Indulging in hobby-horses is bad for our health
What a lovely double-act from the DUP's Nelson McCausland and Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams - celebrating £20m for promoting the Irish language, £8m for a 'fledgling Gaeltacht Quarter' in west Belfast and a further £5m for promoting Ulster Scots.
It appears they're likely to burst into song about how Gordon Brown just loves the pair of them so much that he won't even look to see out of which pocket this £33m is coming.
Does anyone really believe that this not inconsiderable sum comes from a treasure trove stored under the stairs in No 10? Better still, does anyone think this will have no negative impact on the Executive's budget?
Well, just in case one hasn't noticed, the same Gordon Brown has already decreed that he wants the Executive to cut:
£113.5m from Health
£80.5m from Regional Development
£73.7m from Education
£30.3m from Social Development
£28.7m from Employment & Learning
£25.9m from Culture
£11.2m from Enterprise
£10m from Agriculture, and
£19.4m from OFMDFM, Finance and the Environment.
Now I don't know about you, but I would rather see any spare money going into better healthcare, better education and better support for the underprivileged, than as a bribe to Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Let's view it in the light of the current financial position. In December 2009 alone, the UK had an £11.5bn public sector deficit taking the country's overall public sector net debt to £740.6bn - up £143.7bn. The forecast borrowing for 2009/2010 is £178bn.
You, your children and their children will have to pay that back plus the interim interest. What do you think we should keep strong?
Should it be our hospitals, schools, universities and industrial training? Or would we really be better off indulging a handful of pampered people who may, if it's subsidised, learn to speak Irish or Ulster Scots?
THE LORD MAGINNIS OF DRUMGLASS