Tulip was onto me last week moaning about receiving a bill for water rates in the mail. He's right to moan. These charges are inequitable, unfair, and a form of double taxation.
The people he should blame are the local politicians who, through their inability to sustain the local Assembly, have permitted the direct rule Ministers to levy this unfair double-taxation charge on the people of Northern Ireland.
Now, with an election coming up, and given that this wheeze was foisted on Northern Ireland by the direct rule wonks of New Labour, you would think that the local parties would be falling over themselves to declare themselves against this levy, which will cost the average household an additional £314 per YEAR.
Strangely, they're not. Sinn Fein have confirmed to me that they have no expressed position on the issue, and the SDLP, whose policy document is available here somewhere, seem negative but non-committal.
The DUP, who in the past claimed to oppose water charges, actually proposed them in their election documentation in 2005. At least one UUP councillor is opposing them, but again there does not appear to be an official party policy one way or the other.
At least there is a grass roots campaign urging people not to pay.
Is it too much to ask that the parties, in advance of the election, come out and tell us whether they oppose these charges or not, and whether they would undo them in the event of coming to power at Stormont, as is their right?
The people deserve to know.