In a post last week I asked how it could be that the current Executive was silent on the subject of budget cuts. And now Sammy Wilson has finally got round to sitting down with a few civil servants who have told him that such cuts are inevitable.
The sheer incompetence and mismanagement being exhibited by the Executive is jaw-dropping. Jumped-up “Ministers” swagger around in their ministerial limos completely disassociated from real-world government logic. But now the truth must be dawning on the Northern Ireland electorate that most of the people they have elected and put into office are systematically useless.
And why are they useless? Because they have little or no skills required to govern – and because most of them have been so immersed in sectarian bickering that they have lost the ability to think about and resolve real world problems like balancing budgets.
The DUP, for example, made election commitments to defer water charges. Why? It makes no practical sense to defer charges for services that are provided and infrastructure that’s needed. Now, given the monstrous hole in the budget, it’s becoming clear that water charges are back on the table. And so they should be. They should have been on the table during election time. But so intent were lazy politicians to get elected they promised anything. They duped the electorate. Because I’ll bet you this – I’ll bet that no-one in the DUP actually sat down and did the sums. I’ll bet that no-one actually asked the question, “What will the consequences be of us deferring these charges on the rest of the budget?”
Now, of course, we’re in a deep recession. Our workforce is heavily dependent on the public purse for employment – as are other less developed regions of the UK. Whatever government is elected next year will commit to significant and deep public spending cuts – and that will affect the block grant.
Therefore, a major structural root and branch review of our budget is required – not merely adding water charges back on the table. Oh and that review should also address whether there is any demand for the devolution of policing and justice – given the fact that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg.
Northern Ireland is facing a major crisis. Something needs to be done – but one thing’s for sure. Sammy Wilson is not the solution.