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Dump the airy-fairy theories and deal with reality

In response to your correspondent Observer (May 2), I was not remotely dismissing the potential impact of welfare reform, but rather the Children's Commissioner's theoretical, rather than practical solutions in response.

Welfare reform will happen and those of us working in the community recognise we have no time to waste on the theory of it when we have to work on the practice.

We must seek to maximise its benefits, while tackling the areas where it is most detrimental. There are vast areas where our own ministers could intervene positively.

Yet the fact is we have barely seen a hint of any of that from our ministers and MLAs: instead, we have seen fake debates about 'parity' and about pretending it is all nothing to do with us.

To top it all, we have an education minister who denies responsibility for childcare and then opts to continue a run of school closures impacting on children in what is already an area of low educational attainment (while refusing to merge schools in a similarly marginalised area where there is a clear case for doing so).

This is causing severe and direct practical damage to the life-chances of the next generation in a large part of greater Belfast, so why has our Children's Commissioner nothing to say about it?

If we are to have locally-funded and locally-responsible commissioners, the least they could do is intervene to ensure local politicians are accountable.


Alliance Party

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