Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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More Positions Than at a Contortionist's Convention.

Pauline Mellon is exercising her democratic right not to vote in the upcoming Westminster elections. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist and justice campaigner in the North West. She Blogs at The Diary of A Derry Mother.


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People rarely fail to amaze me although I must say what some people still choose to believe does, particularly when it involves buying into the regurgitation of the empty election promises. You get so many people telling you of how they cast a vote so as not to waste it.

However, by doing this we buy into an electoral process that is so diminished in the eyes of the public that nearly as many people don't vote as those who do. The turn out during the last Westminster election in the north of Ireland was 56.6% which was down 7.8% on the previous election.

This year I will use my ballot paper to write none of the above which I believe should be an option on the ballot paper. I had intended on voting SDLP on a tactical basis and in the absence of a credible alternative candidate however due to recent events I have since changed my mind.

A few weeks ago following a heavy handed police raid on the home of an older woman in Creggan I contacted the SDLP and asked Mark Durkan directly if he would be issuing a statement to condemn her treatment as is standard SDLP procedure with other forms of intimidation. Sadly this did not happen.

The other thing which has irritated a lot of people in Derry is the continued vilification of SDLP Councillor Sean Carr who it would seem has been cast aside by the party for supporting his son. In this election the SDLP have went as far as excluding Sean and his contact information from their election literature. If this is how this party treat their own members then how can they be trusted to fairly represent the views of the people, but then this is the same party that recently accepted the Stormont pay rise just two years after they opposed it.

The other option we have in Derry is to vote for either the DUP or Sinn Fein. The DUP operate in a very unequal manner whilst Sinn Fein claim to be all about their base and equality. So much so they recently revised the significance of the Easter Lily when Councillor Sandra Duffy announced; “Today, in 2015 it symbolises the possibility of unity, equality and prosperity for all the peoples of the island.” I was led to believe that the lily, a symbol of peace, is to be worn in remembrance of people who died fighting for their country, but there you go, revisionism Sinn Fein style.

When reading Westminster Candidate Gerry O'hEara's contribution to Sinn Fein's annual Easter Commemoration the following sentiments sparked my interest; “For Sinn Fein, the Proclamation is not a piece of history, it is a living document, a guide to the type of Republic that we want." Adding “The Proclamation in its principles continue to guide this generation of republicans, a generation that can, and will, make good on the promise made in 1916."

With Gerry recently reintroduced to the fold as an alleged fifth choice candidate he may want to discuss the above statement with his party who for a long time have criminalised republicans who have used the “living document” as a “a guide to the type of Republic” they want. The question that needs to be asked in light of the above comments is are Sinn fein now supporting the right to use armed struggle or are they just cherry picking through the bits that suit them? Furthermore Gerry's comments seems to contradict Martin McGuinness's assertion that the Free State army are Oglaigh na hEireann. Oglaigh na hEireann was the name used for Irish volunteers and the IRA in advance of the establishment of the Irish Free State.

Nearing the end of his oration Gerry went on to hail Sinn Fein's efforts in fighting cuts to front-line services and promised 'to cherish all children of the nation equally'. Oh Gerry how out of touch you are, I suggest you read the papers or failing that my blog!

Today our politicians seem to hold more positions than those at a contortionist's convention, they are so embarrassing that they were banned from the recent national leaders debate despite Nigel Farage being given a platform.

If you get a chance I recommend you read Bill Bryson's 'A short history of nearly everything' . The chapter 'life itself' gives a fascinating insight into some of the turbulent and seismic changes that have shaped the face of the earth, including the Permian extinction 245 million years ago that lead to the end of the reign of the dinosaurs.

In the course of the chapter it interestingly states: 'extinction is always bad news for the victims, of course, but it appears to be a good thing for a dynamic planet'. Ian Tattersal of the American Museum of Natural History is quoted as saying The 'alternative to extinction is stagnation' adding 'stagnation is seldom a good thing in any realm.'

I can't help but thinking of our politicians when thinking of fossils and stagnation, and it would seem that when writing this chapter the eminent Mr Bryson has summed up the Jurassic politics of Norn Iron, stagnant. Maybe for us to create a more dynamic place to live we need those dinosaurs in Stormont to take permanent gardening leave. With Stormont failing to put people above ideology or party politics it has become stagnant and the ordinary person an after thought in their endless deal or no deal games.

2 comments :

DaithiD said...

I wouldnt even make the effort to spoil the ballot. We have elected dictatorships in the west, and a tyranny of the 51%. We call it democracy, and have made it an idol.

Niall said...

Great article Pauline, I too will not vote....again....I haven't voted in well over a decade...there's no-one to vote for.