of this comes down to plain old incompetence in government. But Northern Ireland frittered the good days of NHS investment whilst the IRA held on to its guns six or seven years longer than the timetable agreed in the GFA.
Such indulgences mean we’re far behind Britain in the rationalisation and modernisation of services (which is saying something) and not that much further ahead of the often ramshackle HSE in the Republic: particularly when it comes to trolley waiting times.