Friday, 30 July 2010

Well off – that’ll be a political party then

POLITICS is a business: not just about getting business, but about the necessity of keeping the books balanced and bringing in the money to fund all those pesky election campaigns.

This week, the Electoral Commission published the budgets of Northern Ireland’s political parties.

Last year, Sinn Féin raked in the most money (more than £1.1m) but spent more than that. The DUP raised £348,191 and spent £480,158. The SDLP's income was £398,829 but it spent £499,583.

The UUP spent £357,430 but took in £392,868, making them the only party to return books that were in the ‘black’.

Which, given the figure for all the parties, begs the question - just how much do those election posters actually cost? And what does it cost to send all those leaflets to reach their ultimate destination, the recycling bin?

Let’s all be nice to each other

IN another remarkable decision to actually do a wee bit of work the DUP, Sinn Féin power axis managed to finally publish the public consultation on its Programme for Cohesion, Sharing and Integration.

However, one must be careful to actually see this as a Government proposal.

One might suspect that there is a consensual programme of activity around the massive cabinet table that has 16 Ministers making up a Government of sorts.

But this, like the many other things that occasionally come forward around touchy topics such as the Maze is in reality a proposal by the de facto Government of DUP and Sinn Féin.

The other parties in the coalition of unequals, carp about any decision that DUP and Sinn Féin make, with the best that can ever be hoped for ‘a guarded welcome’.

This could cause one to become cynical, but then again there be an election ahead for the Assembly, not to mention the forthcoming UUP leadership contest.

Would it be too much to hope for that once next year’s elections are concluded, everyone will just get along, get some work done, and come up with actual decisions? Probably too much to hope for, but as Jon Bon Jovi said, if you’re living on a prayer, you’re halfway there…