Monday 13th February 2017
The right to vote in a free and democratic society cost many of our ancestry a severe and sorry price. I, for one, have cherished my right to vote and will continue to exercise that right for as long as I am able.
This weekend I was challenged (by another party’s MP, Councillors and MLA staff workers) to publicly state what advice I give to electors with regard to how they should vote and subsequently transfer their preferences. It would be remiss of me to declare anything other than the message I have verbally delivered whilst canvassing on each of the election campaigns I have fought.
When I canvass any doorstep my primary purpose is not to sell an ideology, party or other interest, in fact I don’t even tell them to vote for me. I simply ask them to apply a litmus test across all candidates with regard to the issues that are most important to them. It is always useful to explain what that test looks like for me and to encourage the person to adapt it for their own use. This is my test:
- How honest do you consider the candidate to be?
- How much integrity do you consider the candidate to display?
- What is the candidate’s public record and what does their experience in life tell you?
- Does the candidate’s position on moral issues reflect your own and if not how do they treat those with opposing views?
- Does the candidate really want to deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland, represent and/or respect the Union within the UK?
Voting is a democratic right and a personal issue but as a proud and constructive Unionist I would certainly hope that, if you apply the criteria above against all the candidates in your area, Unionist candidates from whichever party measure favourably and meet most, if not all, the tests.
I am determined to be part of a revival in constructive Unionism that is attractive to all persuasions and helps to heal and build Northern Ireland into the country that it should be.
Let’s change the narrative together and vote for HOPE not fear.