McClarty joins growing Unionist voice for YES!

27 Apr

Londonderry East's David McClarty says YES!

Watching tonight’s UTV debate on the Alternative Vote referendum you would think that all the unionists in Northern Ireland were saying no. That is not the case as member of the both the main unionist parties are supporting the Yes! campaign.

But it is those outside the party machines who are standing up for fairness to the voters, something that is contrary to the no campaign’s claim that smaller parties and independents don’t support a move to the Alternative Vote. One of the first major unionist voices to back the Yes! campaign was Dawn Purvis who attended both our campaign launch and banner unfurling.

One of the other independent unionists from the last Assembly, East Londonderry‘s David McClarty has also added his voice to the campaign for a yes vote next Thursday. David was one of the moderates who left the Ulster Unionist party as it took a more hardline stance after the last general election, an election in which they attempted to tie themselves to the Conservative party for political gain.

David is on of the growing number of politicians in Northern Ireland who has realised that the people want fairness. When one five* in six of our MPs last May were elected with less than 50% support many voices were not heard. When the two main unionist parties attempted to stitch up a couple of seats by standing just one candidate against nationalist incumbents they showed contempt for the voters. It is something that they continue to do by saying no to the Alternative Vote.

Not one of the DUP’s MPs secured over 50% of the vote last year, indeed the three MPs with the smallest mandate were all in the DUP. For each vote David Simpson, William McCrea or Gregory Campbell received there were 2 votes against. This shows that the current system is only fair to the politicians allowing them to get elected with as little as one-third of the vote.

The Alternative Vote means that the winning candidate has to get over 50% of all the valid votes. That is a winning post that the politicians and parties cannot so easily control, that decision about who gets there lies in the preferences of individual voters. Elections will become more competitive as the candidates will have to reach out widely to gain that level of support.

Vote Yes! on the 5th May to have your say in who becomes your MP, to have your voice heard.

Remember that to vote in Northern Ireland you need to take your ID with out on polling day between 7am and 10pm.

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part)
  • A UK, Irish or EU passport
  • An electoral identity card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass
  • A Translink 60+ SmartPass
  • A Translink War Disabled SmartPass
  • A Translink Blind Person’s SmartPass

* correction thanks to Joe Smith’s comment – nobody’s perfect.–Ed.

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5 Responses to “McClarty joins growing Unionist voice for YES!”

  1. DBIRKIN April 28, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    I think it is a shame that you do not consider votes that choose not to preference either of the top two parties as ‘valid’..Under FPTP people who vote for smaller parties may not have an MP that belongs to their chosen party, but at least they are valid. Does AV not amount to disenfranchisement? Could explain why Australia has only a two party system

    • fairervotesbelfast April 28, 2011 at 9:58 am #

      By valid we mean those ballots that still express a preference once their first or subsequent preferences have been eliminated.

      Recent findings have shown that only 18% are so entrenched as to only express a preference for one party and over 60% will choose a multiple number of candidates/parties. If we have a system that allows people to rank in order of preference in place this may well change. For example here in Northern Ireland or in Scottish council elections last time people are less likely to express a preference for just one party than those findings.

  2. DBirkin April 28, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    My point is, you don’t become invalid by not voting for more then 1 party, you could vote for every party except the past two and be seen as invalid..

    You can end up with results where people can claim majority backing on just 37% off the vote, because 30% of the vote was ‘invalid’..this is a real example from NSW by the way.

    If the system looked at all the second preferences you would probably find that in this example one of the eliminated had broader support than the winner…but as this is obviously a political fix to keep out the small parties, they wouldn’t want that.

    Vote no to AV

  3. Joe Smith April 28, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    There is a little error in this piece. It says “one in six” NI MPs got less than 50% of the vote last May. This should of course be “five in six” MPs.

    • Michael Carchrie Campbell April 28, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      well spotted – now fixed.

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