I have a new hero. After nearly three lustra away, I've mostly lost touch with politics in Northern Ireland, so I listened with some interest to today's edition of Beyond Westminster, in which the BBC's recently-retired Ireland correspondent, Denis Murray, discovers the state of the country. At one point, he was interviewing the head of the Orange Order following the DUP's raising of the parades issue in the recent discussion over policing and justice, and after listening to the usual statements about history and so forth regarding the parade in Drumcree Mr Murray, to his everlasting credit, replied,
Get over it. Times have changed... it's time to move on! This is the kind of thing I'd like to hear more of, and from some of the interviews that Murray conducted, it sounds like people in the Province are starting to agree.
Another comment in this programme also piqued my interest: it seems that the Northern Ireland Assembly has no Opposition. The Executive is a power-sharing agreement, with ministerial posts going to members from all four major parties. On the one hand, this ensures collective decision-making, but on the other, and this was the point of view of the contributor talking about it, it means that all the parties have a vested interest in the status quo, meaning no real driver for change.
I'm not sure what to make of this. While I've been a staunch supporter of proportional representation for a long time, something which almost inevitably leads to coalition government, I think that having no opposition to poke the government on a regular basis probably isn't healthy for democracy.
Finally, on an administrative note, Blogger, which has powered this blog since its launch in 2002 has deprecated FTP support, meaning that I will have to migrate to a new platform. There may be some disruption, and I apologise in advance to anybody reading this through the LiveJournal feed if it goes mental (as it has done in the past).