Anybody who knows me is well aware that I am no fan of DUP politicians.
However, sometimes, some of them deserve support. One such politician is Sammy Wilson, a politician that I criticised when he was Environmental Minister.
Since his appointment as Finance Minister, he has become much more settled, consistent and pragmatic. His approach to public spending has been hawkish. He has been robust in challenging the spending of other departments. No political party, including his own, escapes his intrusion. Yes, he has given Peter Robinson a headache over his criticism for postponing water rates. But he is doing his duty.
In today’s Belfast Telegraph, Wilson sets the scene for the impending spending cuts. Sinn Fein has criticised him for not doing more to resist the cuts. Wilson has responded firmly and realistically. He says:
“…there is no sympathy at the Treasury for the argument that Northern Ireland is a special case”
He is right to say that.
The Centre Right has long acknowledged that Governments have a duty to balance their obligation to provide public services with that of raising revenue fairly in circumstances where there is no excessive borrowing or prejudice to the prospects for a stronger economy. Furthermore, when an economy is going through difficulty, the long-term health and prospects for the economy are paramount.
Mr. Wilson appears to be a lone beacon of those principles within the Executive. The time has now come to get behind him.