The Alliance Party’s proposals for a Shared Future in its For Everyone document gained significant coverage in the ever excellent Agenda NI magazine this month.
What is significant about them is not the detail, but rather the more basic fact that there is detail.
The electorate should expect such detail from all politicians pledging change, but in fact rarely gets it. Most politicians offer only vague sound bytes, and often prefer to present a generalised version of the problem rather than any sort of detailed solution. On top of that, of course, populism reigns – all too often politicians speak only to a certain segment of the population (stating what that segment believes to be obvious) rather than, well, for everyone.
Change is too often presented as a simple and obvious thing. In fact, it is incredibly complex – requiring persuading people that change (at all) is necessary, then presenting the vision of what that change is, and then (most complex of all) managing the actual change. Look at the on-going Transforming Your Care or welfare reforms for obvious examples, in particular, of how the latter is particularly difficult.
Thus we should be very wary of those merely proposing change and presenting it as something simplistic. Those pledging it need in fact to provide the detail. Only then are they worthy or our support.