Partnership government is not achieved by merely forming a conditionally compromised coalition. Power sharing is a contract with the electorate. The sham parody of unity operating in the Executive fools no one. Vandalising the legitimate hopes and aspirations of a hard pressed people is intolerable. Their performance is dismal .
Politically there is no experience in handling anything like this pandemic nor its resulting economic recession. That cannot mean that the issues win and society is insecure. If ever leadership was required it is now!
Brexit is a separate matter. It is a looming reality which cannot be ignored. Brexit brings change and opportunity. It must not be used to cover the inadequacy of poor management or as a lame excuse to fight a lost battle. There is no benefit in creating a moaners’ charter to play at facile blame games.
Northern Ireland is taking a massive economic hit over the impact of Covid-19. Unemployment at 65,000 and rising – Companies sinking in the fools’ paradise of furlough payments to employees. Many will not re=open – Thousands including sizeable numbers of young workers face problematic job prospects – A false dawn of expectancy therefore arises as the lockdown is lifted.
Unavoidably there will be job losses. It is here that enterprise lift off needs government backing to protect jobs and rejuvenate all business sectors. Hospitality, commerce, industry, retailing and small concerns require confidence to rebuild. It is less than useless to have Ministers ensconced in their bunkers.
Reports advising of the potential bleakness ahead are not surprising. The issue is why did it take so long to face the realisation of dealing with a sustained period of deep depression? Facts, figures and stark statistics are not damned lies. The public have been stoical in obeying the lockdown rules. They cannot be stuck in the mire and left to work out their fate at the hands of political incompetency and developing complacency. People deserve solid capable leadership to follow and endorse. Right now they wonder from where the leadership direction is coming? There is a clamour for ‘operation survival’ which cannot be ignored. Yet to many the perception is that this Executive is impotent – not equipped for the challenge to rise above the current doom and gloom to make post Covid-19 and post Brexit a recovery era, not leading by example when it comes to exuding confidence, failing to provide the political stability necessary to attract new investors, failing to detail a viable economic recovery plan, not standing up for Northern Ireland as an entity with a secure future.
The question Mr. and Mrs. Ordinary are asking is this, ‘where are the Executive taking us? ‘Why? because the positive link between Stormont and the people remains incomplete. Scientists, medical officers and bankers are not elected – politicians are and they alone must take the decisions. It is time for the Ministers to act as a responsible collective and earn their spurs.