There can be little doubt that not enough was done to address the deep-seated divisions in our society while there was a feelgood factor from the Good Friday Agreement and the economy was strong.
A massive opportunity was missed. Gail depicts a hopeless, state-dependent, Dickensian poor. These deprived communities do need urgent attention. They will not get the help they need from our current SF/DUP leaders.
Gail has defined the problems we are all facing. I couldn't disagree with a word she has said. As she pointed out, the middle-class has abandoned all interaction with the estates where these problems are festering. Now these communities are so fragmented that each views the other as almost alien species. The working-class in both tribes never come into social contact with each other, or with their respective middle-classes. For some, in Protestant estates, the very idea of bettering onesself is a badge of betrayal of your community.
Noranell: I agree completely. The education and employment opportunities are there and have been for the last 40 years for those that need them. Many of our current, so-called 'middle-class' came from down-at-heel areas in a single generation. Protestant areas, in particular, now seem to undervalue education. Whatever the cause, you are completely spot-on: kids need role models and many families are not providing this.
Unionist politicians sold the Good Friday Agreement solely on the 'Union is saved' headline. Their constituents were never prepared for change - were never told there would be change. Now its dawning on them and, because it wasn't transparent, they mistrust everything and everyone.