[I sent the following letter to the Financial Times.]
I’ll jump right off the fence and state that I, too, want to see Northern Ireland’s politicians held democratically responsible for their rhetoric and platitudes, as Edward Mortimer concludes (‘As separate as ever’, 17 July).
Yet I would not dare trust the same politicians with unilateral power in a form of legislative devolution. Not least before the rights (and responsibilities) of individuals were entrenched.
It is not as though individuals in Northern Ireland do not have preferences from the present stock of local pols. It’s just that, as admitted by Mr. Mortimer, ‘the vast majority of voters support parties which confine their appeal to one side of the sectarian divide.’
Social engineering, lack of power and/or will of British (as well as Irish!) government may not in itself bring a political settlement. Yet one must be found. And the most important input is by the people of Northern Ireland.
With the present ‘peace process’ (and all of its shortcomings in terms of real politick conflict resolution) and the existing political party system (yielding polarised representatives), forgive me for not placing faith with the politicians.
A more serious fundamental redress of the freedoms of the individual and his/her associations is in order. Who has the will to impose this solution?