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East Belfast must reject the lure of sectarian politics

Published 15/04/2015

In May 2010, the electorate of East Belfast rejected sectarian politics and elected Naomi Long as their MP. Today, the pan-unionist alliance is hoping to bring East Belfast back into the fold of sectarian flag-waving politics.

Naomi Long was born in working-class East Belfast (unlike her unionist opponent), with a father who was a member of the Orange Order. She (like many other residents of Northern Ireland) are glad to be citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but do not need to use the flag of the nation in coat-trailing and antagonising exercises as the pan-unionist alliance are so keen to do.

East Belfast has never been in any danger from republican, or nationalist, takeover and the people who have caused most problems - and still do - in the area are the loyalist paramilitaries.

Naomi is a seasoned politician, who is respected at Westminster for the work she has done while there. She has also been employed in the real world outside politics with a degree of success.

Her young opponent is apparently a nice young man, but with no experience of the real world, or hardline politics.

As a senior citizen of East Belfast (and a proud citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) I hope the electorate does not return us to sectarian politics.

I hope that we have moved on from the stage where politicians from either Orange or Green only have to fly flags and play sectarian tunes to get the vote of the masses.

Let's hope the wise men are able to follow the genuine star.

JIM REYNOLDS

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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