“Northern politics should be recognised as a baleful embarrassment”

Some stark, but not inaccurate, analysis from Stephen Rainey and Jason Walsh in the Irish Examiner.

The “new dispensation” has, by design, no politicians of merit capable of dealing with realpolitik. The people trying to deal with the untended ills of a once-fractured and still lost society grumble and fumble, but the political power to engage with the problems locks itself in Stormont, discussing what the “two communities” need. This dereliction of duty is eerily echoed by the ongoing dereliction of much of Belfast itself.

As long as politics remains designed solely to ward off the return of the conflict, peace will never be a possibility. The Troubles won’t return. Mostly, the minds of ordinary people are on other things, such as having something resembling a life.

The people absorbed all the rhetoric about peace, stability, and normality. They took it onboard and now want to reap the benefits. But the political movers have no idea how to attain normality, or what they’d do if they achieved it by mistake.

The democratic solution would be to step up, to stand and deliver, but in the fractured, lost nature of Northern policy there is little chance of this. The lines are too heavily drawn and serve only those doing the drawing.

The institutions are dysfunctional and factional. “Justice”, for instance, is a republican-unionist issue, so it is not really about justice, it’s about balance. On this and every other issue the balance must be struck between the “two communities”.

Northern politics should be recognised as a baleful embarrassment. We have no lessons for the world on reconciliation, save as a cautionary tale.

Read the whole thing.

And, until we become more Enlightened…

Adds  A, possibly, related post from the Slugger archive – “Justice is the glue that holds society together.”

After all, as Michael Longley said, “peace is the absence of war: the opposite of war is custom, customs, and civilization.” But anyone seeking lessons from here should also beware the poisonous foundations left behind.. and the blindness that such a Process™ demands.