I haven’t decided who I’m voting for yet in the upcoming general election. I’m trying to see through the typical election bullshit of empty promises and mudslinging to see which party really represents the county I want Northern Ireland to be. The only thing I have decided, is who I’m not voting for.
I don’t want to talk about the importance of voting, Niamh Writes has a brilliant blog post on the importance of voting in this election over at her blog. The only thing I’d disagree with her on is when she said, “Northern Irish politics is slightly nauseous and frustrating”, I think it’s extremely nauseous and frustrating. I got a leaflet through my mailbox this morning from a my local candidate for the People Before Politics party. Throughout the entire leaflet, the only perceivable hint of a policy is how he will, “fight against the ever encroaching spectre of Irish Republicanism and their constant attempts to rewrite history”. This is problem number one. Too many of our politicians are hung up on fighting for where NI should belong too, and too many voters are willing to make that their deciding factor. Forget what they believe in or stand for, forget how qualified they are, are they Unionist or Republican is all that seems to matter.
The second problem is the system itself. The Petition of Concern for example has been repeatedly misused, chiefly by the DUP to block the introduction of same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland. Now granted, I’m a little biased, being someone who one day hopes to marry someone of the same sex, but surveys show Northern Ireland is the most homophobic country in Western Europe, and this homophobia is rife in our own parliament. It’s not good for the reputation of Northern Ireland on the world stage, and it’s certainly not good for the thousands of gay kids growing up in the country.
The third problem is sheer apathy on my part, and the part of many others. Thankfully this is a problem we can solve ourselves. So many people are sick of the country being run by out-of-date nut jobs wielding bibles and maps with imaginary borders on them. The only way to change things, is to not vote for them. This is where I look to the most apathetic demographic in the country; young voters. Young voters are so disenchanted by our Government that they’ve just given up hope of anything changing. What’s the point of voting when things will be the same anyway. But they don’t have to be the same. Go out on March 2nd and vote to make a change based on your values and hopes for the future. Rather than voting for the “Big parties”, take a look at the smaller parties or independent candidates. Most importantly, vote for what you want the future to look like, rather than what’s occurred in the past.
Go out and vote; drag the country, kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.