IT is the start of a new school year and a new political year. It is worth emphasising that pupils and students are looking to political leaders for solutions and inspiration.
The focus on the Haass talks is understandable.
And the outcome of the talks is very important.
However, many of those returning to school and college are also seeking important outcomes elsewhere.
While many have an interest in parades and such, there are other issues that they also wish to see addressed.
The solutions they want are primarily social and economic – to do with education, jobs and infrastructure.
This start of term, we do look for leadership on flags and parades issues, because clearly the penalty for failing to do so affects us all – through a faster brain-drain, less investment and fewer tourists.
However, the need to address one set of talks is not an excuse for inaction on the wide range of issues in which all our young people have an interest.
Nor are the forthcoming elections an excuse for shirking the tough choices which have to be made on the economy, jobs and on infrastructure.
The failure to find long-term, sustainable solutions to the issues of flags, parades and the past will limit our ability to address other equally important problems.
The Alliance Party