How’s the “Social Investment Fund” coming along?
A product of a bizarre power grab by the DUP and Sinn Fein, who placed responsibility for it with OFMDFM despite its complete unsuitability for the purpose, the “Social Investment Fund” has been a disaster. You will struggle to find anyone who disagrees.
So it is not as if we were not warned. The DUP and Sinn Fein govern together for one purpose and one purpose alone – the accumulation of more power and the patronage that goes with it.
That the Ulster Unionists engage in electoral pacts with the DUP and that the SDLP agrees with Sinn Fein on almost everything merely enables this accumulation of power to go on unchallenged – what exactly are the Ulster Unionists and SDLP for if it is not to oppose them with all their might, and to challenge them at every single election and on every single issue? And as for the NIO meekly allowing all this to happen…
The latest power grab – the placing of planning power in enterprise zones directly with the Department of the Environment, er, sorry, no with the Department of Finance and Personnel, er, sorry, no, with the Department of Enterprise, er, sorry, no, ah, yes, with OFMDFM, merely backs up this accumulation of power.
Since the DUP and Sinn Fein don’t agree on anything other than the desirability of accumulating power for its own sake, there is no chance that this power will be used to any great effect. On the contrary, it will simply mean that every significant economic planning application will be placed in the barrel – alongside the A5, Welfare Reform, Transforming Your Care, the Victims Commission, the Maze Development and so on – to be determined almost at random some time in the next decade (perhaps).
It’s a farce and an outrage, but it does not surprise me about the DUP or Sinn Fein one bit. What does surprise (and, frankly, annoy) me is that everyone else is acting all astonished. This has happened before and it will happen again. The rest of us, outside the DUP’s and Sinn Fein’s cosy carve-up, have to grasp now what is going on. These are not reasonable parties leading us towards a utopian shared future. They are power dividers who care only for themselves in present, not for the rest of us in the future.
They may live to regret it practically, of course, given OFMDFM’s record of complete inaction on everything.
Meanwhile, the rest of us need to stop endorsing this cosy carve-up by not voting, by feigning disinterest or by dividing ourselves up into ever smaller parties and pressure groups. We need instead to stand up united for democracy. There is just a chance, given how obvious this latest power grab is, that that is exactly what will happen – let us hope the DUP and Sinn Fein come to regret strategically as well this as an even more blatant example of pure power accumulation.