Posted By: October 06, 2014

Tom Kelly. Irish News ( Belfast). Monday, October 6, 2014.

THE Stormont circus is just one non-stop show but it's a performance where the
clowns have taken over and the joke is on us. When Peter Robinson said a few weeks
ago that the executive was not fit for purpose he made one hell of an
understatement. Then to add to the farce Gerry Adams (a man who struggles to
remember which legislature he is serving in) came out to say that Sinn Féin may pull
the plug on the Stormont regime. Now a second executive minister is taking an
executive colleague to court to overturn his decision on the Belfast Metropolitan
Area Plan, also known as BMAP. This follows on from the finance minister taking the
agriculture minister to court and an announcement from the justice minister that he
may resign if he doesn't get the necessary funds to run his department. Meanwhile
our dear leaders found the time to set aside their differences to attend the Ryder
Cup. Would either of them even know an eagle from a birdie? And then they have the
nerve to say that it's the media that paints politicians in a bad light.

What the SDLP, UUP and Alliance are doing serving in this toy town parliament is
beyond most of the electorate. They cling to power in the absence of a strategy and
by doing so they make fools of themselves and those who vote for them. As minority
parties, they have about as much power as the Romanian royal family. Has anyone in
those parties got the guts to say to their leaders enough is enough? Their ministers
could not tie their own shoe laces without a green light from the DUP and the SDLP
finds itself doubly moribund by constantly lurking in the shadow of Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin's refusal to sign up for welfare reform is reckless, immature and without
regard to the fallout it will create amongst those most in need when funding is cut
off and Northern Ireland finds itself in the red. This is banana republic economics
and it's high time that both north and south, that Sinn Fein were fought less on
their past and more on their economic credentials. The people who will bear the
brunt of their shameless pursuit of power in the Republic will be tens of thousands
of hard-working ordinary families in Northern Ireland trying to make ends meet by
doing a day's work, whilst the gravy train of political expenses just keeps rolling
into the coffers of Connolly House allowing senior party members to fly the world in
club class. And blaming the Tories just won't wash. Welfare reform is necessary in
order to ease the burden on hard-pressed taxpayers and to share benefits equitably
amongst those who most need it. Sinn Féin is trying to portray itself as the
champion of the economically disadvantaged but their actions are putting us all at
economic disadvantage if government grinds to a halt, closing businesses and losing
jobs. Contrary to the urban myth over 99 per cent of the private sector here is made
up of small businesses employing fewer that 50 people. The total employed by SMEs in
Northern Ireland is some 340,000, many of whom have jobs depending on our public
sector. Who is standing up for their jobs as government nears meltdown? If Sinn Féin
can't or won't sign up for welfare reform then they should leave government and
challenge those that do. The same goes for the SDLP - they have no power or point to
being in an administration where they can't even wag their own tail. In wider
political developments the secretary of state has finally remembered she has a role
to play and intends to convene talks but to what end? The parties are not even on
the same page about the content of the talks they are entering. Unionist bleatings
about the presence of the Irish government at the talks are a pointless exercise in
self flagellation because that train pulled out of the station in 1985 when the
Anglo Irish Agreement was signed. No doubt we will have talks and talks but
inevitably we will run out of time because the parties will be in campaign mode by
the new year. Watching last week's documentary by Peter Taylor, it's hard to be
hopeful about Northern Ireland. Yes we got peace but boy, what a booby prize was
Stormont as the price of it.