The tone struck by the Dup and Sinn Fein on David Cameron’s economic medicine appears to argue a deal cam be dpne because both parties want to protect jobs.

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All signs are that a deal is possible between the DUP and Sinn Fein on safeguarding jobs here despite David Cameron’s economic medicine. The thesis promoted by the DUP is one of obviating job losses choosing instead to opt for freezing salaries in the public service without exception. Party leader Peter Robinson argues that anyone earning above £21000 should have a salary freeze. This figure has taken Sinn Fein by surprise. That party suggested all public sector workers earning more than £43000 should take a hit. The DUP’s contention is that Sinn Fein’s figures would not stack up. Evidently there is a middle way. Where there is not a middle way is on the question of water charges. Finance minister Sammy Wilson found out on Monday who is boss in DUP and in the Executive when Mr Robinson outrightly ruled out any notion of water charges which have the potential to bring in more than £500m over four years. One senior civil servant sounded a worrying note for Peter Robinson’s salary cap on earnings for two years. “There is an equality matter here and they’d need to be careful.” None of this might add up to two balls of roasted snow in the absence of some sort of a social partnership. Is this possible? Will the unions go for the nuclear option and bring their members onto the streets in the dead of winter and will Michael Mc GImpsey join them? Half a loaf is better than no bread. Having a job is preferable to not having one even if one’s income is not growing. For those considering the nuclear option if you really want to know what it is like to be self employed have a go!

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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