Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 October 2014

With small steps we can tackle society's divisions

As we go to the polls today, it is useful to reflect on the last four years of the Assembly and the Executive.

An Executive and an Assembly lasting a full term almost seemed too much of a dream in 2007.

Yet here we are about to vote another 108 MLAs into office and on May 12 a new Executive will take up the reins.

We can all identify policies and ministerial decisions of the previous Executive with which we have been unhappy. But, in the history of peace-building on this island, we must recognise also the enormous political progress achieved.

We must always guard against complacency. The recent tragic murder of Constable Ronan Kerr reminded us again that there are still those in our society who have no wish for peace or to see an end to violence.

Among the many priorities facing the new Executive one requires urgent resolution: a new community relations policy. There remains a yawning gap between the rhetoric of a "shared and better future" and a workable policy.

Sectarianism, racism and homophobia are alive and well. Cultural intolerance persists.

The One Small Step campaign has over four years argued on a simple platform that every individual and every organisation can - and must - take small steps to change the nature of this society.

TREVOR RINGLAND

One Small Step

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