"You wouldn't get this from any other guy"
Congratulations, you've been Nick Roll'd in honour of Nick Clegg. Do bear with me though... I just wanna tell you how I'm feeling about Politics here in Northern Ireland in view of the general election on May 6th. ((This is only my pub discussion opinion and not representative of any group or persons I may be linked to))
As you probably know, in Northern Ireland we vote for MPs to send to Westminster like anywhere else but unlike the now brand based (Americanized) all out commercial politics in the rest of the UK - I gotta make you understand that its likely to be tribal politics that will once again cast its shadow over meaningful policies and debates here. This is because there are a lot of people who are never gonna give you up when it comes to pushing socially divided campaign material your way - flashing national flags and colours on their posters is the least of it. In all honesty I think people who don't vote tribally are put off even participating due to the seemingly foregone conclusion and in your face approach. We even end up with campaign cars being driven around blasting out noise pollution from loud speakers like salesmen from developing nations (no offence to developing nations).
In fairness some of these party's representatives may make decent MPs, but in my view, too many don't! Not at all aided by the fact the traditional divide here shares a religious connotation that means faith based politics also gets thrown into the equation. Such as the case where we are the only part of the UK where a woman's right to choose is forced over the sea and where politicians don't seem to pay much attention to statistics unless it fits into the neat categories of Catholic, Protestant or Other.
So are our current MPs here in NI really representing what is often the silent majority? The sad thing is until people speak up, no one will know. Still, they (our political elite) say they're never gonna let you down, but they do let you down very often by being petty and argumentative. A prejudice that is becoming more and more outdated in the ever increasingly globalised world. I personally feel embarrassed at times seeing those who are supposedly speaking on my behalf talking to the media.
So for none tribal politics, the closest party to the Liberal Democrats in N.I are the Alliance Party who tend to work with the Lib Dems. There are also the Greens and several independents who would also appear to also focus more of their effort to helping their potential constituents in things that really matter most in our every day lives and less about reliving the past. Such MP candidates may be unproven as they've never been given the chance, but we can hope they're never gonna run around and desert you when the time is needed for you to call on their help. Lets face it they can't be much worse.
My current view of politics here is that giving a neutral candidate a vote is a vote for unity and a single community where differences can be respected including those who don't share the traditional view points. It's an ethos that's never gonna make you cry. Sure, if people don't start voting here on policies outside the realms of century old feuds - of decisions made by people and values long since dead - then the political system is never going to work for the people. Rather it will continue to work only for the Politian's and other groups with vested interests.
The politicians who become the spokes people for local issues where national prejudice aren't relevant are never gonna say goodbye unless they are democratically pushed. Even when they trip themselves up with scandles, they're not going to want to give up a good thing and will rarely step down. They may say they're "never gonna tell a lie and hurt you", that "we've known each other for so long" but that doesn't change the fact tribal politics only benefits the few with the polar opinion and those opportunistic enough to fill any voids left.
What about the rest of us just wanting a fairer and pleasant place to live, free from fear and hate and not being imposed on too much by other peoples beliefs?
If like mine, you're heart's been aching because of the frustration of the situation here, but your too shy to say it. It's not too late to try to do something about it. Over time, things will hopefully change for the better, but as the saying goes; there is no time like the present - so this May if you're registered to vote in N.I, think about what you are actually voting for and maybe consider voting against tribal politics. It makes no sense for people to keep voting for the same people over and over expecting things to change. In fact that's pretty much the definition of insanity.
And that vote against Tribal parties to me includes a vote against the Conservative's recent venture into Northern Irish politics - seemingly to try and exploit the chance for an extra seat by investing when stock is low - as they controversially sided with the UUP. Inside we both know what's been going on. They can say all they want about not becoming involved in Tribal politics but when you slap a union jack behind your candidate in North Belfast, either they're insensitive or they're buying into that realm of politics (and lets face it like the republicans in the states the Conservatives are experts at scaremongering) and I'm guessing they probably think, "We know the game and we're gonna play it".
Change probably won't happen at this election but with just a vote, a moderate voice can start to turn the tide towards effective, non-corrupt government that works for the people and not for the facilitation of lining the pockets of a few. It's a lofty goal and power corrupts so you never can know for sure but at least it's worth a shot.
If you were not going to vote because of past experiences or fears of it not being worth the time, please do try to scrape a bit of hope together for politics next month. If you feel the same, let's make the Tribal parties as well as the Conservatives and Labour take note! If you ask me how I'm feeling, it would be that we can all make the difference on May 6th, even if it's just by taking away some percentage points. That's not to say just vote for anyone, I'd suggest to listen to what everyone has to say and don't forget to read the small print :)
Don't tell me you're too blind to see that you've now been Nick-Rick-Rolled. I hope it was painless enough. If you fancy Nick-Rick-Rolling anyone you know, please do pass it on, even better why not Nick-Rick-Roll your own view of politics in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.