In a piece that passed us by Pauline Mellon had some interesting observations to make about council politics in Derry.
I haven’t blogged for quite a while due to family and work commitments but that doesn’t mean that things have escaped my notice. On the contrary, there is little that escapes my notice as my boys will tell you, whether it be on social media or on the ground.
Social media can be a great tool when used appropriately. It allows us to communicate with people across the world, to keep in contact with friends and to find people with similar interests. However, in the wrong hands it can be quite divisive and even dangerous as the actions of a few have shown recently, including an MLA who would appear to have regressed to his days in the school yard.
As the damp continues to rise in dormant Stormont (if only they had a wood pellet burner eh!) the problems continue to grow on the ground, with those preaching the need for leadership unwilling and in my opinion unable to provide it. And, even if they were in some way capable, it would only be a short-term fix to the unworkable long-term solution of power sharing which in theory sounds great but in practice is representative of an orange and green carve up from which few benefit, outside of those with their noses in the trough. The rest of us get the scrapings of the barrel and are fed propaganda which quite frankly is becoming increasingly stomach churning and as tiresome as the false promises.
I read an excellent proverb recently, ‘The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe as its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them’. This could be reasonably applied to the thinking of the electorate here, reasonable in that no matter how many blows are aimed and cuts are made people are still content to vote those responsible into power in the hope of progress.
You know the elected representatives I’m talking about, the type who clap a man into a position before wishing him well, then two weeks later initiate a witch hunt against him. What I’m referencing here is the campaign to have Deputy Mayor Derek Hussey removed from Civic Office. This was followed by a game of political football on Thursday in the Council chamber which was played out in full view of families who lost loved ones to drink drivers. And what should be noted here is that a council motion is a mere corporate position which is not enforceable. Any decision to stand down from his position will be a matter of personal conscience for Councillor Hussey.
And, considering the history of some of those who have held seats in the council I would say that those without sin should cast the first stone. Then again, a few weeks after all the back slapping and congratulations if I was Derek Hussey I would be directing the following question to my fellow Councillors, and in particular the Mayor John Boyle who publicly wished Derek Hussey well in his role as Deputy Mayor; “Et tu Brute”?
This game of political football didn’t stop there. On the very same evening, Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly fell foul of an online Sinn Fein Kangaroo court just weeks after the last in which Councillor Kevin Campbell made the following comment in reference to Councillor Donnelly.
In this most recent Kangaroo Court the most notable contribution came from MLA Raymond McCartney who referred to Councillor Donnelly as ‘Donzo a Bonzo’. When I read this I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and thought it must be great to be all grown up and get paid £131 a day to sit on your backside hurling insults on Facebook. It wouldn’t be so bad if the insult was at least creative, but Raymond’s level of insult was so absolutely sub-par and childish even by primary school playground bully standards he’d be laughed all the way out of the playground. However, something that this has made abundantly clear is that Raymond McCartney is no Seamus Heaney. Raymond should stick to his day job, the one he’s getting paid for not doing…
Maybe it’s time for those in public office to face up to their responsibilities, end their hypocrisy, and stop playing silly playground games. A recent report highlighted the increasing reliance on foodbanks, this follows a report from the National Audit Office which outlines that universal credit
is driving people to food banks, causing rent arrears and could end up costing more than the benefits system it's designed to replace. Yet the best we can expect from an overpaid and extremely underworked MLA is ‘Donzo a Bonzo’, and from others silence.
In closing, this week I received a glossy leaflet from one of the main Stormont parties outlining how much they are doing and all the great things that are happening. On the same day parents of pupils from a local school received a letter advising families who may find it difficult to get kids back to school that they are working with SVDP and families could contact the school for support. This to me proves that the local schools are more tuned into the needs of the people in the community than many of those claiming to represent us.