The ongoing impasse over seeking a budget at Stormont has come to an unequivocal head. For anyone who has railed that the Executive achieves nothing events today may have cast some light.
The inability to agree a budget (on shorthand to agree benefit cuts), has resulted in the Executive needing to find cost savings, as one might euphemistically put it. A contract for gulley clearing gone, job cuts in the Derry tax office and presumably a lot more to come.
All this feels very American. Shut down the federal government, resolve the issues. It isn’t though. Everyone involved knew the stakes.SF could hardly have expected the UK Treasury to back down.
There are explanations aplenty. Perhaps SF believe that the welfare cuts have an unfair, disproportionate affect on the most vulnerable. They’d be right.
Perhaps they believe that Westminster might get the blame. I’d say that argument would break down along almost the most expected lines.
I think there’s a third option. It combines the two a bit, an individual’s viewpoint might blame Westminster, or not seek to blame the disadvantaged. Either way they would not blame SF. Perfect.
What’s the advantage? If Stormont los ineffectual that works in Connolly House favour. That’s a given. But what about the massed ranks of civil servants, at least some of whom doing jobs duplicating UK work (hello DVA Coleraine) or the rest replicating the Irish Civil Service somehow? Well, if you can convince George Osborne to fire all them, you’ve just removed a fairly central argument against unification
“what about all the civil servants who’d be out of a job?” loses a lot of sting when the jobs are already gone.
I believe this is all much too fanciful, and strategic, to be taken seriously.I agree. It does however give us a glimpse into an as yet unwritten future I think.