Northern Ireland’s answer to Natalie Bennett last week was Alex Attwood.
Early last week he stated clearly and without doubt that it was time to stop investment in south and east Belfast and shift it all to north and west.
Within hours he was contrite, going on the media to correct himself.
Firstly, but less relevantly, this showed what a mess the SDLP has become. One of its own leaders decided to go out on a limb without even contemplating the consequences for his colleagues. Demanding no more investment in one of your Westminster seats, when you only hold three, is the height of selfishness if nothing else.
Secondly, and more worryingly, it is total garbage. If Mr Attwood thinks he can direct innovative global firms with turnovers many times that of the entire Northern Ireland devolved budget specifically to invest in north and west Belfast, he has simply lost the run of himself. Besides, Belfast is in total just 100 square kilometres – it’s not exactly unknown for people to make the mammoth twenty-minute commute from one part of it to another and there are these wonderful things called buses and trains to help where necessary!
One thing which damages investment anywhere, in fact, is such ludicrous public representatives promoting such a ludicrous silo mentality. Until we forget these daft silos and promote Greater Belfast and all its people as a whole, we will never enable it to reach its full economic potential and create the jobs and wealth we need.