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‘Emergency’ budget? Time for some emergency blogging...

The government delivering the budget are happy to say that it’s not part of an ideological battle, that it’s really about balancing the books.

Perhaps... but bloggers are more than happy to view the budget primarily in ideological terms. It’s getting a bit tasty.

Take Burke’s Corner . This blogger is fashioning himself as the local scourge of the Left. Employing a football simile (why not? It’s the World Cup after all), this blogger has emerged as a political equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo ie. he’s a mercurial right-wing solo artist.

Burke’s Corner considers the two big figures emerging from Tuesday’s announcement: 1,607 and zero. Confused? Burke’s Corner explains: “1,607 words. That was Harriet Harman's response to George Osborne's budget speech... So, in her 1,607 words on the budget, what ideas did Harman offer to address this wreckage. What proposals did she offer to reduce the deficit? None. Nothing.”

Extending the simile (to breaking point?), Conor Ryan at Conor’s Commentary does a Ryan Giggs ie. performs an effective attack role coming in from the Left.

For Conor – an ex-advisor to Tony Blair and David Blunkett – “the complete absence of any growth or jobs strategy” from the Coalition government was “the most worrying thing of all”.

The budget, taken in tandem with the “bizarre package of job cuts” in Sheffield and in youth job programmes, shows a strange set of priorities, says Conor.

Elsewhere, Brian Walker reckons at Slugger O’Toole that this budget “was not as severe as it might have been”. His assessment is that there will be a “deflationary effect on NI”.

“This means real progress on strengthening the private sector must not be delayed. But it will cost public money. Are moves to align corporation tax with the Republic finally dead?” he asks.

It’s a good question, and one that’s no doubt uppermost in the minds of party leaders.

Sure, Tuesday’s ‘emergency budget’ was capturing headlines but Ultonia noted that this was to the detriment of that “other emergency”.

“While attention was focused on the emergency budget, the name today was released of the 300th British soldier to die as a result of the Afghanistan campaign. He was Marine Richard Hollington, 23, of Petersfield, Hampshire... As the preparations for Armed Forces Day begin in earnest it is clear our troops in Afghanistan need not only our appreciation but a strategy to ensure the sacrifices achieve something meaningful,” he blogs.

Elsewhere, Graeme McDowell provided the other big local story this week. And while Graeme gets global plaudits, the Belfast Telegraph print edition gets rapped by Three Thousand Versts of Loneliness .

Reviewing the papers on the morning after Graeme McDowell’s US Open win, Chekov notes: “A rap over the knuckles for the Belfast Telegraph though. The paper is catching up online, but this morning's edition cast around for an Irish winner in the wrong place. "Harrington taking weight off his shoulders as he chases Major glory", reads the headline. Should've looked a bit closer to home guys!”

Alas, deadlines overtook sub editors on the print story. Needless to say, the Belfast Telegraph digital edition offered superlative, up-to-the-minute reporting on developments in Pebble Beach, right?

In a similar fashion, the BBC gets its ear clipped by Ian Parsley .

“I note that the “most read” story on the BBC website is Christine Bleakley’s decision to go to ITV. Is there really nothing else going on in the world? The only real story was that she was offered £900,000 to front a TV show by the licence-payer-funded BBC – ahem, how much?! That’s not what the licence fee is for. Let the advertisers pay for it, I say, and good luck to her on GMTV.”

Elsewhere, I see Listen Derry has a preview of the promo vid Derry prepared in support of its City of Culture bid. Check out the below – the full six-minute version gets shown publicly at the Nerve Centre this Friday.


But isn’t Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg an MP from rival bidder Sheffield? Is that the whiff of favouritism in the air? Perhaps, though not for Sheffield.

Marie Louise Muir’s blog reveals that David Cameron always ends meetings with Martin McGuinness wishing Derry best of luck for the bid. What can this mean? “Mmmmm. Political machinations! I wonder does he say the same to Nick?” she wonders.

Nope – I’m sure it just means that Cameron favours the Derry bid. We’ll know the result next month - best of luck Derry!

And finally, best of luck to blogger Blackwatertown . ‘Blackwatertown’ the book – a thriller set in the 1950s Irish borderlands – is now completed.

What sustained the blogger through all the self-doubt and loneliness during the drafting? “I have progressed so far only thanks to [commenters] and store-brand bags of jelly babies.”


Geoff McGimpsey blogs on Northern Ireland politics and current affairs at http://bobballs.wordpress.com

Belfast Telegraph