Time for Northern politicians to make politics work

In American politics, the saying goes that Democrats think the glass is half full, while Republicans just think the glass is theirs.

In Northern Ireland, a century of bitter struggles over control of glass seems to be taking a historic turn. The glass now appears to be nominally in the hands of nationalists. Whether it’s half full or half empty still depends on a number of factors.

In any case, Sinn Féin is about to reach a historic milestone. A salutary and unique achievement is at least on the horizon as, for the first time in 101 years, no trade unionist is allowed to lead the North’s government.

Sinn Féin ran a solid, pragmatic campaign focused on health and the cost of living, and kept aspirations for a united Ireland rock-bottom. You might view the result as confirmation of an irresistible endorsement and strive to channel that momentum in our next general elections in the Republic. However, nothing should be taken for granted.

Also, the hugely impressive performance of the Alliance Party changed the game, making this a potentially transformative choice. The power base for this “Third Force” could be drawn from the NUNS – non-unionists or non-nationalists. As Alliance leader Naomi Long said: “It’s been a pretty grim couple of years and the politics has been pretty grim as a result.

“I think people know that 24 years after the Good Friday Agreement we have to move beyond the split. We offer positive politics, we offer pragmatism and we offer them hope for improvement.”

It is a testament to progress in the North that some voters in this election have not known watchtowers or lived with the scourge of street corner security checks. The Northern writer and journalist Nell McCafferty once said: “Aside from the pious aspirations of the Nationalist party, none of us aspired to a united Ireland. That was up there in the Pantheon, by Heaven, and we had to keep going on Earth meanwhile.”

“Carry on” is exactly what the vast majority of people in the North want their politicians to do. The talk of the DUP’s “toxic protocol,” coupled with the party’s insistence that it must go or there will be no gathering, is an irritated throwback to another era.

The Protocol was an inevitable consequence of Brexit. There is talk that the DUP may even run down the clock to force new elections over the next six months. People won’t like being manipulated like that. Democracy does not exist à la carte.

The protocol is legally binding and anchored in an international treaty.

American author Alice Walker suggested that as a rule of life we ​​should “expect nothing and live surprisingly frugally”. What a welcome “surprise” it would be if Northern politicians actually got involved in politics. Didn’t their voters have to “live frugally” long enough on democracy crumbs from the top group?

https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/time-for-norths-politicians-to-ensure-politics-works-41623683.html Time for Northern politicians to make politics work

Fry Electronics Team

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