Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"What is going to kick start this election?"

Fellow pedants will be as delighted as myself that the DUP have now updated this previously erroneous claim:
“My DUP has delivered free prescriptions for everyone in Northern Ireland, the most generous scheme in the UK”
It now reads in their "40 of our achievements in 4 years" document:
"We've introduced free prescriptions for everyone in Northern Ireland- they're not available in England"
The last part is undoubtedly true, although I think a Unionist party should always tread very cautiously when boasting of any socio-economic advantages we may enjoy over our fellow British citizens.

Regarding the whole document, the question is when the DUP talk of "we" are they referring to "we" as in Northern Ireland's all-encompassing "government", or we as in the "We" operating out of Dundela Towers?

It's not clear and perhaps in terms of influencing the election, it doesn't really matter anyway who gets the credit for whatever the Assembly is claimed to have achieved; the journalist Eamonn Mallie asked plaintively yesterday on Twitter:
"what is going to kick start this election?"
He joined in with the host of replying metaphorical yawns:
"J'en ai marre" (Roughly, "I'm right-o pissed-off already with this boring oul crap"
The DUP's biggest enemy this time is not other mainstream Unionists, Sinn Fein or even Jim Allister. It's voter apathy which may undermine the legitimacy of the devolved assembly and, by extension, its executive, which is more than likely going to be still controlled by the DUP-Sinn Fein Axis.

The last Assembly Election pulled out 63.5% of the electorate, last year's Westminsters' 58%.
Could the total vote drop below 55%, or even 50% this time?

And if it did, what would be the message being delivered on the "first full devolved government in Northern Ireland for over 40 years"?


Alwyn ap Huw said...

"We've introduced free prescriptions for everyone in Northern Ireland- they're not available in England"

It might be pedantic, but the claim that free prescriptions are not available in England is also wrong. Free prescriptions are available in England to children, over 60s, people with some long term illnesses, people on low incomes and other groups.

O'Neill said...


Fair point although as I did said last week, I don't think manifesto promises or claims are created to be taken as the gospel, more as a kind of glossy PR.

It's the ideologiocal side of this one which I find shakey.

Wildgoose said...

Yes Alwyn, only some long term illnesses, (my asthma isn't covered for example). More seriously, long term cancer patients and the like have to pay for their genuinely life-saving drugs.

And of course they are now also reducing the amount being prescribed so that more prescriptions need to be bought at the new more expensive charge.

(WV "dosest" - I kid you not).