During their recent intervention to the green and orange shores of Northern Ireland, Prime Minister David Cameron and Taoiseach Enda Kenny . It is perhaps a testament to the patience and will of those who chaired the previous ‘Haass’ talks but probably just as indicative of our broken political system – as the stalemate and open distrust between the parties at Stormont boils over.
Let’s take a second to get our bearings. Where do we stand?
Sinn Féin remain embroiled in allegations of a sexual abuse coverup, with still looming over the entire party regardless of how many pictures of ducks President Gerry Adams posts on social media.
The Democratic Unionist Party is attempting to pass a ‘conscience clause’ Bill in the aftermath of an event the Northern Ireland media has christened ‘gaycake’ – which our writer Darren Litter described as “discrimination in its rawest form”.
A number of major political players, from both the parties previously mentioned, have been implicated in a recent BBC Spotlight investigation into MLA expenses.
We have had to suffer through RedSky, the faux questioning of (ex) Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, Gerry Kelly riding a PSNI landrover during a rally, the never-ending financial drain that is the Twaddell ‘civil rights’ camp, the overlong and ultimately pointless ‘Iris’ report, all that ‘go to the shops’ nonsense and finally – in what may actually be karma giving us all a kick up the arse – a 2015 financial landscape that looks post-apocalyptic.
I know these are sporadic and cherry-picked examples of political ineptitude but I don’t really care anymore – it is clear that Stormont is not fit for purpose. Yes, it has got us this far – post conflict society and everything – but we cannot progress when we are governed by opposing political parties in the same tedious and lumbering government. Their childlike bickering is deafening to those on the outside looking in and unfortunately, in my opinion, it is now unworkable. It goes through the motions of being a government, yet looks like a farce from every angle.
Even Sinead O’Connor , and who the bleep knows why that is.
Naomi Long MP, Deputy Leader of the Alliance Party “devolved institutions are in serious danger of collapse” if some form of agreement over the Haass issues can’t be met before Christmas. Yes, that’s ten days away.
“Other parties need to put aside their pre-election posturing and think about the bigger picture, which is the people of Northern Ireland and the society in which people want to live. Without agreement on these matters, that unfortunately looks less and less likely”, writes Ms Long.
“While all parties seemingly recognise there is a need for agreement and have done since before the Haass process, practically we are no further on because some clearly lack the will to deliver such an agreement.”
Personally, I love Christmas deadlines. There’s something about the mixture of snow, turkey and failure that makes me really happy inside.
Our politicians don’t like each other – and that is rather unsurprising. The unionists want the union, the republicans (kinda) want a republic. Both are currently in election mode – which is unfortunate for anyone stuck in the middle.
I was out on Saturday night at the Queen’s Film Theatre, after I went to the Empire and then on to Lavery’s. I am not telling you this to brag about my drinking habits, but only to illustrate that there’s a world beyond politics and, shock horror, self-serving politicians. Music, dancing, art, film, poetry and actual human interaction – sometimes the impression exists that the only time the ‘elected few’ get a taste of the arts and culture scene is when they dramatically cut its annual budget.
The people will demand more – the only question is how much they can take before enough is deemed enough. Without turning into some Russell Brand style, sandal wearing, vanilla latte drinking revolutionary, it is still possible to see that sooner or later the so-called disillusionment will shift to a state of anger. There can only be so many hospital closures, so many social housing scandals and so many pointless talks processes before people stand up against the hopelessness and the corruption at the core. It is perhaps ironic that the best example of this in recent times is the eruption of the 2012 flag protests.
Half of Northern Ireland doesn’t vote, and who can blame them? Unfortunately for those on the hill, no one at the bottom even seems to care about them anymore. This is not to say they do not care about politics – quite the opposite. They will demand ‘real’ politics and debate about proper issues. Healthcare, the economy, education. Not simply second rate, half hearted, catch-22 style yearly discussions and political inaction.
Jason Murdock | |