The below has been reposted from The Dissenter. This offers a really useful insight into Northern Ireland’s ‘Soviet style’ economy…
The posturing, positioning and indignant defiance over impending reduction in government expenditure is rife. But it is not just David Cameron who thinks Northern Ireland has a command economy that matches anything once boasted by the Soviet bloc.
In the rent-seeking economy of Northern Ireland, it is deemed politic to blame others for the withdrawal of funding across the economy. It is also an indictment of both the poverty of aspiration and lack of imagination among the political class.
Much of Northern Ireland government spending is decided in Whitehall, for example social security spend, or Europe, the bulk of DARD’s money pot. Much of the discussion will be placed on efficiency of Departmental administration of those funds. The range and scope of much of health expenditure is also directed from Whitehall, though there is a great deal of scope to review how that money is managed and spent. Similarly, education could be reviewed in the context of building and deepening academic excellence at all levels rather than political polemic. More importantly, as the political class seems increasing remote for the electorate, perhaps it is time to think how government could be devolved back to the individual. Northern Ireland government requires a total rethink.
The thinking has to start somewhere. thedissenter asked Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute for some basic pointers our politicians might take on board when considering ‘cuts’ in a wider dimension. Five questions in almost as many minutes. Eamonn is keynote speaker at the Agenda NI seminar Rethinking Government on 26th October at the Grosvenor House Conference Centre, Belfast. It will be interesting to hear how the politicians, social sector and business community respond to his thinking.
It is not time to cut government in Northern Ireland: it is time to take the opportunity to reinvent government in Northern Ireland.
Eamonn Bulter is Director and co-founder of Britain’s leading free-market policy think tank, the Adam Smith Institute, and a leading author and broadcaster on economics and social issues. Westminster insiders look forward each week to his wry online commentary on politics and politicians.