Socrates Quotes

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Delivery breeds confidence, not the other way around

The Assembly will return to policing and justice matters next week when Members discuss the Assembly and Executive Review Committee's latest report. The final piece of the devolution jigsaw is ready to be put in place, but as politicians pontificate, so the public disillusionment about whether those on the hill will deliver grows.

The DUP won't move before the European elections in June, fearful of playing into the hands of Jim Allister. Mark Devenport alludes to unnamed sources who are saying the date could now be November, but who is to say it won't be 2010 or longer before the final compromise can be achieved.

Unionist politicians point to an absence of public confidence. Yet doesn't delivery breed confidence, not just in policing and justice matters, but in all policy areas? Could it be the public is lacking confidence, not in whether 'conditions are right', but in the ability of our politicians to lead us towards an improved quality of life?

The biggest danger to devolution no longer lies from within, from the threat that a party could bring about suspension with an effective "if it doesn't work our way it doesnt work at all" type veto. Now the greater danger to devolution is from the outside, indeed it is from us - a declining public confidence in our politicians, regardless of their creed or colour.

A few months ago we were told how the Executive not meeting meant political paralysis, yet now it is back, what really has changed? Still we wait, still we wonder... on academic selection; on the Maze; on the Irish language etc etc etc

In a recent conversation with a backbench DUP MLA I was told his party knew they would be judged on "what they could deliver." The MLA felt the Ulster Unionists failed, because they couldn't deliver tangible benefits in partnership government. This should not just be a concern for the DUP; but for all at the Executive table.

If devolved government doesn't deliver enough, all of our politicians are effected. For when the connection with the public they are elected to serve is lost, then the true meaning behind why we have democracy and a devolved Assembly is lost.

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