To make a difference, we must think differently – Ekin

Former Belfast Lord Mayor, Tom Ekin, has urged the heads of the larger political parties to end the blame game and set out clear, coherent and feasible plans for real progress.

In a New Year message, the Alliance Councillor stated: “It is time the larger parties realized that if you keep on doing the same old things, you will keep getting the same old results. If they’re not prepared to take action on that premise, they do not deserve the responsibility the electorate has entrusted to them.”

It is depressing that those parties who were elected as leaders of our community after 14 months have delivered no plans, nor words, nor even encouragement as to how they themselves could make Northern Ireland a better place for everyone.

They are still blaming direct rule ministers for making the hard decisions, blaming each other for our defects, and blaming everyone else for the lack of direction. But the locals in Northern Ireland have had over 30 years of this and have done little about it!

Whingeing, opposing change and blocking cooperation are well past their sell-by date. It is time for a bit of honesty. It is time to take the often unpalatable decisions which involve short-term pain for long-term gain. It is time we went beyond objecting to change, and instead presented our own ideas for progress for the benefit of us all. Or do our present party political leaders want us to stay in the rut which they have devised and which has failed our whole society so completely?

The facts are simple: we have too many publicly paid employees, too many government departments, too low productivity in public as well as private sectors, too many antequated laws, too much bureaucracy blocking important things done, and too much focus on inquiries rather than getting real outcomes. We are still happy for others to bear pain but are unwilling to take it ourselves, we lack enough young people who want to be economically productive, too many of us are driven by security of employment or the security of the social benefits system, too many of our politicians are followers not leaders. In short, this is a society founded on negativity — and only the Alliance Party seems serious about a more positive political future.

I believe in action, not words. As Lord Mayor, I started some initiatives and these are still being constructively worked at. We must keep on working, imagining a better future and making genuine progress.

Talk is cheap, following is easy. Taking action and providing leadership to bring on real change is much harder. If our current political leaders are unwilling to do it, the electorate should not be slow to replace them.


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