If the phrase ‘a week is a long time in politics’ is correct, this week alone has felt a lifetime of twists and turns.
It is looking more and more likely that a snap election will be called in the coming week, while this is far from the outcome which many of us wished for, this does provide Alliance with a key opportunity we must take advantage of.
Like many of you, I would guess, I joined Alliance because I believe we are the right party to lead Northern Ireland. We are the party which looks past the tribal orange and green politics that have dominated the country. We are the party fighting for equality, fighting for an end to division and fighting for a bright and inclusive future for Northern Ireland.
In the last few years alone, scandals such as NAMA, Red Sky, SIF and now the abominable mess that is RHI, have clearly shown us that the current executive is not fit to run this country. Arlene Foster has been beyond woeful as First Minister. Her arrogance and inability to admit when she is wrong has been nothing short of disgraceful. This has been followed up with her accusing her critics of being ‘misogynistic’ in asking her to step aside for an investigation, it’s almost laughable.
Almost… until we see the next generation of citizens, being taught by our erstwhile First Minister that if you are being criticised, plead discrimination.
Almost… because of the legacy she is leaving in her wake, that a policy set up to encourage greener energy consumption, is literally leading to burning fuel for the sake of it.
Almost… until we look at the fact that because of the incompetence of her and others this country is set to lose almost £500 million over the next 20 years.
Money which could have been used to fund schools and hospitals. Could have been used to tackle problems of homelessness and aid the current refugee crisis. In short, money which could have provided so many key services for people who really need it. But instead, it’s going to be quite literally burned. And yet she has nothing to apologise for. No contrition. No humility.
Enough is enough.
The Executive has failed this country. For too long the DUP and Sinn Fein have dominated politics and continually shown that they are unable to work together for all communities. We’re all fed up of failed leadership, false promises and hypocrisy. Of a lack of openness and transparency that is desperately needed among our politics.
Northern Ireland is sick and tired of the lies and of the refusal to move forward. The country is ready for the change and we are the party to bring it. This election is our time to get out and show that we are the party which puts the citizens first. We are the people willing to work with all, to secure a better future for this country. With issues such as Brexit going to dominate the next few years, we are needed now more than ever.
So I am asking all of you, if you can give the time, please help with this election campaign. Contact local associations, see who needs help with canvassing, encourage and talk to your friends and family about how crucial it is to vote. Even if you aren’t able to give as much time on the ground, use social media to your full advantage. Like, share and post statuses letting everyone know Alliance’s message. Help to fight the good fight and move this country forward.
Northern Ireland is ready for change. Alliance is more than ready to deliver it.