NI deserves better. Or does it?

People unsure whether they will have a job in the autumn; whether they will get that vital operation this side of 2019; whether their children will get into the school they want… the economy, Health and education appeared, curiously, to be the issues people claim to care about but were absent from the talks process.

Northern Ireland “deserves better”, we reassure ourselves.

Well, no, actually, it doesn’t. Northern Ireland deserves exactly what it votes for. It voted for identity politics in place of good government so that’s what it’s getting.

That’s the thing about representative democracy. You get precisely what you vote for (or what you allow others to vote for while you sit at home).

It is no good asking politicians to show “courage” when those who voted for them didn’t, opting instead for the safety of the communal numbers game. It is no good asking politicians to move beyond party political interest when they were given a mandate to promote precisely that interest on a communal basis. It is no good expecting politicians to prioritise good government when they were elected to prioritise other things.

You get what you vote for – and you don’t get what you don’t vote for.

And you deserve what you get – and you don’t deserve anything else.

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