Sticks and Stones

By admin

Whether politics is an art or a science may intrigue the academics, but for many of us in Northern Ireland it is a deeply dispiriting and often quite ugly spectacle. Let me balance that by saying unequivocally that our leaders deserve a great deal of respect and support, for they are in the public eye and often have to make tough choices – sometimes between the bad and the very bad.

Yet respect and support need to be earned, as well as given, and can quickly evaporate. The very poor language so often used in our public discourse is a sad commentary on us all. From Stormont, local council chambers, public meetings or via the media, there comes a steady drip of language that demeans and denigrates both people and ideas. And, let it be said, it is not only voiced by politicians but by too many of us in wider society (including overtly Christian people.) Just look at the blogs on many news items or the responses of audiences on radio and television.

We have created a society where public debate is often characterised by aggression and a deep unwillingness to listen. I am …read more

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