Recently the chairman of the Conservative Party, Grant Shapps, came to Bangor to launch the NI Conservatives’ European election campaign.
Our candidate for the poll, which takes place next May, will be Mark Brotherston, a commissioned Major in the army, who teaches engineering at Belfast Metropolitan College and specialises in European Project Management.
Hopefully you’ll hear a lot more about him over the coming months. We think it is really important to give people the chance to vote for an NI Conservative.
Our party is on the centre-right of politics and we’re proudly Northern Irish, but we’re also a full part of the UK Conservative Party family. That’s why Grant Shapps, the party chairman, came to Northern Ireland to back Mark’s campaign. The point is that people here are sick of parties which are Orange, Green or something in between.
They’re fed up with the waste and inaction that current incumbents preside over at Stormont and the fact that they take the same mentality to Westminster and Brussels.
In contrast, we believe the focus should be on jobs, health and education. Naturally, in a European election, European issues are critical. We think that Northern Ireland benefits from the UK’s membership of the EU, whether through the Single Farm Payment or European Peace funding.
As well as that, we believe that people deserve a bigger say in how the European Union is developing and Mark will be the only candidate whose party can deliver a referendum on EU membership to voters.
The European Election can also effectively be a referendum on whether the people of Northern Ireland want more of the same, or whether there is a genuine appetite for real politics, tackling issues and getting involved at all levels of government.
It makes sense for people to get behind Mark if they want real politics, no matter where they see themselves on the left-right spectrum. Northern Ireland will be deluged with elections over the next few years. People will be fed up with politics, and the same old parties saying the same old things.
Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of staying at home, the people of Northern Ireland used next May’s European Election as an opportunity to give a clear message that they want real politics and change? That’s what NI Conservatives’ believe Mark Brotherston’s campaign offers and that’s why we believe it is so important.