Vote for different type of politics

The election on May 5 is a chance to vote for change

The election on May 5 is a chance to vote for change

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The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) generation has had completely different experiences to our parents. We most likely have very different opinions to our grandparents on many issues. The future of Northern Ireland is ours. Or, it will be if those in power now can make it appealing for young people to stay here, find appropriate jobs and eventually bring up their own families. Soon the main political challenge to the traditional parties in NI will not be: ‘can we convince our followers that we will stand up to our political opponents?’ it will rather be, ‘can we convince a new generation that we have enough ideas, drive and skill to make NI a place they want to live and work in?’ Without the commitment of the GFA generation the future success of our society is at best uncertain.

The Good Friday Agreement Generation has had completely different experiences to our parents. We most likely have very different opinions to our grandparents on many issues. The future of Northern Ireland is ours. Or, it will be if those in power now can make it appealing for young people to stay here, find appropriate jobs and eventually bring up their own families.

Soon the main political challenge to the traditional parties in Northern Ireland will not be: ‘can we convince our followers that we will stand up to our political opponents?’ it will rather be, ‘can we convince a new generation that we have enough ideas, drive and skill to make Northern Ireland a place they want to live and work in?’ Without the commitment of the GFA Generation the future success of our society is at best very uncertain.

At the moment the five main political parties are not up to this challenge. This is in some part due to the political system that they have to operate within, however, with the introduction of an Opposition and a clear shift in demand for a more collective power-sharing Government, this argument is not as strong as it once was.

All the main parties that made up the last Executive are unfortunately stuck in the arguments of the past – they are still defined by the Troubles. The parties who delivered the Good Friday Agreement have never fully understood or realised the potential it unleashed.

A focus on the GFA Generation and on young people more generally is to be welcomed. But, there are in fact many more people than the GFA Generation who want something different. Many of them have turned away from politics and given up on changing things. I would urge these people to vote for a different type of politics on May 5th where you have it. Imagine if each constituency in Northern Ireland returned one Independent MLA like John McCallister. What a different place the Assembly would be. 18 independent voices demanding real politics, focused on making society better for everyone.

Vote for Independents, vote for small parties that share your values. It can make a difference now - and in the future it will transform everything here.

Paul Wyatt, South Down