Northern Ireland deserves good and sound governance

In the 1890s, Richard “Boss” Croker defined a “mugwump” as a man in politics “who never votes for anyone, always against someone”.

he ‘mugwump’ genus – although first identified by Irish-born power broker Tammany Hall in New York – has found its way across the Atlantic and has thrived in Irish politics north and south.

With the North heading to the polls today before a vote has even been cast, let alone counted, hard lines have been drawn not to run for office unless differences are settled.

The DUP will not enter government unless the Northern Ireland Protocol is scrapped. They have yet to say whether they will appoint a deputy first minister should they be the second largest party in the assembly.

The first holder of this office was Seamus Mallon, who served with honors from 1998 to 2001.

Heralding the optimism of new political horizons, he once said: “Lift up your faces, you have a burning need for this bright morning that is dawning for you. The story cannot go unlived in its excruciating pain, but when faced with courage it need not be lived again.”

Today the North stands on the cusp of another potentially bright tomorrow.

Sweeping wins for Sinn Féin pave the way for nationalists to hold the balance of power for the first time in a century.

However, as the Taoiseach said earlier this week, identities in the North should no longer be viewed as just orange or green.

By all reports, Alliance is set for a strong performance that shows how people are willing to shed hard shells once the need for their protection is no longer present.

To quote Nobel laureate John Hume: “The basis of peace and stability in any society must be full respect for the human rights of all its inhabitants.”

For the past week, Northern leaders have been bickering over the potential for a border survey, post-Brexit trade deals and the cost of living crisis. All are thorny and divisive, but a deal must be found. As Boris Yeltsin once remarked: “You can build a throne with bayonets, but it is difficult to sit on it.”

Northern voters had to brace themselves to be among the most patient in the world.

The fate of the assembly seems doomed to be thermostatically controlled.

Depending on the political temperature, it is constantly switched on or off.

You deserve so much better. Voting is something like a civic sacrament. Investing trust and power in someone other than yourself is an act of faith.

In the dark history of sectarianism and gerrymandering in the North, a peaceful election was a prize many had to fight and make bitter sacrifices to win.

Whoever wins the lion’s share of the vote matters far less than providing a stable government, which northern voters have been denied for far too long. Northern Ireland deserves good and sound governance

Fry Electronics Team

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