All parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly will have to up their game in the aftermath of Coronavirus – By David McNarry

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A massive decision looms large over the leaders in planning for a twelve month phased exit strategy taking us out of the lockdown. Careful attention is necessary to avoid busting the economy, throwing thousands out of work and causing untold societal chaos.

It will take a sensitive approach by all leaders who will hopefully retreat from Green and Orange petty point scoring bickering. Until they contribute to putting Northern Ireland firstly and foremost in their rebuilding sights and have completed the task, the leaders should back off and govern.

It will be important too for the hawks and the doves to reach an accommodation. The health warning being that the more hawkish commentators, yours truly, will be hard pushed to be courteous whenever a post Coronavirus post mortem reveals warts and all the stunning truth of gross bad behaviour during the crisis.

In my personal daily lockdown journal I write often of the need to build stronger institutions within which our leaders can strive. We all need to recover our confidence and accept that the ‘New Normal’ represents a fresh start. Adapting to life after the crisis presents the greatest ever test to all those charged with leadership across all spheres.

My journal relates to my agreeing with myself in thinking that a better term for the self isolating lockdown is being locked up in an open prison.

Regrettably I haven’t a clue about Apps or Podcasts which has meant that I am unable to record for Eamon one of my favourite poems. Someone needs to write a verse or two on meeting the tests before and after Covid-19.

Politicians, clergy, investors, entrepreneurs, academics, educationalists, etc. Parents and guardians should brace themselves to face the tests whatever they are with vigour.

Whatever transpires as the ‘New Normal’ it will be exceptionally different. There is no going back to complacency or thinking we can do as we like. Only fools would refuse to consider that there are new values which cannot be ignored. Leaders must be bold not timid.

The next decade hits the road not in 2030 but precisely at the time the all clear is given setting the nation free from the disease. The transition period starts then and will bring into sharp focus exactly what ‘A New Decade, New Approach’ deal actually entails. The truth is no one knows what the trick was in taking five opposites into a coalition Executive! Set, as it will be, in a post Coronavirus context the Executive will have its work cut out in surviving. Its ultimate test is demonstrating the ability to govern competently as a unit and to boost confidence all round.

Standing at the door clapping in deserved appreciation of our NHS heroes takes no effort. Hats off to them all and their many colleagues in other services making sacrifices to help those in danger. Thank heaven they do not do Green and Orange headcounts.

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