Friday, 26 June 2009

Where to start…

IN a particularly busy week in Northern Ireland politics it’s hard to know where to start…MLA expenses, DUP re-shuffling, Ian Paisley Senior roaring, SDLP re-shuffling. When stuck there’s always Sammy Wilson.

The soon to be finance minister was embroiled in another triple jobbing row. This time he was wearing his MLA hat and Belfast councillor hat but had temporarily left his MP hat at home. The row erupted over plans to try and deal with the mountain of waste.

Sammy appeared in the media after yet another vote in Belfast City Council on allowing proposed waste facilities on the north foreshore of Belfast Lough. Sammy didn’t take part in the first vote as he was unsure if was conflicted, given his position as environment minister.

Having taken legal advice (you really couldn’t make this up), the environment minister said he was entitled to vote as there was no real conflict of interest.

There then, in almost time honoured fashion, followed a rant on double and triple jobbing and how it was no big deal.

Hang on there. If you do the sums, Sammy is not double jobbing; he’s not triple jobbing. He is quadruple jobbing. Let’s take it from the top.

Job number 1: Councillor – representing ratepayers of Belfast.

Job number 2: MP – representing constituents of East Antrim in Westminster.

Job number 3: NI Executive Minister – representing the population of NI on matters of the environment (and soon to be custodian of the Executive budget).

Job number 4: MLA – representing constituents of East Antrim at Stormont.

On a different but connected note, he held another job until he jacked it in during October 2007. He was, according to the Assembly website, Chief Examiner in Economics A Level for the schools curriculum body, the CCEA. Perfect for the Finance post then…an expert in A level economics!

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