The Northern Ireland Office (NIO; implicitly, the UK Government) threatened the NI Executive with maintaining 2015 as Assembly Election year and the failure of a potential economic package if it didn’t get serious about a “Shared Future”.
The NIO needs to be quite clear – it still isn’t.
Despite this, the NIO has already yielded on the election date. Perhaps this is understandable – the same has happened in Scotland and Wales.
However, for any economic package to have a serious impact where it most needs to have one, a “Shared Future” needs to be central to it, not to come after it as the Finance Minister has advocated.
The NIO, civic society, the Alliance Party and everyone else needs to understand something clearly and indisputable: the DUP and Sinn Fein are not serious about a “Shared Future” and never will be.
I have said it countless times: a “Shared Future” doesn’t suit political parties who have built their entire power base on a “divided past”. Even if they believed in attaining one, they would have no motivation whatsoever to do so. That is why we have the “groundhog day” of yet another re-named document with no concrete “SMART” actions and no questions answered about where the funding is actually coming from.
If people want a “Shared Future”, they’re going to have to vote for one. By and large, so far, they haven’t.