Our View: You Have A Voice, Make Sure It’s Heard Tomorrow

It’s not often on this site that we feel the need to put up an editorial view. Generally because the editorial team on this site have diverse political views and even if we tried it would be difficult for any consensus to last longer than five minutes, today is an exception however.

Tomorrow is election day. All of us who have registered will have the opportunity to pass judgement on our Executive and local MLAs.

The ability to choose your law makers is something not enjoyed by everyone around the world.

Nor have many of the generations who have gone before us always enjoyed the right to vote.

Tomorrow, YOU have the power to make a real difference. Not just for yourself, but for your family, friends and neighbours.

We have read with increasing despair the predictions that turnout could fall below 50% for the first time in an Assembly election.

Whilst we believe it is okay to feel frustrated with our political leaders, we equally feel that if you feel disengaged, it is only with your vote can you change what is on offer.

Similarly if you are a supporter of the current Executive, then it is only with your support can you keep what you feel is working, going.

At this election we have more choices than ever before with parties/independents across the spectrum running in all 18 constituencies.

Just 10 minutes out of your day tomorrow can impact what our MLAs do for the next five years.

Our politicians may not be perfect, nor has this campaign set the world on fire, but opting out is genuinely a cop out.

Engaged citizens create an engaged political class and if you think none of it impacts you, take a scroll through some of our soapboxes over the past five years and read the stories of those campaigning for change and see why exercising your right to vote tomorrow matters for others.

In that spirit of “all of us being in it together” please use your vote tomorrow.

 

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  • Jenny Muir
  • Toaster

    Looking forward to seeing all Sinn Fein’s hard work on the ground pay off. Best is yet to come

  • And even if you’re a hardened cynic, at least pop into your polling station and leave a charming protest statement on your spoilt ballot paper. Show your love.

  • What’s this we, kemo sabe?

  • Msiegnaro

    ??

  • Toaster

    Why so puzzled?

  • Msiegnaro

    Are you trolling with that statement?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    To all Working Class Loyalists out there who feel that they have been left behind in a political carve up ! give this political party a chance to represent you VOTE PUP NUMBER 1

  • hugh mccloy

    This will be the first election since 1998 where i wont vote I might leave a message on the back of the ballot might, its goes against most of what i have ever said parties need voted out but there is the problem no one on the list meets the criteria of change

  • hugh mccloy

    sf will no doubt rise in the percentage share of a falling vote base.

  • Brendan Heading

    You are waiting for a candidate who will never come. In the meantime, compromise candidates – ones who could move some way towards where you think things should go – will lose out as a result of your abstention.

  • Lee

    Maybe Labour Representation Committee as No.1 on the ballot paper to show support for Labour NI’s democratic rights to be allowed to fight elections as currently denied by UKLabour’s NEC. They will likely be eliminated very quickly but more votes will show they have support in NI. Then your second preference for whoever should count just the same and the working class vote will not be split but will consolidate each other and help provide more voices.

  • Johnny Magnum

    No real point in voting as the equation is simple – majority Catholic area votes majority for SDLP /SF. Majority Protestant area votes Unionist. Your vote means nothing. If we all not part of this tribal dogfight that is Northern Ireland, then we all would be making the Alliance Party the largest in terms of seats but we don’t.

  • Lee

    If there is anyone out there in the South Belfast bubble please give Claire Bailey of the Greens a high preference as I have £2.50 on her to be elected. Many Thanks

  • Lee

    Come on mate, not sure which constituency you are in but there must be some independent or small party you could be giving your vote to, or at least your enemy’s enemy is your friend.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Too late Lee, we used to play that game with Paddy Lynn to get his fpv up then falling down on top of a PUP Candidate, but to be honest there was only about 30 of us who knew that game. The Loyalists have ran a pretty good whisper campaign in South Belfast. If you are at the count on Friday observe the PUP Number 1 ballot papers and then where the transfers go – Last Transfer will be GREENS (which on social issues pretty makes good sense)

  • Lee

    And Greens bodes well for my £2.50 bet 🙂 see above.
    It is good to hear of working class unionists getting politically aware. Do you think PUP can get elected in South Belfast? I think Dr Kyle will make it in the East; are you aware of any such whispering campaign in the East? I

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Don’t know what you got Claire Bailey Odds at but Paddy Power was touting 13/8 3 hours ago. Good Bet ! I am also on her along with John Kyle in East. I also wanted to do a treble with Billy Hutchinson in North but they did not give odds for North Belfast.
    No – PUP cannot get elected in South but should hit about 1500 fpv good base for a councillor for Sandy Row/Village/Pass in a few years time (Very much badly needed for these people).
    No other whispering campaign I know off only in South !

  • Neil

    No thanks, I’m staying home. I’ll make it to the ballot box in June, when it matters. My voice will be heard tomorrow and it will say a definitive “meh”.

  • Lee

    I think I got 9/4. It would be interesting to hear where all the other unionists parties transfers go, especially Bob Stokers.

  • Teddybear

    I’m looking forward to voting Conservative 1 and TUV 2

    I’m tired of all the main parties and their pan handling to Westminster and seducing US investors with the bait that our people are cheap to pay.

    I believe that only a short sharp shock of weaning NI of the teat of public spending will kick start initiative and self reliance.

  • hugh mccloy

    I am waiting for my second coming 😉 no one will loose out in Mid Ulster on me not voting them, as a voter i must be as responsible as the politician I put in. I stood last time and given different circumstances I would have stood again just to give the option

  • Declan Doyle

    Best of luck to all parties and none. Fair play to all who put their names forward and put up with the bull and bluster. To the good people of Northern Ireland, go out and have your say.

  • On the fence!

    I am somewhat fortunate in that I’ve an opportunity to vote for someone who actually makes his objection to our ridiculous and undemocratic system known at every opportunity therefore I can express my opposition to it by voting.

    But I have to admit that If it weren’t for that I would definitely struggle to find the motivation.

    Also think that this is a bit of a sideshow this time with the main event coming up in June.

  • Croiteir

    It is arrogant of you to say that opting out is a cop out. Many like me will not be actively not voting as we have no one to represent our views.

  • Colin Lamont

    Some potential upsets I see:
    – 2 Alliance in East Antrim
    – 2 Alliance or 1 Green in South Belfast
    – 1 DUP in West Belfast
    – 1 TUV in South Down
    SDLP just pipping Alliance in North Belfast is another possibility.
    PS no prediction thread?

  • Declan Doyle

    then you have a responsibility to put yourself forward as an alternative. You you have no intention of voting for someone and no intention of standing then you surrender your right to have your views considered.

  • Croiteir

    Have you got the money for that? I don’t and I also think it is a bit arrogant for you to tell me what my responsibility is without knowing anything much at all about me. As my views are not represented adequately by those standing then I cannot have surrendered them

  • Croiteir

    Looks like something that would have been written by South Belfast Diary blog. Whatever happened to the girl that ran that blog?

  • Gopher

    Yup it will be interesting to see how many of the 9560 votes the SDLP votes polled in South Belfast in the general election were tactical

  • Jag

    Fair point Croiteir, but what distinguishes you from the apathetic wretch who just doesn’t bother or acknowledge their rights and duties in our hard-won democracy.

    Better to turn up at the polling station and spoil your vote, maybe writing “None of the above” across the ballot paper to show your position.

  • Heather Richardson

    Okay then. Will I get a share of your winnings? 🙂

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Would it not perhaps be more “representative” to have a more “direct democracy” such as the Italian party “Five Star” recommend? I cannot see why at a time when, rather than requiring someone to professionally represent your political views in an assembly, those views could be made known directly by regular consultation by referendum electronically as a norm for all actually interested in the issues. I can understand the old representative system in the nineteenth and twentieth century when such a more “direct democracy” was far too expensive to consider, but now, and in a small polity where it would be very easy to effect?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I entirely agree Croiteir! Why should any of us give authority to people with whom we utterly disagree to represent our interests?

  • Jenny Muir

    She moved to the mysterious East….

  • Nevin

    Some thoughts from Sam McBride:

    Despite the trend towards disengagement between much of the electorate and their politicians, slowly in recent years some people have begun to realise that refusing to vote doesn’t stop politicians from governing.

    Whether on issues as diverse as hospital waiting lists, school transfer tests or abortion, opting out of politics means that the people who decide what you can and cannot do in many areas of your life are chosen by others.

    You have no say in how they are selected but you are equally bound by the laws they make and the decisions they take.

    In this election there is actually enormous choice, with as many as 18 candidates – spanning virtually the entire political spectrum – in some constituencies.

    Remember that your ballot paper in combination with thousands of others in your constituency has the power to reward politicians who have served you well – and to dismiss those who you want to punish.

  • Skibo

    I ask all who will not vote today to look through history and see how long it took for your forefathers to be given the chance you have been given today. Many people have lost their lives for the privilege that you have not earned.
    Look down through the list of people standing in your area, mark down pros and cons for each and vote for the one who suits you best.
    You will not find a perfect match especially if you do not run with the herd but for your one vote, you may bring in someone who will strive to achieve one of your aims.
    Do not leave it up to chance.

  • Colin Lamont

    Indeed. I think that constituency will be a three way tie for 1st place

  • conals

    Very interesting fight going on in North Antrim and it’s a lot to do with loss of two factories in Ballymena and TUV hitting DUP hard in the Bannside and Ballymoney DEAs where the TUV topped the poll in the Council elections. DUP noticeably absent in canvassing in the area and look like they just haven’t bothered trying knowing that ‘Titchy’ Gaston (TUV’s second to Big Jim and current Dep mayor of MEA) is doing well and is considered ‘the local’. DUP’s not going to have all four candidates through and might have a fight for it’s third.

  • Declan Doyle

    Totally agree, the Swiss model seems to work well.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Seriously Declan, as one of the two (pre-McGuffin) anarchists from the old PD, I’m genuinely pleased to be finding agreement with you on this! I’d want to see a people directly empowered at the grass roots, and take Bob Dylan’s injunction “Don’t follow leaders” very seriously, after all I woulden’t let others buy my books for me or pick my food (which I grow myself where I can). I’m very interested in “Five Star”, even thought of floating a local version (“Cúig Réaltaí”) but a lot of serious artistic commitments intervened with me getting a website up and going.

  • Lee

    I think 3 pints and it will be all gone, you’re welcome to one of them 🙂

  • Colin Lamont

    I didn’t even consider North Antrim but they’re all valid points. Still think the DUP brand will put three over the line.

  • conals

    You might well be right but they will have it difficult this time. The TUV is killing them in parts and both UU candidates are proving popular in Ballymena. I suspect fielding four candidates was a mistake given the pressures this time. Two through with ease but the third will be well down the count.

  • Teddybear

    Just having voted in South Belfast I have to point out that having such a long voting slip rendered the lower half visible to those outside my rather small booth. The counter top was small and not big enough to hide/ place the voting slip entirely within the booth

  • Gingray

    Nobody matches any of your views? Are you that extreme?

    What are they?

  • Ryan A

    LOL that says to me don’t be voting for anyone you wouldn’t stand over in public then 😉 Down with the secret ballot!!

  • Teddybear

    There is no moral compunction for anyone to publicise who they vote for. That’s why we have secret ballots to avoid intimidation.

  • Croiteir

    No. They are. No to SSM. No to Abortion and no to Unionism. I follow the direction of the bishops on this one.

  • Sharpie

    Jeepers you can vote all of those by using 1,2,3 on your ballot. Unless you are voting for yourself or you have no mind of your own you will never get one party to represent all your wishes. It’s the weakness of the party system, but hey it’s the system that we’ll be in for the next 50 years at least. Like much in life – there’s a compromise to be made.

  • Sharpie

    wrong – if we want this place to change it has to be the parties that are there that change. There is no hero coming to save us. DUP and SF and the other two have to make peace. We all have to make peace. They reflect us, not the other way round.

  • Croiteir

    No I cant – no one gets past the start line. I just cannot understand why people do not understand that these are the absolute must haves. After that the horse trading begins.

    To repeat.

    Anyone who supports the murder of children in the womb or relaxation of their right to life is out. Anyone that supports the redefinition of marriage is out. Anyone who supports the disastrous union with Britain is out.

    Those who can make it to the starting post can get my vote – otherwise they simply are not good enough.

  • Croiteir

    Conal

    I will leave the gutter talk to you.

    However once again I note that the arrogance of some on this site that cannot accept people have a different view from them is astounding – especially as most of them would consider themselves as liberal. This exposes the contradictory nature of liberalism – it has turned the subjective into the objective and liberalism raila against those who question their paradigm. Your assertion of what I may do in a given situation actually reveals more about you I would argue than me. You plainly expect me to be a man of negotiable morality. Sorry I am not for sale. And that is reflected by my refusal to vote. It is called principle.

  • Stephen Elliott

    None of my forefathers would have lifted a finger to support this obscenity known as Stormont. I will not even spoil my ballot so that some commentator can mislead over turnout figures. I cannot endorse a failed system.

  • Ryan A

    Sorry, my sarcasm doesn’t carry on the net. I’d take your point seriously if you didn’t just post who you voted for anyway above.

  • Skibo

    Grand, don’t endorse it but at the same time don’t condemn it as you were offered the chance to change it and refused.

  • Skibo

    But by not engaging you are actually giving them the very authority you want to deny them.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Try telling Gandhi that! Or William Rooney, who developed the concept of non-violent resistance that Gandhi developed his own thinking from through the Antrim Road couple James and Maggie Cousins. Oh, I’m engaging, but without authorising any of this scandalous gifting of our rightful powers to “representatives” who then sell them on, one way or another, to vested interests, some this even thinking that their connivence at creating wealth for the few is justified by the fact that a few jobs fall to locals in the process.

    I refuse to implicate myself in this! Are you really suggesting above that I should vote for someone I entirely disagree with (pretty much every politician here), simply so that I am “engaged”?

  • Skibo

    Gandhi ” If I take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle the snake”
    William Rooney was involved in the commemoration of the 1798 revolution. It was the history of this revolution that stirred the birth pangs in the Irish people at this time and was a major cause of the 1916 revolution. Not sure on his thoughts on voting.
    Margaret Cousins suffragette who did time for violent actions striving for the vote for women.

  • Tochais Siorai

    The Bishops directed you not to vote Unionist?

  • submariner

    Skibo Stormont is a farce governed by two extremist cheeks of the same arse. Found myself unable to Summon up the enthusiasm to cast a vote.

  • Teddybear

    LOL fair enough.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Skibo, how does any of this suggest that by refusing to use a vote to authorise those who will simply sell the power my vote gives them to the highest bidder, I am somehow “giving them the very authority you want to deny them”?

    They will shore up their corrupt system whether or not I go and vote. William Rooney, if you read him, was concerned to change things by effective non-co-operation, same as the other two. Through Margaret Cousins he influenced Gandhi to approach direct action, rather than rely on others to do the real political work, as every representative system suggests we should actually do (“Just vote and then shut up for the next five years”). Not my idea of seriously empowering a people.

  • doopa

    We aren’t really offered an opportunity to change it – more of a kind of give it a new paint job.

  • Skibo

    Maybe so but you will definitely not change anything by not voting. The only way to change things is to form pressure groups, get your message in the news and show you have support for it. If there are no votes in it, they wont touch it.

  • doopa

    I guess many people feel there isn’t much point in painting sh*te as ultimately it is still sh*te. And voting isn’t the only way to effect change anyway. Most of the big changes haven’t happened by voting, voting is more for reinforcement around a set of existing parameters.

  • Skibo

    Maybe so but a bit of paint will help the sh*te to blend in and it will also help kill the smell.
    What changes happened without voting?