Having listened to Jim Shannon, DUP Westminster candidate, being interviewed on the radio recently, I despair for the future of Northern Ireland.
The benefits of voting for Jim Shannon for Westminster are, apparently; he can fill in a DLA form and he knows the number of the Housing Executive to follow up complaints. Surely this is the role of a local councillor. Surely this isn't even the role of an MLA and certainly not the role of an MP.
Now Jim is probably a very nice person. Undoubtedly he will work hard for his constituents, but what is he going to do at Westminster? Carry on being a well-paid local councillor? Due to devolution throughout the UK, the responsibilities of the national Parliament are much reduced.
So the real questions Jim Shannon should be addressing are: Should UK troops be in Afghanistan? If they should, how should we pay for the equipment they need to fight this war? Should we raise taxes to pay for this? Should public services be cut?
What national programmes should be scrapped to pay for the health service we want? Should the UK energy policy be based on nuclear power? Does the UK economy require entry into the euro?
How should regulated services, such as the banks, be managed? Should the UK government bale out failing banks? What should the UK immigration policies be? How should we treat international terror suspects?
Sadly, due to 40 years of political stagnation, the quality of Northern Ireland's politicians has not developed beyond some good local councillors. Maybe that's why so many MPs remain as councillors.
We have no politicians that stand out, none that demand respect at Westminster, none that are in any way influential. In summary we have no MPs of vision and on the national stage, we have none of ability.
Is it any wonder that nearly 60% of the electorate didn't vote the last time, any wonder at all?
Portadown, Co Armagh