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to not understand why this can happen? (N.Ireland welfare reform)

(13 Posts)
PandaFeet Sun 16-Mar-14 22:48:55

I have read this article (BBC link).

I don't understand why it is fair for NI to essentially be held to ransom over welfare reforms that have been brought about by a government that we cannot vote for or against. We have elected representatives in Westminster but our "votes" have no affect on who is in power.

The Assembly that we do vote for are not happy with the effects that these reforms will have over here, and because they wont pass the bill, they are being penalised to the tune of £5m per month since Jan 2014.

I realise we get the block grant, but surely welfare should be devolved? And that is why our Assembly must pass the bill? But if we are being penalised for not passing the bill, then are the powers really devolved?

Am I missing a really important thing here? Its late and I am tired, so I realise I probably am.

WooWooOwl Sun 16-Mar-14 22:55:52

I don't really understand it either, but I can't see any reason why NI should be immune to the the cuts that have had to be faced by the rest of the UK.

evelynj Sun 16-Mar-14 23:04:47

NI politics completely baffle me.

I moved back here 2 years ago after 15 years of living in England & really need to get clued up, (shamefully never taken any interest in politics) but the whole involvement and lack of with the rest of the UK is weird. This seems ridiculous as 'they're' between a rock and a hard place so someone just needs to make a decision right?

treaclesoda Sun 16-Mar-14 23:08:48

On a slightly different, but related note, it used to be the case that you couldn't be a member of the UK Labour party if you lived in Northern Ireland, it took a court challenge relatively recently to change that, as far as I know. Yet, they were the ruling party of the UK, therefore we were ruled by a government who we couldn't even vote for. That was weird in a democracy.

treaclesoda Sun 16-Mar-14 23:10:30

Oh, and by not be a member, I also should have specified that they didn't stand in elections here either.

In any case, it was an unusual situation that doesn't exist elsewhere in the UK.

PandaFeet Sun 16-Mar-14 23:12:03

Yes a decision needs to be made. There have already been some changes to the bill agreed by Westminster.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't WooWoo hmm just that if our representatives are forseeing issues with the bill, why is the power effectively being taken out of their hands?

It seems like a very underhand tactic being used to force them into making a decision they are not happy with. It is bullying.

PandaFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 01:11:04

So basically, we don't have a say about who is in charge of the UK, and the people we are allowed to vote in to represent us don't have a say in how our country deals with these issues.


DioneTheDiabolist Mon 17-Mar-14 01:38:41

Panda, I am from NI. My view is that we pay MLA salaries in order to keep them off the streets and stop them causing trouble.

They are politicians. They are not like real people. They don't care. Their priorities are: self, family, party, lobbyists, then electorate. with electorate being of almost no consequence.

I'm sorry if democracy sold you the lie that people can vote to make a difference. You were conned. Our politicians get money. If they play it right they and their dynasties family get money and a bit of power. We get neither.

I think it's sadder given how much we really believed at the time of the GFA.sad

Disclaimer: my prejudice is professional politicians. But it is based on evidence.

PandaFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 01:51:00

But how is holding out and losing £5m a month going to benefit the MLAs?

I know they aren't solely concerned about the electorate. I just can't see how it benefits them to not make the decision.

And I can't understand how as a citizen of the UK, I can't vote for one of the main parties in Westminster.

tastingthestars Mon 17-Mar-14 02:13:03

Theoretically any of us located anywhere in the UK could, in a given election year, be unable to vote for the party that eventually takes power. There's no obligation for a seat to be contested by every party. I understand that for the Lib Dems and Labour it is party policy not to stand in NI, which removes any chance of being able to vote. It's easy to forget sometimes that we technically vote for specific MPs, not for a party or party leader.

To be honest the whole devolution issue is a mess. Until it's sorted out, and the West Lothian question is solved, it's frustrating for everyone. I appreciate it's more frustrating to feel unheard at the UK level, but still reform is needed of the system to try to increase equity across the four nations.

PandaFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 03:06:56

What we need then, is an Assembly for England, to match those in Scotland, Wales and NI. And then a Parliament that every person in every part of the UK gets to vote towards the overall party.

Is that the gist of it?

But what? Its too much money? Too expensive? Or too bothersome to hear from three other countries?

Gah. Heads exploding here. It makes me really angry.

I agree that the UK needs to be more equal. Pity is, WM only wants equality when it benefits them. There are a lot of things in NI that aren't equal to elsewhere.

MrsGeorgeMichael Mon 17-Mar-14 06:58:30

My understanding PandaFeet is that they are holding out because of the backlash of how the reforms have already affected UK. There is a train of thought that if they can "hold out" they will get there way......

Must admit when listening to the arguments for holding out i found myself not thinking "party lines" and agreeing with a party that i never imagined i could/would vote for - been an interesting internal debate!

big argument is that to vote for the changes will "cost" a lot more to the economy ie the fine is the lesser of 2 evils

well, that's how i understood it all

PandaFeet Mon 17-Mar-14 09:04:12

Yes Mrs I feel the same re party lines.

I actually do trust the Stormont Assembly, as much as anyone could trust a politician that is. But in general they seem to do ok, and certainly from what I have heard re their arguments for holding out, they do seem to be speaking up for the vulnerable.

I find WMs behaviour to be disgraceful though. Agree with us or we will fine you millions each month you don't. Ridiculous.

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