|Cartoon by Ian Knox, see full gallery from this Hearts and Minds segment here.|
[UPDATE - I've read and written that Stormont is a giant ATM, with no link between what is spent and accountability by the devolved regions for that spend]
Our pocket money parliament has no tax-raising powers. It's hasn't even the fiscal maturity of a county council which do have powers to levy and lift taxes. It's all spend and no tax. It's given a budget and then spends or allocates those monies. A parliament that can spend but cannot tax is not a parliament. Stormont is a giant quango. It's the inverted legislative reality of no-taxation with representation.
Northern Ireland is like a fiscal theme park where basic factual and legal realities are suspended. It has fiscal freedom and no responsibility. But without the power to tax it's hard to govern. Newton Emerson said:
"Stormont is often mocked as a glorified country council but even councils raise most of their income through the rates, all the rates Stormont collects comes to just 5% of its income. So it's really more of a quango spending a budget."We receive a block grant subsidy of over £10bn per annum from the London Treasury. Should we grow up and trade subsidy for responsibility? Watch the Hearts and Minds segment with Newton Emerson here and see the cartoons by Ian Knox that accompanied it below: