Friday, 10 June 2011

Are the Ulster Unionists written off?

EVERY good thing must come to an end: that fine glass of Beaujolais, that exquisite steak, or that wondrous dessert the local lodge prepared.

But Mr Tom Elliott is hoping that he will not be savouring the end of the UUP, but rather a hearty repast before mounting a resurgence.

Last week at the UUP AGM Mr Elliott said that after just nine months in charge and one relatively disastrous election it was time to look at candidate selection and generally sort out the mess.

However, rather curiously he did admit there was division in the party, but that members should present a united front.

Now, analyse that for a wee while. We’re rowing, but as long as the neighbours don’t call the cops it will be okay...

The party has taken a hammering and as yet has failed to emerge the other side. If there is dissension within, surely a strong leadership would simply kick it out?

Oh, but then again kick too many out and what are you left with...

Bout ye David!

ACCORDED the honour of addressing the Norn Iron Assembly Prime Minister David Cameron gently chided the assembled MLAs that they needed to get on with getting on as he explained what ‘bread and butter’ politics really are.

It was a little like the public school headmaster telling assembled pupils that they needed to get their priorities straight.

There was, no doubt, straight talking in Stormont Castle when Cameron and attendant puppy Paterson met Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson. Such straight talking, we are led to believe included: “Look David, you’ll have an extra wee bun whether you like it or not!” Another example was “David, What actually are you doing here?”

And it is that latter question that is perhaps most pertinent one. Was there a clear goal behind the visit? There’s no election in the offing, the edifice of powers-sharing is relatively stable and there was no international media in attendance.

Then it came to us – he was trying to avoid a very public spat with Archbishop of Cantebury Dr Rowan Williams, and mulling over whether the Lords Templar should vote to get rid of the Lords Spirtual?

Monday, 6 June 2011

Largesse dispensed

WHO gave the new ministers a cheque-book? Health Minister Edwin Poots throws open the doors and announces that Altangelvin hospital in Derry/Londonderry will have a radiotherapy unit. Then Roads Minister Danny Kennedy announces a West Link upgrade for Belfast.

It seems in the run-up to the summer recess the MLAs are determined to be nice to everyone.

But we fear within this velvet glove are a set of knuckle dusters, and hidden in the folder is a cleaver sharpened and ready for cuts.

For, former Chief Examiner of ‘A’ Level Economics, and current Minister for Finance Sammy Wilson seemed pretty sure that we need to cut our cloth in these tough times to match a shrinking budget.

Which sort of means that all these nice new shiny announcements will be paid for by slashed services?

Whether we like it or not the books have to balance and harsh decisions will have to be taken.