A little light relief for Parliament buildings?

THE Secretary of State will be hoping for both power-sharing and a power surge at Stormont next week after it was revealed yesterday that he has found a surprising dip in the electricity bill for the House on the Hill since the Assembly was last suspended.

With intense negotiations forging ahead to "restore power" by 26 March, Mr Hain may well be the first Secretary of State whose face "lights up" at the thought of rising bills.

The revelations came in response to a Parliamentary Question from DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson, who asked Mr Hain the cost of external lighting for Parliament Buildings over the past five years.

Mr Hain said it was only possible to give the overall electricity costs and not just those for outside lights.

He said that between 2002 and 2005 the annual bill reached as high as 130,000 but in 2005/6 it dipped as low as 75,000.

"The slightly lower figures for 2005 and 2006 are primarily down to there being less people in the building," he said.

The news gave "sparks" of inspiration to the "current" leader of the Make Politicians History Party, Rainbow George, who campaigns to rid Ulster of all elected representatives.

"It makes you think, just how much we would be saving on the electricity bill if we closed down Stormont altogether.

"When you think of the cost of all their salaries, this dip in the electricity bill could be the tip of the iceberg in terms of savings," he said.

He is not confident of power being restored by March 26, but he is still believes his vision will come to pass.

"I am still confident that Belfast is going to become a self-governing city, even though I only polled 221 votes in the Assembly Election," he said.

His dream is to see Northern Ireland citizens govern themselves through an electronic voting system, which would see democratic decisions taken on an issue-by-issue basis.

He realises that would create another huge electricity bill, but still believes his goal of "making our political servants redundant" is "watt" will happen.