The Belfast Telegraph’s “Viewpoint” (Monday December 17), “Public must speak out about Stormont”, missed the point about the absence of our Devolved Assembly and Executive.
The editorial went on to highlight the need for the public to show their discontent about the pathetic performances of “our politicians” and urges that we demand better.
People complain about our so-called politicians and demanding progress in political institutions designed to arrest progress. However many are now realising that, far from the collapse of Stormont being a problem we are being at last presented with an opportunity to sweep away the political and civil stagnation of the last 20 years of hopelessly failing devolution experiments.
Some washed up American Democrat politician might arrive in Northern Ireland tomorrow and after a few weeks of negotiation with the soporific leaderships of the local mini-parties produce a bells and whistles New Agreement. With great fanfare the new Assembly and Executive might then be reinstalled at Stormont. With grim inevitability that Assembly would be brought down by its members in a couple of years.
The answer to continuously failing devolution must not be more failing devolution. Devolution has not and will not work for Northern Ireland.
When Sinn Fein collapsed the Devolved Assembly in 2017 the people elected a new Assembly by democratic election. One of the troubles with our brand of devolution is that our Assembly and Executive is effectively powerless. The dangerous legacy of the Good Friday Agreement puts huge obstacles such as Power Sharing, Petitions of Concern, Legal Challenges, Bunker Mentality Executives and many more in the way of any sort of efficient Government.
What sort of politicians are attracted to such an Assembly. The real work is done at Local Council and Westminster Parliamentary levels. The Devolved Government is Third Division.
The editorial quoted the Dean of Belfast, Stephen Forde, as saying “… there is always a danger, if people aren’t given leadership by their politicians, that they will sometimes turn to those who come up with easy answers ,,,”. People do not elect politicians to give them “leadership”. People elect politicians to represent them and work for them – not to swim around in a swamp of inefficiency and ancient custom. There are easy answers in many cases but Devolved politicians don’t come up with them.
The people of Northern Ireland voted for the politicians of their choice for the Assembly in 2017. That’s where their input ended. Our politicians took those votes to endless meetings at Stormont where they bartered them one way and another to see if they could set up another cosy little Assembly. All the time those politicians knew that either of the two largest parties could topple the Assembly on a whim.
Time to sweep away Devolution, increase the powers of our Councils and pressurise our MPs at Westminster to do their jobs or face redundancy.