Belfast Telegraph

Turns out the rise of racism in Northern Ireland can be put down to ingrained attitudes as a result of the Troubles

By Will Chambre

So, it turns out that the rise of racism can be put down to ingrained attitudes as a result of the Troubles...

A ‘leaked document’ claims that the racism of today has been shaped by the sectarian conflict. In short, if one part of society grows up with an attitude that they must be on their guard against the ‘other side’, then elements will consider anything different as a threat.

Controversially, the document, the OFMDFM’s draft strategy for racial equality, also talks about having a regional immigration plan. Immigration is one of those areas that remain in the power of Westminster.

However, one can take heart that positive steps resound in terms of plans to integrate migrants, including care for families, and the usual vague words such as social cohesion and capacity building.

Given that net migration has been a growing trend for a decade or more, we do hope that it is not too little too late...

But, in other news this week, ‘flegs’, bus lanes, care homes and royal handshakes have done little to abate the flood of World Cup stories.

Bookmakers have inundated our screens with the odds on who will win the World Cup, with long odds for our neighbours in the English FA, and even longer odds are on offer for the ‘fleg’ dispute ending, or a resolution of the parades impasse in Ardoyne.

Equally a resolution of the health trust care home closure debacle seems remote after a health and social care board report seemed to resolve little; saying that the care homes should remain open if residents wanted them to but at the same time giving health trusts the option to close them if they so desired.  You may be one of those who takes the ‘glass half full’ approach to life but state care home populations will inevitably decline, as the grim reaper takes his toll. A cynic might say they will close as a result of death by a thousand cuts.

Not that I’m cynical.

Nor am I cynical about the Department for Regional Development proposing to snare the unwary motorist who steers his way – wittingly or unwittingly – into a bus lane. A cynic might argue that this is another revenue raising exercise by government, but the more charitable might say this is another welcome step to reduce city centre congestion by moving commuters onto more sustainable forms of transport.

All of which leaves us with the news that Queen Elizabeth and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness might once again be exchanging a handshake. Which is nice. And, it seems, no longer a big deal. Is this progress or are we imagining it.

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