Well, in a move which will have shocked no regular reader of this blog, we’re not getting a corporation tax reduction in Northern Ireland alone. Until late 2014, officially. Ever, really.
Lots of people express amazement at this. Some politicians attack other politicians. Some businesspeople attack other businesspeople. Lots of businesspeople attack all politicians. Ultimately, the political reality that it was never going to happen from mid-2011 onwards is well rehearsed on these pages. However, there is an even simpler fundamental: politicians (and thus all of us, for we elect them or allow them to be elected) are not serious about re-balancing the economy.
Sure, they talk a good game. Oh yes, of course it’s important to invest in skills, and cut red tape, and focus on STEM subjects. Any politician will soon trot those out (and be lauded as a “breath of fresh air” as he/she does so). But there’s no real plan. In the challenge to prioritise jobs or flags, tell me, which won?
NI politicians aren’t serious about the economy because they get a 10 billion present from the South of England every year. UK politicians aren’t even that serious because they reckon they can fool the electorate into believing we can simply borrow from our grandchildren forever. Northern Ireland does live beyond its means – already it spent more than it raised and, in the past five years alone, spending has risen 25% and revenue only 3%! Yet here’s the real problem – actually, England lives beyond its means too! It would be fine if that evil George Osborne were slashing the debt – but in fact he’s growing it…
No, we’re not serious about the economy – it’s much easier to pretend there are some evil rich people hoarding it all or some evil immigrants taking it all than deal with the fact that the vast majority of us have more spent on us than we contribute in tax revenue. God bless our grandchildren, eh?