A few months ago we touched on the subject of taxpayers subsidising voluntary organisations like the GAA and loyalist bands. Without being drawn on the similarities between the two, or indeed the differences, of which there are arguably many, the fact is that organisations which are voluntary should not be in receipt of public funds. That’s really not what government is for.
Yet Stormont, as we know, doesn’t see things this way. Currently embroiling itself in another deliberately manufactured exercise in ‘crisis’ which will no doubt only result in more taxpayers’ money being thrown at our various problems, our elected chamber’s understanding of what they’re actually there to do is fairly limited.
As such, according to a report released by the Taxpayers Alliance this week, they’re currently allowing our trade unions to get away with £4.7 million of ‘facility time’ every year. And the worst thing is that most of Northern Ireland’s public sector bodies don’t even record how much time their staff spend on union duties, so this could be just the tip of the iceberg.
I don’t support trade union campaigns. I don’t support pickets and I’m not even a member of a union. So why am I paying for them, through taxation, to spend time planning how to shake me down and mess up the economy?
Trade unions are voluntary bodies. Members voluntarily pay a subscription. That’s their choice. If they’re happy to do that then no-one could possibly have a problem with it. However, I choose not to pay a subscription and I don’t think any right-minded person can argue that I should be forced to pay – against my will – through taxation either.