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OUT OF TOUCH, OUT OF REACH, AND WAY OUT OF HOPE..

By David Vance On April 9th, 2012 at 11:14 am

Is anybody surprised about this?

“The Taxpayers Alliance requested a breakdown of spending on travel, hotel stays and sustenance between 2010 and 2011 in a freedom of information request to the Assembly.

Some of the most expensive trips taken by politicians and staff included a visit to Washington DC for St Patrick’s Day, which cost £6,243 for a hotel and flights, the group said.

Five MLAs and two staff visited Edinburgh and Brussels at a cost of over £9,000.

Meanwhile a two night stay in Brussels for a committee meeting, which included a stay at a “deluxe, four star hotel” ran up a bill of £7,427.

And another MLA and staff member had a £7,994 stay in Washington DC last year – the travel cost alone of the visit amounted to £6,728.

“Many people in NI feel the ruling elite is out of touch and out to milk taxpayers for as much as they can get,” the alliance said.”

Recession? These clowns could not run a circus but they know to spend our cash.

MICROCHIPPED DOGS….

By David Vance On April 8th, 2012 at 10:09 am

According to the Dogs Trust, Northern Ireland has more stray dogs than any other UK region.

But the Northern Ireland Executive has introduced a new law that comes into force on Easter Monday. All dogs in Northern Ireland will have to be microchipped when their licence is renewed.  “I think it’ll make a big difference to dog wardens,” said Nicola.

I bet. Probably a good idea, I cannot understand why anyone would abandon a dog, atrocious behaviour. That said, mandatory micro-chipping of every dog does have vague Orwellianism about it. And the NI Executive seems to like imposing itself.

THE NEW TONY BLAIR AND I!

By David Vance On April 6th, 2012 at 9:30 am

Meet Mike Nesbitt, the new leader of the UUP!  Mike models himself on Tony Blair, the early years.As you can see the job does have some advantages. However it also has a down side. Me.

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson (left) congraulates Mike Nesbitt on his election with his wife Lynda Bryans looking on.

Last night, I took part in a TV show pilot and Mike was one of the guests. I got to question him over his 24 hour “living with the common people” stunt. As I said – and I thought this was a good line – this gimmick is like crime in a multi storey car park, it’s wrong on so many levels. Yes, it IS patronising but also disturbing. WHY, with almost 100 Councillors and more than a dozen MLA’s does he not know about the needs of people in disadvantaged areas? He was asked what he learnt from this – he would not say. He was asked what his new policy was going to be – he had no answer. He suggested he would raise the minimum wage but he didn’t know how by much or to what or where this would be funded from. Nor could be explain how a Party with one Minister could force such change when it is not within their gift.

Don’t think Mike appreciated my questions as he asked me “to reveal my party allegiance”! As you know, I am not a member of any political party! He then called me a failed politician.  I disagree. I was a very successful politician because I figured out that the lust for power is not one that I wanted to pursue at any price. Mike knows better, of course. Don’ t think the audience rated his performance really.

THE POWER OF SOCIAL NETWORKING!

By David Vance On April 4th, 2012 at 9:14 am

You will recall my post on ICELAND yesterday. Well, today the story is making much bigger news!

“Angry customers have complained that a competition to win party food to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is not being publicised “openly” in Iceland stores in Northern Ireland – unlike on the mainland.

On Monday, London-based solicitor Simon McIlwaine sent a letter to the chief executive of Iceland – on behalf of a number of Ulster shoppers – threatening legal action if the matter is not resolved.

Mr McIlwaine said while Ulster stores were initially excluded from the competition, in favour of a two-minute trolley dash, the situation changed last Saturday.

“What has happened subsequently on Facebook is that Iceland have said they have changed the rules and residents in Northern Ireland can now apply and enter the competition,” he said.

“But we understand they have to email for a code and get the code to enter the competition. The nub of the current complaint is this: it would appear that on the mainland, promotional literature is given out enabling people to enrol in the competition. The question is, how are the customers in Northern Ireland to hear about the competition if promotional literature is not being made available in the store?”

I see that DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has now joined in the fray, my but there is nothing like an on the ball politician. Iceland has a very nice store in Lisburn, the major city in his constituency.  Has he been in to visit it yet?  This story will keep on rolling until Iceland ensure that their customers in Northern Ireland are treated in exactly the same way as those elsewhere.

THE COWARDICE OF GOVERNMENT

By David Vance On April 4th, 2012 at 9:01 am

We live in an age of austerity. This means in effect  that those in the private sector take wage cuts, work longer for less money, and most do not have anything like  adequate pension provision. They will be working well into their 70’s. And as for the State workers…those folks who earn 28% more than the Private sector workers? Well….

More than 40,000 local government workers will not have to contribute more into their pension fund, the Environment Minister has announced. Alex Attwood said that the 44,000 workers will be exempted from hikes in public sector pensions, which take effect from this month. Local government workers who will benefit are typically the lowest-paid public service employees — including bus drivers, refuse collectors, classroom assistants and school catering assistants.

Could the silver tongued Minister please advise where the cash is coming from to sustain the pension provision for these people since it is not evidently going to come from them? As I pointed out yesterday, public sector pensions offer up to 20 times more than what is paid into them by our hard pressed State colleagues. So, I repeat. Where is the cash coming from, Minister?

(It’s a rhetorical question, of course, since there is only one place the shortfall can come from. Me and you, the poor sods working in the wealth generating sector being bleed to death in order to keep “the lowest paid public service (sic) employees in the pension style to which they have become accustomed)

SUPERGRASS SCANDAL

By David Vance On March 28th, 2012 at 8:18 am

I have to say that I am disgusted at the waste of around £10m by the PSNI in a futile criminal case.

The PSNI spent more than £4m on the first so-called supergrass trial here for more than 25 years. (With legal costs and associated additional costs this is estimated at coming out at circa £10m)

Twelve men were acquitted of all charges against them after a judge said the two main prosecution witnesses were liars and “ruthless terrorists”. Details of the costs have been revealed in a letter to the justice committee at Stormont. Their trial is expected to be one of the most expensive ever held in Northern Ireland. It relied on the evidence of so-called supergrasses, Robert and Ian Stewart. Nine men involved in the UVF supergrass trial were acquitted of the murder of UDA leader Tommy English.They included the alleged former UVF leader in north Belfast Mark Haddock.

As you know, I despise the UVF and would love to see them ALL behind bars BUT the gross incompetency of the PSNI and the parasitical indulgence of our local legal profession has set the taxpayer back this vast sum and someone should be sacked as a result. Just as disturbing as this case has been, I note that the Attorney General has not ruled out FUTURE Supergrass trials. It’s criminal that so much of our cash can be wasted in this way!

A REASONABLE PROPOSITION

By David Vance On March 24th, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Owen Paterson's comments were confirmed by the Treasury on Thursday

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Owen Patterson once again shows his superior understanding of economics compared to the Lilliputian Finance Minister Sammy “More Milton Keynes than Milton Friedman” Wilson

“Northern Ireland will be able to keep any cash saved by introducing regional pay rates for civil servants employed by Stormont departments, the Treasury has said. The statement confirms what Owen Paterson said in Thursday’s Belfast Telegraph — but contradicts Finance Minster Sammy Wilson’s claims that all the money saved would be sucked out of Northern Ireland’s economy.

If the proposals — which aim to reflect the different costs of living across the UK — go ahead, it will mean pay freezes for staff in areas where there is a large pay differential with the private sector. With civil servants here paid 12.3% more on average than those in the private sector, Northern Ireland’s pay “premium” is well above the UK average of 8.3%, Treasury documents revealed on Thursday.”

The Secretary of State exhibits superhuman tolerance when dealing with the witterings of Wilson.  Allowing the Executive to retain savings made means this could be reinvested in helping the growth of the private sector – our only source of future prosperity. If private sector salaries then grow, it follows the re-balanced public sector recompense would grow. And THAT is the way it should be.

 

OH BOY, DANNY

By David Vance On March 23rd, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Local Councillors can always be relied upon when it comes to effectively dealing with the big issues.  

“The notion of playing ‘Danny Boy’ over a loudspeaker every day at lunchtime in Limavady has been dismissed as an early April Fool’s day joke. However, the proposal, made by Sinn Féin councillor Anne Brolly, which floated the possibility of the world famous song being played on a daily basis, appears to be gaining momentum at official level. While Limavady Borough Council has agreed to investigate the costs of a loudspeaker system, Ms Brolly contends that playing different versions of Jane Ross’s tune, also known as the Londonderry Air, would draw attention to Limavady as the birthplace of the 157-year-old tune.”

It would also, dare I suggest, draw attention to the lunacy that pervades the local Council chamber. 

SPIDERMAN VERSUS EDWIN POOTS

By David Vance On March 21st, 2012 at 8:46 pm

“With great power comes great responsibility”

“With great power comes no responsibility”

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL…

By David Vance On March 21st, 2012 at 9:05 am

Good news! Northern Ireland’s MPs would have their wages cut under a proposal to expand changes to public sector pay.

Liberal Democrat John Pugh said the shake-up, which would see pay set locally rather than nationally, should include MPs. This would likely lead to a pay cut for Northern Ireland’s 18 Westminster representatives, reflecting the gap between public and private sector wages in the province.

With that gap between public and private sector being just over  40% the sooner MP’s here are brought into line the better. Don’t you agree?