Friday, 4 March 2011

Well you can please some of the people...

THE old saying goes that you can please all of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all the time. And when it comes to Northern Ireland rest assured nobody is ever happy all of the time no matter how many times you try to please them.

And with so much at stake, you would have thought that the collective parties associated with this blighted and blessed patch of land would have brought together their wisdom, acumen and accumulated knowledge to bring home a budget to please at least some of the people, some of the time.

As they say in Belfast: “Aye right!” For those not fortunate enough to live in this most beautiful city, the phrase “Aye right!” represents more than a soupcon of sarcasm and a load of irony.

After the wrangling and bitterness surrounding the budget, it was finally agreed by the Executive yesterday (Thursday, 3 March) amid...wait for it...wrangling and bitterness.

Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson unveiled the budget plans with a degree of relish with plans for a special Assembly meeting today (Friday, 4 March). Now we are putting together this l’il old article ahead of the special Assembly meeting. And, it is without fear of contradiction that we can say there will be a certain amount of wrangling and bitterness.

This is also known as party politics, or electioneering.

Amazingly, for a man who proclaimed – and we paraphrase here – “we’re all doomed” a few short months ago, the Minister claims there now seems to be a wee bit of cash floating around the system.

Among those due for congratumalationwelldone accolades are the Land and Property Service, which apparently has gotten better at collecting our rates (local tax).

The result is that health and education are not quite as doomed as we thought. The Department of Employment and Learning is also getting some extra moolah. Pity the poor old Department of Social Development, which is losing £70m.

Of course, there are howls of disappointment and rants a plenty set for the coming months, but whether the Executive got it right, or whether the UUP and SDLP were right to vote against it at yesterday’s meeting of the Executive, we have a budget.

Now everyone gets to row about the detail and after the election fight about the Programme for Government.

Politics is such fun here. We can hardly contain ourselves!

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