People across Newry and Armagh have an opportunity tomorrow to vote for an Alliance Candidate who is firmly committed to developing a Shared Future where diversity is celebrated and division tackled.
Examples from throughout the world show that where diversity is celebrated creativity abounds and the economy grows. We need a new society led by politicians who recognise this fact and are committed to tackling division rather than merely managing it.
Whilst others are obsessed with the politics of Orange and Green, Northern Ireland remains divided and opportunities are being missed.
The costs of division in Northern Ireland are estimated to be approximately £1billion. Many opportunities could arise if we tackled division and reinvested the money saved to create jobs by delivering a Green New Deal. A vote for Alliance is a vote for a Shared Future and Jobs.
Over the last number of weeks I have been extremely impressed with the vibrant nature of Newry and Armagh cities plus the surrounding towns. Whilst the Celtic Tiger may have been tamed Newry and Armagh is still roaring with passion and determination. The challenge ahead is to ensure ongoing sustainable economic growth whilst also protecting frontline public services and the environment.
If elected I will fight to both protect and create jobs, working to ensure the area benefits from a “Green New Deal” for Northern Ireland. The “Green New Deal” proposed by Alliance would, if implemented, create many jobs whilst also safeguarding the environment. As Alliance Candidate in the forthcoming election I am also committed to protecting the area from the drastic funding cuts proposed by the Conservatives.
Newry and Armagh is a fantastic area. From Slieve Gullion Forest Park to the Newry Canal and the Orchards across Armagh County it has some of the most amazing attractions and is a great area for people to enjoy. Whilst we work to grow our economy we must ensure our local environment is protected.
If elected I will work to ensure the introduction of strong legislation to stop businesses and individuals from harming the environment. I will also work with MPs from the Liberal Democrats, our Sister Party, to ensure the British Government works hard to gain international agreement to tackle climate change before it is too late.
When meeting people from the Constituency the recent expenses scandals have often been raised. People are rightly annoyed that some MPs abused the electorates trust and feel disconnected from politics.
As the Alliance Candidate I understand why people feel annoyed and disconnected but will work hard to ensure that action is taken if elected. MPs should be treated and act in exactly the same manner as other public servants, paid a decent wage but without special perks.
The current “winner takes all” electoral system for Westminster Elections must be abolished. Everyone’s vote should count and a new fairer system introduced similar to the system used for Council and Assembly Elections in Northern Ireland.
On Thursday 6 May the electorate in Newry and Armagh will have the opportunity to select who they want to represent them at Westminster. A vote for me is a vote for real change away from the politics of the past and towards a new Shared Future.
5 May 2010