MLAs’ curious lack of curiosity


This is a German word without obvious translation, but it is always the first word which comes to my mind when I think of Stormont. It means really “idea-less” in the sense of “lacking in things (ideas) occurring to you”; perhaps “lacking in creativity” would cover it in some circumstances.

I was reminded of this by one correspondent over Christmas, who remarked how he found so many MLAs “lacking in curiosity” (his term).

Indeed, I spoke to a German interpreter who worked with a delegation from the German State of Baden-Württemberg to the Assembly, who remarked to me that MLAs did not ask their visitors a single thing about where they were from. Baden-Württemberg, a diverse State (a third of the population of its largest city, Stuttgart, have no German passport) with among the very highest living standards in Europe on the back of a flourishing economy (think Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and countless companies in areas from pharmaceuticals to accounting), is apparently of no interest whatsoever to us. It subsequently elected a Green First Minister, the first in Europe, for the record.

This lack of curiosity, tied to a lack of creativity and basic ideas, is deeply troubling. Frankly, we should not be electing people who are not interested. The penalty is isolation and parochialism, leading inevitably to standards of policy-making, legislation and governance which fall well below the best globally.

We always expect the rest of the world to be curious about us. It is time we were led by people who were curious about the rest of the world – einfallsreich, perhaps!


3 thoughts on “MLAs’ curious lack of curiosity

  1. 416 says:

    This is a wee bit troubling. I’m no psycholo-anything, but this lack of curiosity sounds like it fits well within the narcissism umbrella. I guess I’m not surprised. We have so many talking heads in Stormont who appear to be chasing their tales all the time, it’s no wonder they havent the wit to stop and take a look around.

    • I think you’re on the money there.

      There is a sense in any political class, among almost anyone who receives a personal mandate indeed, that they are a bit special and know rather more than they actually do.

      One really notable exception to this, someone always willing to listen to advice, was John McCallister. Of course, he soon got the boot by the electorate…

  2. malcolm halliday says:

    yes i think you are right the fact in so called working class (particularly so called loyalist areas the views of the local DUP MLA seems to be taken as not to be questioned -i mentioned to your good wife i queried why a new community hub in belvoir was not having a wi-fi hotspot or any internet access -a member of the local loyalist flute band said it was because christoper stalford said no their couldnt be. – but nobody had queried why this was the case, people who support the two tribal blocs in NI tend to want their public representatives do do their thinking for them -what did marx (carl not grocho) say about the lumpen poletariot? !

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