Tuesday 6 June 2017

How To Vote In Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland politics differs from the politics of the rest of the United Kingdom. The General Election this Thursday gives Northern Ireland votes the potential to demonstrate how passionately they believe in the things that really matter here. But it's not quite that simple and many of us who will wander to the polls may be confused as to how our vote should be cast. Here's a "how to guide" to the process:

1) If you like the idea of perpetuating the stagnation that we have enjoyed over the last few years, then of course vote for the exact same people as last time. What's the worst that can happen?

2) If you firmly believe that what's important is "keepin' themuns out" then of course you need to vote for your tribe regardless of policy. Helpfully, the parties tend to put a flag on their campaign posters to help you decide which tribe they belong to! 🇬🇧️🇮🇪️. NOTE: The Green Party, despite their greenness aren't green in the tribal sense!

3) If you like the idea of voting for a candidate who won't go to Westminster and stand-up for your rights, needs, wants and desires and you prefer your MP to have no voice whatsoever in the democratic process then you should vote for Sinn Fein. (I hear the arguments that suggest that while they don't take their seats, they do a lot of work in the background lobbying - but hey, I prefer my politicians to follow process!)

4) If you like the idea of voting for a party that puts their needs before yours and attaches importance to their religious beliefs above all else; if you like the idea that treating others with disrespect on account of their gender, sexuality, faith (or lack thereof); if you like your politicians to be corrupt despite their "holier than thou" Bible-Bashing rhetoric; if Red Sky, Nama and RHI made you feel proud rather than ashamed, then you should vote for the DUP.

5) If you think the time has come for our politicians to actually knuckle down and do some work and start focusing on Education, Health, Employment, Infrastructure, Equality For All, Human Rights, A Post-Brexit Plan and actually making Northern Ireland an even better place to live, then vote for the team that has put together a set of policies that match those requirements. Their manifestos are all available here:

6) If you think that your vote doesn't really count and that there is no point? Then think again. If all non-voters actually voted, the makeup of the political landscape here could be VERY different. Vote. Get your friends and family to vote. It only takes a few moments and you only need to be able to construct an X and put it in a box.

Remember, your vote is YOUR vote. Nobody else's. Nobody need ever know where you put your X. (Not that you should ever feel ashamed for voting for what you believe in.)

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