YOU can shuffle the deck chairs as the ship lists hard, but ultimately there comes a time when such shuffling only serves to emphasise that all the mixed messages are getting everyone in a spin…and that’s without the spin doctors stepping into the fray!
To review so far:
“The economy is doomed.”
“Oh, no it isn’t!”
“We must fight the cuts.”
“We must take action now to stave off….”
This week saw a media flurry of waffle about a decision that hasn’t been taken yet and no-one will know about until October 20th.
We have the First Minister and deputy First Minister clocking up more air miles to convince the Government that ‘Norn Iron’ is a special case.
We have Peter saying that we need money on capital projects, Martin saying the Brits made a promise to cough up extra cash and the Tories and Lib Dems reneging on that promise.
We have the three devolved administrations issuing a statement that is akin to holding out a begging bowl while turning their tear streaked faces towards the cold Dickensian demeanour of Treasury accountants.
And then we have Nick “Hi, I’m the deputy” Clegg dropping in to hear our politicians’ concerns and promise that the rug will not be pulled out from the Northern Ireland’s economy.
Better still we got a lecture – well seeing as he is a now a mongrel Tory, Lib Dem man, it was more a gentle chiding – that our economy must diversify (sounds suspiciously like what the industry bodies have been saying, but in nicer language).
All this is beginning to get wearisome ahead of what will no doubt be blanket BBC coverage of the Chancellor’s October 20th Spending Review announcement.
But, do not despair! We’ve seen through the motivations! The Sinners want to publicly fight the cuts while privately agreeing them. The DUP want to paint a picture of Northern Ireland driven to the brink, before saying their powerful lobbying saved the day. The Tory and Lib Dem coalition want to say that they have been kinder than they might have been, and then we’ll all realise that whatever way you shuffle the deckchairs we’re all screwed anyway – man the lifeboats!