The curious tale of the effective politician
Over the last number of months I have been keeping a close eye on the plight of the homeless in Belfast City Centre – if you have been reading my infrequent blog posts and listening to my podcasts, I thank you. If some of you feel that I have been boring the arse of you, I apologise – my interest peaked following the 5th death on the streets this year, and I had taken to early morning walks this last year or so, but outside of that it is certainly not an obsession.
On the 19th May 2016, I sent a letter to all “major” political parties and to the Belfast City Council, asking them what their individual view was on the plight of the homeless.
Surely this was a subject where common sense prevailed and common ground existed?
As someone living in the City Centre, I had been plagued with flyers from all of the political parties, treating them all with the same levels of ambivalence.
If its not the local elections, its Brexit.
If it’s not Brexit its the US Elections.
Full disclosure here – I trust none of them.
I sent my letter out almost a month ago in a genuine search for an answer to the question: “What is being done about the issue with those people living on the streets?”
In the local elections, People Before Profit shook the status quo and probably come closest to my own personal political viewpoint, but they don’t even have an office in Belfast- I had to send my letter to their Dublin office.
It says much about electorate apathy that so many would vote for a party that doesn’t even have a city-based office – no doubt they will eventually have an outpost, and I commend them for bucking the system against such a closed shop, but I’ll wait until they affect any obvious change before I start voting for them.
Homelessness would have been a good cause for them to champion but 4 weeks on, I still have not had a reply.
For balance, I haven’t had a reply from Sinn Fein, UUP, Alliance Party, TUV and the PUP and it is with no sense of pride at all that I can tell you that the DUP had replied within a week and have since responded to a second letter.
The SDLP too, have replied – 3 weeks later, but they’re busy, right?
I’m disappointed but not surprised at the other parties.
Selfies and spin over substance?
Maybe, but overall if they cannot reply to the letter from a genuinely concerned citizen how will they ever galvanise enough support for the people on the streets who need answers?
I struggle to applaud a party like the DUP whose core policies, I find objectionable on so many levels.
Their use of the “I” “Me” and “My’ when they talk about collective authority is arrogant.
Their position on LGBT rights.
Yet when I received a letter from Nigel Dodds MP, I was pleasantly surprised – though he did manage to shoe-horn the word ‘mandate’ into the letter….as for the rest of the content, that’s between him and I.
The Belfast City Council with the ruthless efficiency one comes to expect from those well versed in back-covering also replied – 2 letters all well written but leaving me none the wiser as to what the immediate plans are for the homeless in the city centre.
Don’t tell me its complex – I know it is and its also not BT9.
Which is why I wrote the letters in the first place.
The people I meet on the streets are not unionist/loyalist/nationalist/republican/irish/british/european/migrant/local….they are just people who’s lives have been fucked up by people more powerful than them.
24 hours after the murder in England of Jo Cox MP and in the middle of a political campaign which is bordering on a pub brawl, it is maybe time that we all had a long hard look at ourselves.
Cerberus comes to town as an unregulated 3-headed dog and we let him in.
The Kincora scandal looks like it will be brushed further under the carpets.
Media owners can hack phones of dead children, and cover up internal child abuse on an industrial scale.
Somehow the North needs 603 political representatives to govern 1.8 million people.
Turkeys for Christmas, anyone?
Last week I took a trip to St Kilda with a few cousins and couple of friends.
It was deadly. If you dont know about St Kilda, you should do something about that…its an awesome place.
On the 9 hour drive to Skye from Belfast, a song came on the play list from the 1960s…Barry McGuire, The Eve of Destruction.
If you haven’t heard it, check it out.
I’m not a hippy, I just fucking hate being lied to.
Thanks for getting back to me Nigel.