Last week the German Finance Minister poured scorn upon Alistair Darling’s 2.5% VAT cut, noting that it was an expensive and ineffective expedient, unlikely to get people spending. Nick Clegg believes the £12.5 billion which it costs would be better spent on direct employment through financing infrastructure. Conservatives argue that targeting National Insurance offers a more effective means to benefit business and get money into people’s pockets. Just about every expert on consumer trends in the UK has cast doubt on the likely efficacy of the government’s scheme.
So what does Nigel Dodds assess as a great benefit of DUP representation at Westminster? His party’s ability to wade in behind government in order to defend an expensive, ineffective, temporary sales tax cut, which will have to be paid back with interest, some time in the not so distant future. Perhaps the pressure of all those jobs Nigel is doing has effected his judgment. Maybe the prospect of adding European duties to his already bulging portfolio is starting to get to him.
The DUP’s independence might permit it to exercise questionable judgment to little effect, but Ulster Unionists intend to participate in the party of government. That will offer opportunities to make a genuine contribution and to shape policy, both for the benefit of Northern Ireland and the entire United Kingdom. (H/T Jeffrey Peel)