Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Opinion Letters

Making parties outside sectarian bloc your first preference will send a message to the 'big four'

letter of the day: VOTING FOR CHANGE

Your leader column (Comment, February 17) makes sobering reading on how divided a society we still are 20 years after the Good Friday Agreement was signed.

The ray of light is the fact that one-third of all preferences in the last election was for parties outside the big four which have dominated Stormont - DUP, Sinn Fein, UUP and SDLP.

For anyone who wishes to see change, this is a good time to remind voters that STV allows us to take "risks" in Assembly elections.

One way to encourage a move away from sectarianism is not simply to include parties outside the sectarian bloc, such as Conservatives, Alliance, Greens, People Before Profit, Labour Alternative, CISTA, Workers Party, Ukip etc in your vote preference, but to make them a first-preference vote.

This will send a clear message to all parties that we want a normalised society, where politics revolves around schools, healthcare, business, the economy and infrastructure, rather than about divisions relating to history.

With STV, should the first preference candidate not receive enough votes to be elected, a "bigger" party candidate, as second or third preference, will receive the vote, knowing that their election was assisted by people who have expressed a desire for non-tribal issues.

If you want change, it can be achieved by voting for the smaller party you feel represents your values best as first preference. If you still feel you want to vote for a party that represents your historical community group, give them a second preference.

You will then have moved the political discourse a step forward without taking risks you might not be ready to take.

ANNIKA NESTIUS-BROWN

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph