Monday, 26 October 2009

Peter's u-turn moment

The news that the DUP have reneged on their promise to end double-jobbing comes as no surprise given their record of misleading people in previous elections. The rationale for the u-turn has raised a few eyebrows. Peter Robinson has put his decision down to considering “the extent to which the party organisation is able to provide us with the additional personalities to stand.” Peter, your party has never had a problem finding personalities, finding politicians, now that is another matter. To put the decision in context lets consider the case of Councillor Rev William McCrea MP MLA. No doubt with the news that he can continue to hold multiple jobs William is scouring the auction houses for walnut bookcases to match his walnut desk. Cllr Rev William McCrea MP MLA tells us that he spends 250 hours per month on Assembly business, given that an MP serving in a national Parliament should spend at least as much time as those in a devolved assembly on Parliamentary business, lets say he should be spending another 250 hours per month as MP. That’s 500 hours over 25 days giving him Sundays and two other days a month off (in Williams case he has another job for Sundays so he is not actually off). So that’s 20 hours a day William should be working (leaving out the fact that he also has to cover his role as Councillor). The truth is that it can’t be done and for unionism the sad fact is that it is the representation of the people of Northern Ireland in the national parliament that is suffering. Peter thinks it’s about the money, he is only partially right, greed is a factor. But it’s not the only issue. Many people across Northern Ireland are denied representation in national politics by abstentionist republican MPs. Many more are denied proper representation by almost abstentionist DUP MPs. At the time when republicans avoid Parliament then those elected for other parties by the people of Northern Ireland have a responsibility to be at Westminster more to ensure their voice is heard. The big issues of concern to the people of Northern Ireland such as taxation, pensions, Europe and the Barnett formula amongst others will be debated come the next Government. For the lack of a few “personalities” Peter Robinson will deny the people of Northern Ireland a voice. Where DUP candidates have double, triple or quadruple jobs lets make it clear there shall be no election of abstentionist DUP MP’s. The people have an opportunity to end this nonsense, it’s time for change.

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