Belfast Telegraph

Lindy McDowell: Northern Ireland politicians have made a total horlicks of things and eejits out of us... this can't go on

Our front page on Tuesday about Mary Lou McDonald's remarks on border poll
Our front page on Tuesday about Mary Lou McDonald's remarks on border poll

By Lindy McDowell

To recap then... Mary Lou McDonald wants a border referendum. Oh yes, she does. Oh no, she doesn't. Correction, she does. She really does. Mary Lou wants one and she wants it NOW.

Arlene doesn't. Nor will Arlene be having a stand-alone Irish Language Act, and if there are to be talks to sort Stormont, well, first she's heard of it.

Leo, though, is talking up these talks. That's Leo who doesn't want Brexit or a border poll or indeed, some people would say, a united Ireland.

Peter Robinson, however, is now of the opinion that unionists must prepare for this united Ireland. Which Sammy Wilson says is dangerous and "an invitation to republican arsonists to come and burn our house down".

Paisley Junior is facing suspension from Parliament, Arlene is due before the RHI Inquiry soon, Brexit is looming and the DUP, typically, is getting its priorities in order by haggling over a rainbow flag in Craigavon.

And meanwhile, out here in the real world...

In a new round of squalid malevolence on the streets of north Belfast, families are being driven from their homes. What are called "sectarian hate crimes" are soaring.

But do those words even come close to reflecting the hurt, the real human hurt and distress, as a church is defiled here, a grieving woman's home attacked and a memorial to the slain is trashed by the old familiar, casual venom that still bubbles uncapped?

Certainly, there's little reproach and seemingly very little concern among our elected representatives. Debate has been relocated from the chamber of a functioning Assembly to the chamber of the Nolan Show.

Public sector workers are being denied their pay rises, schools, hospitals and businesses all face mounting crises, planning decisions are put on hold, civil servants are running the country - and the long-suffering population of this place is just about sick to the back teeth with all of this.

As someone has said, living here is like being in an abusive relationship. And more and more we, the punters, are asking that one scorching, if belated question.

Just why the hell are we putting up with this nonsense?

A therapist would describe us as enablers. We're allowing politicians we have elected - whose manifestos, wittering on about what they will do for us, how they will work for us, are thrust into our hands as we enter the polling booths - we're allowing them to damage our political process and our children's future.

And to degrade good governance.

Put bluntly, they've made a horlicks of the political process and eejits of us all. This just can't go on. Direct rule from London has always been seen as the nuclear option (not least by London).

And with Theresa up to her oxters in Brexit and currently running short on loyal lackeys who might be able to take up some of the slack, you can understand why the Tory Government doesn't regard our little local difficulty as number one on the to-do list.

But this just can't go on.

Local politicians have failed us. They've let us and themselves down.

So we have to move on.

To talk about, to demand that somebody assume responsibility for this mess.

This farcical, bickering, backbiting nonsense where not only does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing, the right hand doesn't even seem to know what the right hand is doing. And vice versa.

Earlier this week, it was almost as if Peter Robinson and Mary Lou McDonald had swapped bodies.

We are trapped in an endless cycle of inane obduracy which demeans our political system, it shames those who regard themselves as our leaders, and it hurts us all.

It just can't go on.

Belfast Telegraph


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