Councillor Craig could have put forward rates counter-proposal

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Graham Craig (February 26) was so keen to make inaccurate jibes that, unfortunately, he even managed to take down his own party leader in the crossfire.

The Alliance group in City Hall, as at the Assembly and elsewhere, does something with which clearly Mr Craig is unfamiliar – it seeks to represent the entire community.

That is a community, he may wish to note, where both mainstream unionists and mainstream nationalists are a minority. By reducing everything to a crude sectarian numbers game, Mr Craig is doing the people he claims to represent a shameful disservice.

The decision to focus on the rates issue is rendered all the more bizarre by the simple fact that Mr Craig was so keen to defend the Belfast ratepayer that he did not even bother to turn up!

Small wonder he had to resort to stories of random, private conversations of which there is no record.

Had he in fact attended the debate on behalf of “hard-pressed families” from whose rates he himself receives an allowance, Mr Craig could have put forward a counter-proposal on rates which also ensured the books balanced.

In his absence, sadly, his party colleagues were deemed “not competent” to come up with one.

We may assume, therefore, that Mr Craig does not bother to speak to his colleagues. After all, in his excitement to tag everything Alliance does, he was guilty of a few sins of omission (for example, on teacher training numbers it was his own ministerial colleague who voted alongside Sinn Féin to retain segregation in opposition to an Alliance minister).

I wonder particularly what Mr Craig’s own party leader, Mike Nesbitt, will do when he finds out that his own party colleague has conflated his strong support for a new Cultural Centre with support for “Islamic State”?

Indeed, how will Mr Nesbitt react when he finds out his own party colleague has reduced his honourable stance on the rights of the unborn child to “a decision to walk through the lobbies with Sinn Féin”?

Of course, Mr Craig’s own record on “balancing books” is, of course, an unfortunate one. One consequence of his time as Special Adviser is that we have been left to pay £60 million debt interest alone every year – to be met by taxes and rates from those same “hard-pressed families”.

His Unionist colleagues were too busy “voting alongside Sinn Féin”, in opposition to Alliance, to tackle the costs of segregation.

It turns out that Mr Craig, on his own terms, would not make much of a “housewife”.

Paula Bradshaw, Alliance Councillor, Balmoral DEA, Belfast