Friday, 19 April 2013

Eye on the Hill

Too many carbons
AS that esteemed political analyst and Top Gear presenter has said there are too many carbons, or as the more scientifically minded might say the rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may result in doom for the species.

Hyperbole aside, it is reassuring to know that Norn Iron is doing its bit to save the world; or as the green movement of the 80s might have said, thinking globally, acting locally.

This week the Assembly agreed to pass the draft Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Order 2013, a step to making Norn Iron more energy efficient.

The scheme will involve energy gobbling coming at a cost with the onus on government especially to stop its buildings bleeding energy, as if it were an infinite resource.

However, we do wonder will the energy efficiency tests be applied to the hotels ministers and officials use as they jet set around the world… or will that just be a carbons check too far?

But on a positive note, our environment Minister Alex Attwood has announced that solar panels for businesses, farms and schools no longer need planning permission…here comes the sun everyone!

The youth gone wild
THIS week the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry was doing much to trumpet his schemes designed to address youth unemployment.

However, no matter how much Dr Farry had hoped to address the issue of youth unemployment it remains the highest in the UK.

But more baffling is the assertion by the Minister that we invest more in youth unemployment – and the best solution so far is the ‘public sector’.

Dr Farry said in the Assembly: “…the private sector is not yet big enough to sustain this by itself and offer all the required work experience opportunities. Therefore, we need buy-in from the public sector and the community and voluntary sector.”

So, despite calls to reduce the size of the public sector from various parts of the Assembly, including Dr Farry’s ministerial colleagues, a Northern Ireland Executve Minister publicly admits that the public sector can get unemployed youths work experience.

Have we gone mad, or is it just that our Executive has more sides than a dodecahedron and twice as many opinions on any given matter...on reflection we’re not mad...

Just G8 Gr8
ISN’T it great that the G8 is coming to our wee country! Obama, Putin, and all their cronies will be dandering round the highways and byways of Co. Fermanagh, with their press entourages, plus a few protestors to boot.

Already the PSNI are drafting in extra help and warning of traffic disruption around airports and most of the region.

In the Assembly, Justice Minister David Ford sought to reassure members that all will be well; and that the £30m tab to police the event was being picked up by David Cameron; although not personally out of his bank account.

He did warn of mass protests, but the PSNI would seek to “facilitate” such protests.

That is a sight we can’t wait to behold. A crowd of PSNI officers and a crowd of protesters  “You go first!” “No, you go first!”

Learning the lessons from the flag protests and the summer rioting, we expect much more civilized protests. Facilitating rioting will mean that only approved riots will take place, and PSNI will ensure that the rioters are in place and ready with petrol bombs and assorted missiles, before the global media arrives for a few stylish shots.

Then a quick cut in the news reporting to one of the G8 ministers condemning the rioting but reminding us all that these global titans have solved all the world’s problems…apart from Norn Iron’s that is!

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