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Spoiling your vote is an impotent protest when you can pick an alternative to the main parties

letter of the day: constructive options

Published 29/04/2016

I'D take issue with cynical commentators who suggest that voters should spoil their votes, or even not bother voting, if they are frustrated with established political parties at the Assembly. There are very many alternative options at this election.

Smaller parties and independents may not be entitled to become ministers, but they can still have an important influence, which has the potential to be enhanced with new provisions for an Opposition at Stormont.

Indeed, it was an independent MLA, John McCallister, who tabled the Opposition Bill which became law last month, and there are other examples of single Assembly members making a profound difference.

It is often independents and members of smaller parties who introduce new ideas to the stale pool of Northern Ireland politics, which eventually start to change how the main parties think.

It's often a frustratingly slow process, but it would be slower still without the constructive influence of a small number of MLAs.

It is understandable why so many are exasperated with the Executive and its failure to deliver. Politics is changing, though, and it will change further in the future. Rather than spoiling your vote, or refusing to vote, as an impotent protest, or a sign of apathy, why not vote for one the many constructive alternatives to the five big parties, so that some new ideas and influences can take root in the Assembly?

TREVOR RINGLAND

Holywood, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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