Editorial - Time for genuine leadership

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Napoleon Bonaparte once said that a leader is a dealer in hope and that is definitely a mark of leadership that is needed in the North at the moment.

As the various political parties consult on the proposals put forward by US diplomat Dr Richard Haass to deal with the controversial issues of the past, parading and flags, real leadership is needed now more than ever.

While there is no doubt these are hugely divisive issues which will not be resolved overnight, all parties entered into a process to responsibly find solutions and they owe it to the public to do just that.

This will require leadership.

Some leaders have already signalled their willingness to move forward with accepting and implementing the proposals, despite having misgivings about certain aspects.

Others, however, have retreated to their comfort zones.

Unionism in particular has never been short of people describing themselves as leaders but it has been poorly served in terms of true leadership over the years.

Now unionist leaders have an opportunity to demonstrate real and decisive leadership and offer a message of hope to their communities.

Hiding behind old defences and clinging to symbols benefits no one.

This will not be an easy step for leaders who are more used to peddling a hard line, particularly with elections looming, but it is clear there is a growing demand for change from all sections of the community.

Rejectionists intent on blocking progress must not be allowed to exert undue pressure against the hopes - and democratically expressed views - of the vast majority of people.

It is time for bold and courageous leadership from all parites in order to create a more hopeful future.