David Cameron, in interview with Paxo, has rather put his foot in his mouth and publically outed Northern Ireland and the North East of England as Soviet-like economies, almost totally reliant on state subvention.
I mean in Northern Ireland it is quite clear, almost every party I think accepts this – that the size of the state has got too big, we need a bigger private sector – David Cameron
Cameron’s visit to Northern Ireland on Monday [stop press: Mick Fealty is blogging that Cameron has pulled out of his visit on Monday with William Hague standing in] is likely to be as welcome as Boris Johnson’s visit to Liverpool – after he described it as wallowing in its victim status.
Cameron is, of course, correct when he asserts that Northern Ireland – with public spending accounting for 69% of GDP – is excessively dependent on the public purse. But then again, as Michael Crick pointed out on Newsnight tonight, Wales, Scotland and most of the North of England are little better. This is likely to cause a furore – locally and nationally. It’s the biggest indicator yet that the devolved block grants will take a pounding in the event of a Conservative victory. This is veritable manna from heaven for the DUP who are pitching themselves as able defenders of the Ulster budget.
It will be interesting to see how Sir Reg defends himself against the onslaught that is about to unfold. I suspect this may be the curtain-call for UCUNF. Expect rotten eggs.