Once again another election is upon us with the upcoming Westminster vote taking place on Thursday December 12.
This is no time for complacency among the unionist electorate.
An array of parties labelling themselves as ‘progressive’ have come together in what they are billing as an election of Remain vs Leave.
Unionists need to focus on the real agenda behind this smokescreen. Sinn Fein will use the results of this election, just like every other one, to further their ‘united Ireland’ strategy.
Their claims that the electorate view Westminster as an irrelevance and are looking to Dublin and Brussels post-Brexit referendum clearly back this up.
The SDLP’s hypocrisy knows no bounds as a result of them getting involved in this charade. They have claimed many times that abstentionism is a flawed policy yet in the same breath are now endorsing it by stepping aside to increase the chance of a stay-at-home Sinn Fein MP being elected in North Belfast.
Alliance claim that they are the party for all but they are certainly no party for unionism.
Naomi Long likes to think that she speaks for the silent majority in Northern Ireland, never mind East Belfast, but with her recent jumping from pillar to post come each election it is difficult to keep track of where she actually is speaking from.
Sinn Fein’s reciprocal goodwill gesture is to stand aside in three constituencies that they have no chance of winning.
While Northern Ireland’s political position within the UK is guaranteed by the principle of consent, any gains by nationalist parties will be used to agitate and push for a border poll.
This will only breed further instability at a time when there are many social issues that deserve the priority of focus of our political institutions.
As in previous statements, the Independent Loyal Orange Institution does not intend to endorse any particular unionist party or candidate.
On many occasions we have called for unionist unity so we recommend that in this election that voters in marginal constituencies should carefully consider which Unionist candidate has the best chance of winning the seat.
If there is no danger of vote splitting, votes for any unionist candidates help to maintain the overall unionist vote.
You have until Tuesday 26th November to ensure that you are registered to vote and Thursday 21st November if you wish to apply for a proxy/postal vote.
A strong representation of unionist MPs needs to be returned to Westminster.
A bad election result could be determined by those who stay at home. Make sure that you do not fall into this category.
• James Anderson is Imperial Grand Master Independent Loyal Orange Institution