John McCallister’s sharp criticism (February 16) of Mike Nesbitt’s intention to give his second-preference vote to his local SDLP candidate is surprising giving his previous excellent work in helping to bring about the very opposition politics at Stormont which encourages such actions.
He talks about less tribalism and the normalisation of our politics, but surely it would take a mammoth effort involving numerous courageous interventions, such as Mr Nesbitt’s recent statement, to move the centre-ground of politics to a more moderate footing – concentrating on issues like health, education, energy and employment?
Mr McMcCallister could alternatively employ his skills to explore if joint departmental responsibilities, between Executive parties, would improve power-sharing arrangement? Or would a new permanent Stormont committee, comprising ordinary members of the public such as business, community and union leaders, improve overall stability by considering the more contentious issues before they escalate to crisis talks?
Also, should the existing opposition group, which he helped facilitate, rule out entering partnership with the two incumbent parties to help strengthen the current opposition mechanism and demonstrate potential change from the status quo?
These are the type of questions that I truly hope people, like Mr McCallister, will be considering in the run up to the forthcoming Assembly elections.
Brian Pope, Banbridge