The Northern Ireland Assembly has only been reinstated for 2 days and already they’re demonstrating the benefits of devolution – benefits that we English are being denied by the anti-English, British establishment.
There is, of course, the “peace dividend” – a large pot of cash that the Tartan Taxman kindly donated from English taxes to sweeten the power-sharing deal. Then there was the promise that water meters wouldn’t be introduced if power-sharing went ahead – NI remains on a water rates system which means they can use as much water as they want for the same flat fee.
The pope, the Queen and George Bush have all gushed about how wonderful it is that NI has gotten its own government back again and the province has made headlines all over the world.
The European Commission has announced that it is setting up a new taskforce to see how Northern Ireland can maximise its share of EU funding and pledged £600m for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic counties on the border.
Re-opening Stormont for business is set to create a further 180 jobs in the short term in Assembly support staff. More will follow as the workload ramps up.
These are just the immediate financial benefits – there is the additional benefit that the Northern Irish people will now be governed mostly by MLAs that they have elected to govern their province. MPs from England, Scotland and Wales will no longer have a say in the day-to-day running of Northern Ireland and most of the money spent on Northern Ireland will now be spent by people interested in what is good for Northern Irleand, not the whole of the UK.
Giving devolution back to Northern Ireland without any thought for what the English want is a deep insult and may well be the straw that breaks the camels back. How can the union continue to function when state-sponsored racism and discrimination is an integral part of the fabric of the British government?