Participation in democracy in NI is still strong

Morning View
Morning View

The polls are closed and we will not know the results until later today.

But it is interesting to hear that the turnout seems to be quite high.

One thing that can be said with confidence: the democratic impulse is still strong in Northern Ireland.

There is a huge amount of interest in current affairs.

General participation in politics is high when it comes to voting.

This of course is linked to the fact that the society remains divided and there is so such much at stake.

But it does mean that however disillusioned people feel, there is not yet a high level of disengagement.

Across the UK there was high participation in the Brexit referendum.

In Scotland in 2014, there was high turnout for the independence referendum.

President Trump, whatever people think of him, brought many people into politics as new voters.

There must be something that can be harnessed from these trends, despite the turbulence of the results.

For all the shouting and aggression on social media, at least people feel strongly about how the world is structured. The worst thing is when no-one cares and no-one gets involved.

There is a huge range of candidates for people to choose from in most European elections.

It would be a very unusual person who looked at the range of candidates on offer in most elections and could not identify a single one who was preferable to the others.

Whatever the results this weekend, it seems set to be a difficult time at Stormont. But much of what has happened under devolution has been positive. Voters are as close to power as they have ever been.

Let us hope that a sensible administration can be salvaged from the new assembly results.