Leadership is all about taking people to where they are reluctant to go, but are happy when they get there. Leadership requires courage and risks unpopularity.
Leadership, in short, requires courage.
In each of the past three elections, it has been clear which two parties have been charged with leadership of our community. Yet where are the leadership initiatives from those parties?
When have they displayed the courage required to move this society forward?
One group tells the world that it has stopped the war- a war in which it caused the most suffering and which was obviously more destructive than productive.
The other merely criticises any action by anyone, picking over any sores it can find, causing genuine offence to all and sundry as it does so.
What Northern Ireland needs is a serious dose of realism and progress, with a few courageous actions. There is a lot of goodwill towards us elsewhere in the world, but we cannot just wait for the rest of the world to solve out problems.
Indeed, the worldwide community will think less of us if we continue to waste every opportunity we have.
Yet wastage is exactly what has come of European grants and Westminster subventions galore. We have had an almost bottomless pit of money, yet have seen almost no long-term benefit. Where is the leadership required to set out , with realism and practicality, what can be done all about our problems?
What are those with the largest mandates going to do about the declining school rolls and the sectarian segregation built into education; about hospitals with dissatisfied front line staff and parliaments and the longest waiting lists in Europe; about financing the renewal of our clapped out infrastructures, roads, railways, water; about our over-charging, under-efficient, over-profitable, under-reliant banking system; about the lack of morality in selective acceptance of rioting in the street?
We are so hung up on blaming everyone else, but we have only ourselves to blame for the biggest mistake of all- collective inertia.
Leadership is about more than just saying “the was is over” or “we are not convinced the war is over”.
There are thorny issues which have to be dealt with, and which require courage from those elected to lead.
Alliance has demonstrated courage- we call it as we see it, all round.
But if they could also show the courage to lead together, we could all be infinitely better off.