Picture by toryscallywag
“There’s no more money!” If I had a quid for every time I’ve heard that from unionist politicians in recent months, I’d be a rich man. The repeated statement was usually directed at Sinn Féin, who the unionist politicians believed had added stupidity to stubbornness by refusing to acknowledge what was for them the fact: the British government simply didn’t have any more money to ease welfare cuts, here or anywhere else, so the sooner we got on with implementing them, the better. The DUP and the UUP are both democratic parties, in that they’ve been elected, not appointed. So it’s fair to assume they were speaking for their people, or perhaps educating their people (by that I mean those who voted for them) in emphasizing the need to face hard facts.
And now? Well who’da thunk it? The House of Lords, that unelected body, into which you get by dint of who your da was, or if you’re a Church of England bishop, or if you’ve been appointed a life peer – that is, been given a freebie – by the government of the day: this same House of Lords has stood up and said George Osborne and his smooth pal David Cameron really should not implement these cuts – they’ll hurt the most vulnerable in society.
Now where have I heard that before? Oh right – the Shinners were pushing that line which was brushed aside by the pragmatic unionist MLAs in Stormont. And wonder of wonders: no sooner are the words out of their mouth than George Osborne has said he’ll look at ways to ameliorate these cuts for the most vulnerable. In other words (pace the DUP/UUP) there is some more money.
Politics makes strange bed-fellows, but not in their wildest nightmares can Peter Robinson or Mike Nesbitt have imagined the House of Lords pulling back the duvet and hopping in there with the Shinners. But maybe as pragmatists, they’ll accept that they got it wrong and thank the Lords (and the Lord) for the money they insisted didn’t exist.