12 Jan

A Wry Eye – What do we do when we have no government?

When the politics fails who keeps the country running? Who sets the budget? Who follows through on policies? Who takes the crucial decisions?

It would appear that the political malaise afflicting Northern Ireland is not unique to our ‘wee country’. Germany too has been unable to form a government after its not so recent election.

You are welcome Germany to share our difficulties. They are not really worth sharing, but you are very welcome.

Of course, there is a slight difference. In the ‘Bundesrepublik’, they installed a caretaker government to maintain the workings of state. Here, any caretakers are sweeping up the debris of rancour and mud-slinging.

And, the only potential caretaker is the new Secretary of State, Karen Bradley. After facing the problems of dealing with Murdoch’s media empire she should be able to crack NI.

While Mrs Bradley’s appointment was necessary with James Brokenshire facing surgery, one imagines that she must be thinking “why me?”.

Faced with imminent financial decisions around the Stormont budget, and the fallout from Sinn Féin MP Barry McElduff’s ill-judged video post, Mrs Bradley must be wishing she had Angela Merkel’s problems.

Her briefing papers from Northern Ireland Office civil servants will have made sobering reading.

Basically they would have read: they hate each other, they agree on nothing, there is an inquiry into a properly botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme and public services are crumbling. Oh, and there is no budget in place yet for the new financial year.

At least we have some good pubs and restaurants to distract Mrs Bradley from the chaos.

And, we also have Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen posting a video of herself sitting on the Lord Mayor of Belfast’s ceremonial chair, having just learnt that she is to face trial on an alleged hate speech she made in the city.

No matter the problems, tribulations and chaos, we will endeavour to keep the new Secretary of State entertained.

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