“It’s clear that some big political questions remain..”

The BBC’s Jim Fitzpatrick, ahead of Sunday’s Politics Show, provides a quick summary of the contrast between the image presented by the Businessmen of God On Tour in the US and in Europe.. and the reality on the ground here.. From Jim Fitzpatrick

But on the ground, the opinions are more diverse and the picture is definitely more complicated. It’s clear that some big political questions remain – not least the issue of resolving the past as we have seen this week. For victims and survivors of the conflict there is nothing past tense about their desire for justice. Their concern is that a political agenda fixated on being a “good example”, won’t countenance “horrible warnings” from the past. On the bread and butter issues we find a complicated picture too. Far from enjoying a peace dividend bounty the executive faces a slowdown in public spending over the coming years. Peter Robinson may have frozen domestic rates, but new taxes – such as water charges – are on the way. In order to meet public spending commitments Sinn Fein ministers will continue a privatisation agenda they claim to detest. Private sector workers face uncertain times, with the uncertain global economy already claiming many jobs. And in the public sector, pay freezes and job cuts threaten industrial unrest on a scale unseen for decades.

Adds As Mark points out in the comments zone below – It’s a limited [international] image being presented.

Although I should point out that I’m ambivalent about a posed handshake.. I’d rather see evidence on the ground here.

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