Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Even Gary can't get people here to stay in tune with each other

Gary Lightbody
Gary Lightbody

Ah, the irony of it all – a unionist "unity" candidate whose selection has ended up dividing unionists.

 Where would y'get it ... Mind you, I can understand the idea of choosing one person to unite two parties in a by-election.

I mean, why not go for a single candidate, someone who's well known and liked, got great charisma and a long track record of success? Of course it makes sense to choose..... Nigel Lutton.

Who?

At the time of writing this, I can find out nothing more about Nigel Lutton other than that his father was an RUC reservist who was murdered in 1979 when Nigel was eight-years-old.

So really they're putting up someone simply on the basis that he's not a nationalist or republican. So essentially the election is a sectarian head count.

Well done Michael and Peter on moving the Shared Future agenda forward.

Oh you can claim you're Backin' Belfast all you want, you can support hundreds of thousands of pounds being poured into a knee-jerk campaign, trying to encourage people back to a city by putting street theatre entertainment on, in the dark, on cold winter nights (was there ever a bigger waste of money than that?) and getting Gary Lightbody to talk it all up on Facebook, but if you aren't operating from a position of genuinely wanting a shared society then you should put on the clowns' outfits yourselves and try out your act in Cornmarket, because your attitudes are a joke.

Okay, so you made a huge boo-boo with the (don't mention the war) leaflet in east Belfast back in November.

You misjudged "your" people, finding out too late that they aren't actually your people at all but rather a whole new, mutant breed of disaffection.

So you panicked. You realised you'd lost control. You wanted to show you were still in charge so you rushed to appease the agitators with your Forum panacea. But still, we saw the panic in your eyes. "How the heck do we keep the oiks in their place?!?!?" could have been the subtitles under your smooth talk of "listening" and "round table discussions on how to move forward".

Problem is, you have moved forward. You, personally. And the middle classes around you. But you conveniently forgot the underlings who put you where you are. So now you're stuck.

If you keep ignoring them and try to act like statesmen, you know they'll stick to your shoe and create a bad smell everywhere you go.

But if you rush to appease them, without having the guts to admit that you helped create them in the first place, you'll look small-minded, backward-looking and self-serving. No one who knows anything will take you seriously as statesmen.

That's both the problem and the beauty of politics. If you don't have laudable foundations to your policies and attitudes, if you claim lofty ideals while covering up less honourable motivations, you'll be caught out eventually.

You'll become exhausted running around trying to remember who you said what to.

Yes we want a shared future! Yes we will stir up sectarian tension in the city! Yes, we're middle class and savvy! Yes, we understand the underclass! Yes we said "No"! No, we said "Yes". Oh, what did we say? We're confused.

I can see why you think you need someone else to lean on....

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