Friday, 11 December 2009

We’re all doomed….again

THE game is up: we’re all doomed to another week of brinkmanship, party political waffling and general messing about with MLAs again indulging in incessant posturing over policing and justice.

Yep, Sinn Féin are flapping with veiled threats over the future of the Assembly, the DUP are pouting and no-one wants to blink first.

And the first nominations are in for Justice Minister. First to declare has been the SDLP who have put leadership candidate and Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie into the running.

Rumours have also been circulating round the Big House that if the Ulster Unionists put a name forward for the job, deputy leader Danny Kennedy will be that name.

But, in a surprise turn of events the Alliance Party have said that David Ford will only accept a nomination if certain pre-conditions are fulfilled!

The descent into farce couldn’t be more carelessly plotted. Sinn Féin want a Christmas pressie; the DUP want community confidence, but seem to change what that means every few days or so; the SDLP and possibly the UUP are putting names forward that won’t get cross-community backing; and now Alliance have a shopping list…

The only way to solve this is through a community restorative justice scheme. Each MLA will have to face the voters in their constituency and the voters will be able to explain to the MLAs how much hurt and anguish the issue is causing them…and insist, nay, demand that they all get off the radio and stop spouting on about it, until such times that they are ready to play nice.

Need we remind them all that Santa is currently scribbling names on to his naughty and nice lists, so MLAs, you better be good for goodness sake.

Peerless performance

WHEN it comes to the House of Lords, casual viewers may have assumed that it is a serene haven amidst the hurly burly of the Westminster village; a place where Lords and Ladies can contemplate, seated on their padded benches, the whys and wherefores of government and maybe catch a wee doze after lunch.

Who could have guessed that it was a competitive pit where government representatives are hauled to answer question upon question upon question.

Actually it is a fairly serene place, but one Lord has been laying down a storm of questions.
Step forward the UUP’s Lord Laird who has asked hundreds of questions and even made it to the chamber for 145 days.

Nevertheless, such frenetic activity comes with a price tag. Lord Laird claimed 73,000 of the best British pounds sterling in expenses.

His rebuttal to those that challenge these costs: “People want to be represented in Parliament and that’s what I do”.

While Lord Laird prepares to ask another question or six, it also emerged what our Lords can claim for. Each Lord (or Lady) can claim £86.50 for daytime expenses such as meals when attending a sitting in the Lords. That’s a lot of chow, no wonder we see them dozing of an afternoon!

Pay now and pay later

YEP budgets were all the talk of the town. You know the feeling, it’s coming up to Christmas, the kids want the new toys, but you have to cost out the price of the a Nintendo Wii or Playstation 3 against whether the family will be able to eat in January….oh you were thinking of the other budgets?

Well that’s all right then. Here we were thinking you were thinking of taking out a new credit card as you’ve maxed out that other credit card and are up to your overdraft limit. Should your bank manager query this tactic, explain in small words of no more than two syllables…if it’s good enough for Government its good enough for me. Please don’t throw in a jibe about how as a taxpayer you own a stake in the bank, they get all huffy and start mumbling about bonuses.

The Pre-Budget Report came along with a confusing welter of give and take, some things you get now but won’t get in two years time, some things that might help, and some things that won’t. And the reassurance that all will be well as the money markets are still giving the UK a Triple A rating on creditworthiness. Isn’t that how the average punter got into a mess in the first place? Up to your eyes in debt? Just get another loan….but that’s where we started from.

To sort it all out get two economists in a room. The middle ground of where they disagree is right about where the answer may lie!

Sammy says sort it!

THE Northern Ireland Executive’s very own ‘A’ level economics expert, Sammy Wilson (well he was chief tester with the CCEA) has warned that even though we didn’t get the economic kicking from the Treasury that was feared we all need to be prepared for tough times ahead.

As if things weren’t tough enough as it is, Sammy warned his Executive colleagues that the coming 2010 Budget and spending review will mean that he as Finance minister will be demanding that belts are tightened, and there will be cuts…sorry efficiency savings.

Oh, let us take a wild guess here…there will be a row between the DUP and the UUP over the health budget in 2010.