Tag Archives: #YesinMay #yes2av

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.


Why I’m Backing Fairer Votes? – Stephen Glenn NI Organiser

9 Dec

Stephen Glenn out campaigning for Fairer Votes

As I am heading up the campaign for Fairer Votes here in Northern Ireland I thought it was only fair to let you know my story as to why I feel strongly about this issue.


Back in late 1985-6 we had the mass resignation of Unionist MPs across Northern Ireland and the subsequent by elections in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The bulk of January found me off school on study leave for my mock exams, which is why on one Wednesday morning I found myself in Bangor’s market. Through the mêlée I suddenly found myself facing the rather familiar figure of one of Northern Ireland’s leading politicians, alongside the local recently resigned MP and then mere Unionist candidate for North Down Jim Kilfedder. A familiar voice then asked me:

“Young man, can Jim here rely on your vote on January 23rd?”

I replied:


Then seeing a startled look on both politicians faces expanded with:

“I don’t think I should vote for something or someone I don’t believe in, and I don’t believe that what you have done is correct. So if I were old enough to vote on the 23rd, I would not be voting for Mr Kilfedder.”

Being only 16 at the time and studying for my O’levels it was quite a brave response to Ian Paisley. But it was something that once I had the vote was something I have always stuck to. In each general election that I have voted in since that date I have gone to vote and placed an ‘X’ my only allowed mark next to the candidate that has most closely matched what I believe in. Sadly not once what that vote elected a member to Parliament, nor has it even gone to the person in second place.

Does it mean my views are any less valid that the many people who do get a say in the handful of close contests across the country? In my opinion yes. In the six Westminster elections I have voted in three have been tight races for the top spot, one involved 3 candidates none of whom were the candidate I voted for. Not one of the winners in those races had a majority of the voters backing them.

So half the time I have voted in Westminster elections people around me have been some of the few thousand who get to make a decision about how our country is run. Sadly the only way I could have done that would have been to vote, not for who and what I believe in but for whichever of the front-runners was least bad.

For the other half of the time I have voted in a constituency where the MP has what is pretty much a job for life. They may not necessarily have over 50% of the people voting for them but enough more than anyone else that there is no clear competition for their place. This can lead to the MP not giving all that they can do for all the people that they represent, because they only have to do enough to not upset those that are going to vote for them anyway.

AV will make your MPs work harder to get and keep their jobs. It will do away with the dilemma of do you have to vote tactically and not for who you believe in with you first preference. It will also go some way to tackling the jobs for life culture as it will shake more of our MPs out of complacency.

Join me in making sure that the people of Northern Ireland Vote Yes in May. Go to the Yes to Fairer Votes website and sign up to help. If you can spare an hour or two (or even more on a regular basis) either before Christmas on in the New Year make sure you sign up for the phonebank, and get involved telling people why you too want to see fairer votes for Westminster.

I look forward to hearing from and seeing you help out on this campaign for a small change that can make a big difference.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in the ballot – and second preference drawn

6 Nov

Michael from Fairer Votes Belfast putting out the campaign leaflets.

A successful evening was had at the first Fairer Votes Belfast event at the North Down and Strangford Alliance Associations’ Table Quiz at the CIYMS Clubhouse in East Belfast. We’ve signed up some volunteers. Although the Fairer Votes Belfast team didn’t come first in the quiz, we didn’t come last either.

Stephen, the campaign manager, did have ballot tickets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and on the second draw out came number 1. So that seems like a good result for our team.

Every table had a few leaflets for our campaign and between two round Stephen addressed the assembled throng. We even had debate with the Green Party in Northern Ireland‘s MLA, Brian Wilson, who was there with his wife Cllr Anne Wilson.

Alliance MLAs Stephen Farry (North Down) and Kieran McCarthy (Strangford) signed up for their support.

We look forward to working with all our supporters in Alliance in the coming months as we work to get Northern Ireland to say

Yes to Fairer Votes on May 5th.