Time for Northern Ireland participation again in national politics and the Government of the UK
letter of the day: on the sidelines
I'm sorry Northern Ireland has no say in the initial rounds of the leadership of the Conservative and Unionist Party and of this nation.
Northern Ireland parties have little influence in Westminster and, again, we in Northern Ireland watch from the sidelines with negligible contribution to national politics and the greatest national debate of our generation.
At general elections the two unionist parties continue to act as populist nationalist parties, with the DUP saying they will have balance of power at Westminster (which never happens) and the UUP similarly having little influence at Westminster and national politics.
Sinn Fein don't take their seats and the SDLP and Alliance have loose, ineffective, semi-detached relationships with Labour and Liberal Democrats.
It's time for Northern Ireland participation again in national politics and the Government of the UK, which was so prevalent a century ago, just as we currently participate in other aspects of national life through sport, music, drama, education and the armed forces.
It is welcome to see Labour organising here alongside NI Conservatives - both of whom continue to offer pro-Union alternatives open to all and the possibility of real participation in national political debate. As a member of the Conservative Party I do, however, look forward to participating in the final stage of the election of our next Prime Minister, which looks like it will be between two very capable women.