Tuesday 10 November 2009

Kindergarten economics

The intellectual poverty of Northern Irish politics was well illustrated today by two almost simultaneous news releases.

Firstly, international consultants Ernst and Young released a highly negative report on the economic performance and prospects for Ireland, north and south. The report and its accompanying press release state that:

"The Island of Ireland economy will shrink by 6.7% in 2009 – revised down from 7.8% - with Northern Ireland (NI) experiencing the worst economic contraction on record for this period."

"A range of challenges remain which according to the forecast risk the possibility of a ‘double dip’ recession, with real recovery for both the Republic of Ireland (ROI) and NI still 12 -24 months away."

"NI decline has intensified since the spring forecast, contracting at its highest levels on record, with GDP forecast to decline by 4.3% in 2009 down from 2.9% in May."

"NI’s economic outlook has weakened on the back of disappointing labour market

Clearly such economic challenges demand a robust and mature response from the political system.

But the second news release shows just how far from maturity in economic issues some of Northern Ireland's political parties are. The TUV yesterday published the its conference speech on the economy. It was presented by a student, and contained precisely zero economic maturity – or even economic policy, beyond vague and meaningless chatter about a 'loyal economy' and a 'moral economy'. Some quotes:

"The TUV wants to work to develop the knowledge economy. On their website SF state ..."

"We will work to reduce the bureaucracy and red tape. We will work to develop meaningful infrastructure free from a warped political ideology. While Sinn Fein advance a system of roads to link Northern Ireland with the economically ravaged Republic of Ireland ..."

"Conference when it comes to the economy the TUV is the trusted and united voice for our Farmers, for our Fishermen, for our small businesses and for the PMS savers. Conference it is time to deliver for the Northern Ireland economy."

It seems that the TUV sees everything through Sinn Féin tinted glasses. They have no policies at all, and no ideas about what might, could or should be done to improve the quality of life for all in Northern Ireland.

One suggestion, illustrated nicely by a graph in the Ernst and Young report, is that Northern Ireland could loosen its ties with the UK, and reunite with the south. The TUV may think that it is "economically ravaged", but hard economic reality says otherwise. By 2020 the Gross Value Added (per capita) of the north will be barely half of the per capita GDP of the south:


hoboroad said...

Britain's AAA debt rating is the most at risk as it needs massive cuts in the public sector more than any other Nation.

Anonymous said...

What amazes me is why The Republic didn't apply to re-join The Union at some point before the '90s when it was dirt poor.

Mind you, half it's people did move there.

Dazzler said...

Because "The Republic" had been fighting for over 700 years to be free of England. There is'nt a snowballs chance in hell that Ireland will ever "re-join" the union.

bangordub said...

Nice to see you getting your teeth into this Horseman,
Also great comment over on Slugger earlier!
Well done

Anonymous said...

> half it's people moved there

In the 90s? I don't think so.