Frequently we hear complaints about the lack of effectiveness of our political set up, from the inbuilt sectarianism, to the inability of politicians to grasp the “bigger picture” which in the case of Northern Ireland is a pretty small picture.
The frequent calls for a new political party are surely naïve, in that they call for a non sectarian, progressive and courageous party; a party that gives leadership, makes the hard unpopular decisions, that is focussed on bettering the lot of everyone in Northern Ireland, that faces down the vested interests, be they the professions, bureaucrats and even some community groups ( even if it can’t beat them).
There is a party: Alliance. It has been here for some 40 years and has a reputation for leading and history shows that other parties follow, but some years later.
It is gratifying that some of our political leaders and business leaders are now seeing this and saying it; and that they are raising the profile of the changes needed in Northern Ireland to make it more economically viable.
We are now hearing leaders say that we need a new way of doing things. The Health Service will not improve by having a top class hospital building in every town. We have got to find a way for people to get to the best treatments quickly and easily. We cannot sustain 70,000 empty school desks nor should we accept the Apartheid proposed in the Shared Schools nonsense.
If separate development was rejected in South Africa some years ago why are we continuing to use it here?
We cannot sustain the multiplicity of underfunded quasi government bodies who seem to spend so much of their effort trying to get grant money to survive, and not doing the job they are supposed to do. It is also ridiculous that small companies in Northern Ireland are hamstrung by the slowness of government paying their bills.
The process of getting very important infrastructure projects up and running comes from a lack of political will with no one taking responsibility; government making ill defined policy pledges and not setting up a mechanism for them to be carried out within a realistic time scale.
I am optimistic that we can stop being poor mouths and can with our native abilities make the changes required to make Northern Ireland a better place for all.
Tom Ekin, Belfast BT9