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Thursday, 18 March 2010

War of Attrition meets War of Aggression

War of Attrition
Michael O'Leary's great Cheltenham performer is set to star on the big stage again at this year's festival. While facing stiff competition and the weakness of advancing age, War of Attrition has delivered in the past and has little left to prove.
As they return from meeting with President Obama on St Patrick's Day, the name of this superb horse is a reminder to the First Ministers in Northern Ireland of the short-term and longer-term pressures they will face in reviving our structurally untenable, long-neglected and currently weakening economy.

Devolution
To the relief of most citizens, the Hillsborough agreement is fully in place and "normal" politics can begin to operate in this region for the benefit of all its people.
That is, the politicians - all of them - must now take responsibility and address the true economic realities facing Northern Ireland.
The War of Attrition against the economic wellbeing of the population arguably started with the havoc of the Troubles. While structural effects have since been repaired and the reputational damage is fading, the legacy is an unbalanced, dependent, essentially insolvent economy with a relatively weak private sector.

Denial
Up to now, despite repeated warnings by economists and commentators, politicians and people have either occupied themselves by focusing on partisan political posturing or thanks to the credit, property and retail boom, underpinned by seemingly reckless government generosity, deluded themselves that life would continue to be financially OK.
But while these delusional diversions should be all over now, denial is still widespread and evident throughout our society. The war of attrition still threatens.

War of Aggression
There is an urgent need to create a completely new paradigm for action to meet this war of attrition facing our economy. Our current approaches, including the Barnett report even if it were fully implemented, only scratch the surface.
The war is real and demands a War of Aggression in response. The First Ministers must give a lead.

Betting
100/1 against the First Ministers and Executive leading the creation of a new War of Aggression initiative.
200/1 against an initiative reaching a conclusion within 2010.
300/1 against a material initiative being implemented by 2012
400/1 against "War of Aggression" ever happening

Sadly, on past form War of Attrition looks like the bet!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't argue with this Will. But again we are strong on what's wrong and the need for action.. but light on the actual "how" to do it. Pointing out the issues and calling for change is the easy bit...have you a view on actual actions that should be taken to deliver our Nirvana?
Anonnimouse

Will said...

Yes mouse, what is wrong is clear, what needs to be done is also clear to plenty of people. There are a number of options that have been spelt out before. The will to take action and face the hard choices is the missing bit. Why is there no urgency to make a start?
First Ministers are paid to make first moves!

Ciaran said...

Can I add another few bets:

5/2 that DETI will commence a consultation on the "war of aggression" and 5/4 that the results will be published in Irish, Ulster Scots and also English.

Anonymous said...

You really think an attempt to plan the economy can work?Command economies have a dismal record. Even the Chinese had to loosen the controls. I'm not sure this economy will make it. Too few Almacs and Randoxs , too many "me too" businesses, too many smart people still leaving (not enough good employers to stay for), leaving too many thick people to scrounge on bloated benefits etc etc
anonnimouse

Will said...

I'm certainly not going to bet against Ciaran! He's on the money. And Mouse, I don't suggest a "command" economy. What about a "cutting costs" ie benefits economy; a "creating wealth" ie incentivised private sector led economy; a "work hard" economy, not an economy where a 50 year old able-bodied man can go on National TV and rant that "I am not going to work for £8 an hour when I can get more on benefits!" What's wrong with £8 an hour?
And Mouse, you are right; if something isn't done soon to fix all this our economy is banjaxed.

Anonymous said...

Ok, we're moving. So what ACTIONS are needed?

To incentivise, is it reform of regional tax system ? Is it loans not grants?

Work hard economy: is this a devolution of the benefits system? If this were to happen do you think a leftish assembly would cut hard and fast ? Or do we need conservative government to get cracking on this ?

Our industrial structure is badly skewed to sunset and me too businesses- how do we get the new ones? A new tax regime may help FDI, but how do we get spinouts from existing businesses and how do we turn the universities into real rather that theoritical incubators???

Anonnimouse

Will said...

No Mouse, a bit of banter and chitchat on the blog, while entertaining, doesn't get anything moving. Nor will anything move here until the ACTION I have suggested takes place. ie that the First Ministers own the problem and have the steel to deal with the issues you rightly point out. And I and others could add to the list.
Hey, but who is asking you or me??!!
Why don't you buy me a coffee sometime and we could hatch a dastardly plot!

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