Tom Kelly makes an important point in today’s Irish News about voting, not least the historic precident of not having it and the contemporary consequence (as he sees it) of not doing it…
Proportional representation was enshrined in the legislation on both parts of Ireland at partition to maintain if possible the broadest reach of representation.
That the north abandoned it for 50 years is a travesty of historical proportions, which allowed militant republicans to propagate and exaggerate a myth to support a mindless campaign of violence.
Quite. His argument also hints back to the real victory of the Belfast Agreement, which was as Frank Millar has framed it, ‘A Triumph of Politics‘ rather than the bomb or the gun.
The architectures of the Belfast and St Andrews agreements were necessary evils of their time in order to create the space for some good, but clearly do not produce the outcomes that a modern functioning, accountable and democratic administration requires.
But more importantly these forthcoming elections should not bear the brunt of our frustrations about Stormont as they are about Europe and local government and not the dysfunctional nature of the assembly. Next year’s elections too are about Westminster. In any of these three elections one can actually change the political representation if there is a will to.
If one wants to send an electoral message, these are the very elections were one could shoot the messenger to get a message to the authors. Not voting or spoiling your vote is like wetting yourself in the dark, it may momentarily feel good but no-one but you will notice. [Emphasis added]
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty