The secret of surviving the cuts is easy – just don’t be poor…

It is fair to say that things are going to get worse. A friend in the civil service says they have been told to implement 4% cuts this year, 8% next year and 4% the year after. Education has a 105 million black hole. Health is getting 70 million chopped off its budget. And all this is before Brexit even happens which depending on your view shall either be calamitous or the making of us. My background is working class but … Read more

The £105m education shortfall – behind the headlines…

The head honcho of the Department of Education says there is a rather big hole in the education budget, from the BBC: Derek Baker, the department’s permanent secretary and the man in charge of the department in the absence of a minister. Mr Baker said that the department had £24m less in cash than last year, but rising costs meant pressures of £105m. He said the funding pressure was mainly due to rising pay, special educational needs and maintenance costs. Mr … Read more

“Now it seems that Sinn Fein is realising how badly exposed its negotiators left it to accusations of a sell-out.”

In today’s Irish News John Manley does everyone a favour by identifying Sinn Fein’s problem with the agreement they signed up to in December. The nub of the problem appears to lie in the figures contained in the Stormont Castle Agreement, an agreement within an agreement negotiated between the five parties days before the final accord was signed off on December 23. In annex A of this sub-agreement, the figures for the planned welfare safety net are outlined. It earmarks … Read more

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls*!t.”

So if you think these recent backroom changes in Sinn Fein have no visible effects, you might be right. Dropping Leo Green and then losing Vincent Parker (both of whom were highly rated by those outwith the party), may have not changed what happened to poor Phil Flanagan yesterday when he showed up on Nolan with a bat already thoroughly smashed to bits by his own team captain: listen to ‘Last month, the DUP got the Nolan Show montage treatment. … Read more

Ad hoc group to seek way forward

The Northern Ireland Executive’s “away day” at Greenmount Agricultural College has come to an end.  And they’ve reportedly agreed to set up a cross-party review group “in a bid to find a way out of the economic crisis facing the Executive.”  According to the BBC report It is understood ministers were given the full economic and fiscal context of what is happening. Official sources told the BBC the problems facing the Executive are enormous and on a scale people in … Read more