Monday, 21 May 2012

Dear John,

I hope you are well, and may I be the first to congratulate you on finding the extra £72m for education and all that you are responsible for. This is especially encouraging given that it was a just a few short months ago that you managed to find an extra £100m+ for education.

While we all note that you have warned us that there are tough times ahead for education, this extra money will be a boost to the poor teachers, over-stretched youth workers, early years staff and classroom assistants who all will be assuredly tugging their forelock in grateful appreciation at receiving your largesse.

That you were able to determine the level of need so quickly, once the money became available, demonstrates your immense grasp of complex problems, such as you have shown with your contribution to discussions on the vexatious issue of post-primary transfer.

May I also say that your efforts to prise open the notoriously tight wallet of Finance Minister Mr Sammy Wilson is worthy of a scene in the sequel to Oceans 13 – Stormont 15 – which Northern Ireland Screen should be commissioning shortly if you find your way to securing some more money.

I would also like to commend your sterling efforts in ‘efficiency savings’. Most efficient! To be able to squeeze such efficiencies when you still have five education and library boards and no education and skills authority in place is truly remarkable; especially given your statement in March on how many schools weren’t really viable and that you haven’t been able to close that many as of yet.

So, in congratulating you on being able to secure this extra £72m, can I ask is there any money to spare? Perhaps now that your pockets seem to be brimming with £50 and £20 pound notes you could see your way to…well you know where I am.

Yours sincerely,
Edwin Poots
Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety

P.S. Do you have some ‘story’ on Sammy that the rest of the Executive doesn’t know yet?
P.P.S. Remember our wee chat? When are we going to see creationism on the curriculum?
P.P.P.S. Can you send some of your finance people my way, as I need to close a few more hospitals and A&E services, but want to make it sound good.

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