Former Belfast Lord Mayor Tom Ekin has said it is time political leaders took responsibility for leading, citing Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as an example.
The Balmoral representative stated: “As an Alliance councillor I can vouch for the benefits of constructive talk. People from both side of the community will not let me down on certain projects because I have been talking constructively with them. Don’t think that progress with the contentious issues in City Hall such as St Patrick’s Day funding just happened by accident. They happened because of heavy Alliance involvement.”
There are many examples of this elsewhere. For example, explaining his radical shift in policy regarding the Palestinians, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said ‘Things look different from this side of the table’, and recently one of his supporters asked ‘Why didn’t Sharon do that 40 years ago? We would have saved so many lives’. Can Paisley and Adams make a similar shift in Northern Ireland?’
How often do we have to spell our the well-known problems before we start to address them ourselves? How much longer are we going to blame others for our problems? When are the local elected representatives going to take the hard non populist decisions? When are we going to get a wealth-creating private sector bigger than the wealth-eating public sector?
We have spent years discussing Belfast Metropolitan Area Plans, Transport Plans, Reviews of Public Administration, to no avail. No answers, only complaints. The road to the other capital city on the island is a disgrace, the road/rail/electronic routes to the region’s second city are substandard. School and hospital results are very patchy, and economically unsustainable. Where is the lead from our supposed leaders? The continual arguing about sectarianism is fatuous. The comments about lack of trust are disingenuous, no one is actually trying to build up trust. The only way you can do it is to talk to your opposition, irrespective of who they are.
“The people need and want leaders to start leading us towards a better community. It is very late, but not yet too late.”