The trade unions and Sinn Fein “need lessons in the basics of UK democracy”, on the evidence of Friday’s strikes.
The overall public expenditure framework for the UK is set by the Westminster government.
Stormont parties, including Sinn Féin, and the trade unions have to accept that. Sinn Fein can have no qualms about the sovereignty of Westminster, because that’s what they agreed to at the Belfast Agreement and have been operating ever since.
Through abstaining from Westminster they have also discounted themselves from having any input into decisions on the overall level of public spending. Likewise, if the trade unions don’t like what the Conservative led government is doing they should campaign for the alternative – a government led by the Labour Party.
The coalition at Westminster has a mandate to take action on public spending. Both the Conservatives and Lib Dems were elected on a platform of dealing with the deficit.
Almost uniquely this government had the votes of the majority of the electorate in 2010 – 59 per cent.
That included over 100,000 people in Northern Ireland who voted for candidates standing in support of David Cameron and the Conservative manifesto.
In contrast the DUP have 0.6 per cent of the UK vote – as do Sinn Fein.
The Northern Ireland Unions have no mandate electorally and a very shaky one for these strikes.
The Conservatives believe that strike ballots in essential public services should have at least 50 per cent turnout.
It is outrageous that people have been put and risk and severely inconvenienced and yet apparently only 20 per cent of the union members voted in the strike ballot.
We have challenged the DUP, SF, UUP and SDLP to back our call for a minimum 50 per cent turnout in strike ballots. The silence has been deafening.
The people keep looking for leadership from these parties but they rarely get it.
Conservative,’ North Down