Many politicians defy the cynics and seek to serve the public

Morning View
Morning View

The former Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim is to stand as a candidate in the coming local council elections.

Danny Kinahan has been selected to stand for a seat on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council next year.

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times, Mr Kinahan said: “I want to help the town, help business improve and help residents with all their issues. I’ll still have to learn. I’ll be a new boy from a certain point of view. Councils have changed since I was in council and I’ll have to learn my way through the system.”

He said that he had find it an “odd year, not to have any role” since he lost his seat in the surprise general election of last June.

This is an unusual story that goes some way to challenge the cynicism that there is about politicians.

Mr Kinahan had the sort of privileged background that might tempt other people to pursue the good life, rather than to get involved in public life.

Instead, he has been elected as an assembly member, as a Westminster MP and perhaps soon as a councillor.

His story is all the more rare in that he is stepping down in his ambitions to council level, such is his intention to help run things in the community.

Plenty of former MPs would have a hope of elevation to the Lords or at least some sort of prestigious public appointment rather than any plan to run as a councillor.

But while this is an unusual story, there are many honourable people who stand for some of the hundreds of elected positions in Northern Ireland and who try to make society better, defying the cynical assumptions about politicians.

Politics across the western world, and particularly in a small society like ours, is struggling to find civic minded people to step up to the mark with the right intentions. This means those who do are all the more valuable to public life.