Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Let us refocus on a better future for all

'As we enter 2020, let us all stop fighting over Northern Ireland's future and start fighting for it instead' (stock photo)
'As we enter 2020, let us all stop fighting over Northern Ireland's future and start fighting for it instead' (stock photo)

Editor's Viewpoint

Some people like New Year's Eve while others loathe it, both for the same reason, as it is a time for reflection. It is also a time for resolutions, to be kept or not, and for such adventures as a Dry January after so much Christmas overindulgence.

It is also an opportunity to take stock of where we are now. In 2010 the political situation was not perfect, but Stormont was running and the political institutions were bedding in. Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness were working together in a partnership which now seems like a halcyon period of bridge-building.

We now have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and we see the roots that were eventually to choke the Assembly. These included the failure to follow through on political agreements, and a growing lack of trust.

This led to the present long impasse, with the scandal of RHI, the decisions - or lack of them - which led to the NHS crisis, and the conspicuous failure to remove the gun from politics once and for all.

There was also the significant inability of our politicians to grasp the full implications of Brexit, well before the 2016 Referendum. No one is saying that they bear full responsibility for the current Brexit plague on all our houses, but they stand accused of not giving better leadership.

The past decade was also a time when we learned slowly and painfully that we are on our own and the outside world, not unreasonably, expects us to show that we can stand on our own two feet.

However, it is not all bad news. These are exciting times for Ulster University in developing its new Belfast campus, and for Queen's University with its important scientific developments.

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Some of our local firms still export their excellence all over the world, and against all the odds two of our best-known names, Wrightbus and Harland and Wolff, have survived to face new challenges.

In sporting terms we have shown that we can stage literally world-class events such as The Open, which was such a success at Royal Portrush.

As always there is the warm-hearted welcome of our people, known for their charity giving and big-heartedness.

There is also our wonderful scenery, our sense of humour, our feeling of belonging and so many other good things which we have in common.

So, as we enter 2020, let us all stop fighting over Northern Ireland's future and start fighting for it instead.

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