Posted By: January 08, 2014

The long -time polical commentator lambasts the  Northern Ireland politicians



Brian Feeney. Irish News ( Belfast). Wendesday, January 8, 2014

Let’s set aside the failure of the Haass talks, predictable as that was. Much more serious is the poor standard of the people elected to Stormont,  which will guarantee political failure and a scandalous waste of money and resources yet again in 2014. It has been so since Adams and Paisley sat at the artfully angled tables for their news conference in March 2007. It’s not only that many of the assembly members in both the DUP and Sinn Fein are semi-literate, ungrammatical and often incoherent. In their case that simply confirms that they’re out of their depth and at a loss. It doesn’t have to be so. There are many examples of uneducated politicians who have been extremely effective: Gerry Fitt, Paddy Devlin, Frank Cluskey and Tommy Henderson to name a few. The current crop are useless because they came into politics without any ideas, plans, local schemes or projects to implement. Oh yes, there are plans they want to block but only because it’s the ‘other side’ proposing them so they must be bad. Unlike earlier,  real political figures who would have given their right arm for the opportunity these nonentities are passing up, none of the characters who are currently polishing the backsides of their suits at stormont entered politics with a burning desire, say, to reform housing, establish a development corporation for west Belfast or the Creggan, privatise public transport, abolish quangos.


Hate them or despise them, you have to admit George Osborne or Brendan Howlin have ideas. The only person who shows any attempt to press on with ideas and radical proposals is John O’Dowd but he’s not allowed to, because the DUP blocks any change,  not because of its merits or otherwise,  but simply because it’s Sinn Fein proposing it. Even within their own departments where they have scope to develop projects the local MLAs masquerading as ‘ministers’ just slide on a toboggan supplied by their civil servants and have their multitudinous press officers issue statements reporting the latest wheeze. It’s never part of a coherent plan because there isn’t one.


They’re merely following policies offered by the civil service.


All problems are pushed further down the plug-hole until now there is an enormous blockage. At present the executive’s failure to make a deal on the Conservatives’ welfare reforms is costing £5 million a month and may quadruple if no deal is struck before next year. Sinn Fein and the DUP insisted on a so-called social investment Fund now £80 million. They can’t agree how to spend it. They’ve wasted tens of millions on education: the transfer test mess, the non-existent education and skills Authority, the failure to rationalise schools to meet changing demography. What about the millions wasted on the  Nomadic white elephant? Nobody at stormont cares. The Brits keep sending the money. The Programme for what is laughingly called ‘Government’ is a dead letter. The DUP can simply discard any part of it they don’t like. Then there’s the obvious point. Have you ever heard of a ‘government’ which called in two outsiders to sit it down and tell it what to do? Are these the same Sinn Fein people who asked British officials in 1992 whether the British accepted that the Irish people have a right to self-determination? self-determination mar dhea.


Of course why should anyone care about the vast sums wasted when they’re silent on the £6-7 million spent policing the idiots at Twaddell[ the Loyalist/Unionist protest camp at Twaddell Ave, north Belfast] and their cheer-leading unionist politicians, or the £30 million odd spent policing parades last year? If they can’t agree on how to allocate money to the poorest in society why on earth did anyone imagine they could agree on contentious matters like flags and emblems?


Come to think of it, the very fact that the main parties devoted their longest ever face-to-face sessions since 2007 to discussing stuff which doesn’t affect the living standards of anyone here is testimony in itself to their failure as politicians. That was their priority in these times?


As long as the British treasury is prepared to shell out cash with no questions asked to sustain the artificial ‘economy’ here the folks on the hill will continue to waste taxpayer money.