It’s surely an interesting aside that, had North Down a Conservative-aligned MP, there wouldn’t be the slighted chance of its coastguard station being closed by a Conservative-led government. Yet there is now no one in NI politics left to point that out. The party which should be doing so is the UUP – but they ran away from a good idea (direct linkage into UK politics) before time.
The same applies with its most recent pronouncements. They challenged Invest NI on relocation payments for a London-based legal firm’s on the grounds that the money isn’t for that – but then turned it into a highly questionable “NI jobs for NI workers” argument rather than raising the obvious queries about millions public money being handed out with no control as to exactly how it is spent.
Then, they came up with the idea of an Opposition at Stormont (as if this is a novel idea) but talked about creating one only for 2015. The idea has near unanimous public support (and, by the way, the support of the DUP and Alliance), so why wait? The UUP should be challenging Nationalists to support the idea right now (particularly as the SDLP wavers on the Budget), not allow for another four years of dysfunctional government.
The truth is the UUP frequently comes up with good ideas – but rarely has the coherence or discipline to follow up on them properly.
(As an aside, well done to John McCallister for following up on his Caravans Bill, and kudos to him for being one of the few on the Hill who has reflected on what the ‘L’ in MLA stands for!)