Election campaigns are exhausting experiences for everyone involved. The candidates and party activists who were successful in the recent Assembly and Council polls will be pleased that all their hard work was worth it. However the biggest single winner at those elections was ‘none of the above’, and that can’t give anyone involved in politics satisfaction.
Almost 45% of voters in Northern Ireland chose not to cast a ballot on May 5th. That figure dwarfs the vote share claimed by any single party and it means turnout is substantially down on 2007. More and more people feel that there is nothing on the current menu of parties to tempt their political palates, or they reluctantly vote for the same old faces, simply because there is no viable alternative.
The Northern Ireland Conservatives plan to change that. We will stand in all the main forthcoming elections, in order to give people an alternative to the same tired old parties. We believe that people here are ready for a local, centre right party, which deals with all the ‘bread and butter’ issues, but is plugged into the UK mainstream.
Our work is already well underway. We’ve opened a new, full-time campaign office for Northern Ireland. The resources are there and we’re building from the grassroots up, giving centre right politics here a distinctive local presence and a distinctive local accent.
A recent survey shows that the average voter in Northern Ireland is moderate and leans a little to the right. That’s exactly where we stand too. We realise that people simply want to be given the tools to succeed. We understand the importance of supporting local businesses and we appreciate that miles of red tape can strangle initiative and entrepreneurship.
That’s why NI Conservatives are spearheading the push to grow the private sector and devolve powers to vary Corporation Tax. It’s about action on the ground, from local activists, who understand local issues and share the values which matter to people: rewarding hard work, encouraging strong families and a strong community.
In order to give voters an alternative, we’ll keep recruiting new members, building from the grassroots up and giving centre-right politics here a distinctive Northern Ireland identity. We have the support of a national party and the means to influence UK politics, but we also have distinctive things to say about Northern Ireland.
It’s going to be an exciting journey and we’d love the people of Northern Ireland to join us.