I’ve tried to GoogleFu this but came up with nothing.
There needs to be a political ‘purity test’ which can be applied to a local political manifesto. Some of the items I would suggest…
- Do they support raising the bar for education in schools (especially with regards to computing education)? I know this is a personal desire but I believe it is an important one. And, Estonia is leading the way here – programming will be applied to everyone in school from age 6.
- What is their stance on equal marriage? It doesn’t really affect me (being a white male heterosexual brimming with privilege) but I would have to question the motives of any political party who refuse marriage equality for all. Why do you want to stop people from getting married except under your definitions?
- Do they understand the economic priorities for Northern Ireland? Because we have a hundred lobby groups who all want their little slice of the pie to be the economic priority. And, as anyone with half a brain knows, you can only have a short list of priorities before all you are offering is lip service to any of them.
- Do they support total transparency on finances? This means the supplier relationships local authorities and also donations to political parties. Because if they want to hide this information then they have to be suspect for their motives. Are their supporters some kind of nutter? Are they buying policy?
- What is their policy on parades and illegal organisations? If you support flying flags of illegal organisations (involved in murder) then you’re part of the problem. If you support parades going through anywhere but city centres, then you’re part of the problem. Keep parades the hell away from where people live.
- What’s your policy on integration in schools? If it’s any less than 100%, then you’re just propagating the issues we’ve been suffering with for my entire lifetime. Religious instruction in state-funded schools is not appropriate. Religion is a personal experience. Keep it in your family and your congregation.
By answering these questions (for starters), it might be possible for a political party to thrive based on a simple theory. We’re here for the people, all of the people.
Some more added via Twitter:
- Are they prepared to fight for local services that are necessary? And not just those that win votes.
- Are they at all realistic and prepared for the removal of the block grant in 2016? Is their response just “Fight the Cuts” or are they preparing their plan for how to keep the country ticking (rather than just turning it into a ticking time-bomb?
- Are they prepared to apply the law to all without regard for historical or cultural sensitivity? This means no by-ball for their mates in the lodge (Orange or Hibernian). This means no unofficial vigilantes. This means more than simple “condemnation” of the violence.
- Are they prepared to help make Northern Ireland a great place to live? This means not pandering to one side or another and it probably means doing things that might be unpopular.
- Do they support the ridiculous opening hours restrictions placed on shops on Sundays? And not to mention the restrictions on pubs and nightclubs. We’re not a “party region”, we’re barely a tourist friendly region. Give tourists something to do on a Sunday morning other than listen to dreary bells.
- Do they support the teaching of Creationism in schools? This is a hot topic considering that government is trying to increase interest in STEM subjects and including a mythology alongside science is counterproductive. Creationism is a great story for goatherds two millennia ago. Let’s keep it for Sundays and get it out of our schools.
- As they all represent minorities, what about referendums? Can the people actually have a say in things that matter? Items such as the sovereignty of Ulster, unification with Ireland, abortion.
- Public transport has to be the future, so where is the investment? I’ve waxed about Free Public Transport as a social and economic leveller before. Climate change isn’t going away. (Thanks to Darryl in comments)
- What about a strong stance on improving the lots of sex workers? These people exist and they’ll never go away. So think hard about making their voices heard and working for their safety rather than criminalising the activity and forcing the issue underground. That just makes a bad situation worse. (Thanks to Nine in comments)