The campaign to persuade the Labour Party to allow candidates to stand in Northern Ireland – as per the advertisements in the press – is the great news, not least to members of the rapidly growing Conservative Party in Northern Ireland.
Of course the NI electorate should be able to vote for UK-wide parties – thereby having a direct say in the government of the UK.
It is to be hoped that the active presence of both Conservative and Labour in Northern Ireland reverse the somewhat irresponsible tendency not to vote.
Ironically, when compared to the tribal, sectarian, navel-gazing local parties, the Conservative and Labour parties have much in common.
Both pursue socially progressive, 21st century policies – integrated education, equal marriage rights, non-segregated housing, abortion rights and many more.
On the Economy, the major parties have less in common.
Especially since the Corbynista drift towards hard-line socialism.
In this respect, Labour’s long discredited high tax, high spend left-wing policies are right in line with the policies promoted by both Sinn Fein and the DUP.
However, it is a welcome addition to the development of political maturity in Northern Ireland and I wish the campaign success.
Ian Craig, Chair of South Belfast Conservative Association