Okay so last week I wrote a post about Northern Ireland politics, before saying I would continue it soon. This is that continuation. Will we delve into a part 3? That all depends on how long this part takes.
The last post finished up with me saying Northern Ireland had had another election on Thursday. As with anything back home, we had to wait quite a while to hear the results, and I can now finally tell you that while DUP won (28 seats), Sinn Fein were close on their heel (27 seats). The country had its biggest turn out since after the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Unfortunately, DUP are still putting Arlene Foster as their First Minister and so Sinn Fein are refusing to form a new government with them until they name someone else as leader of the party. So as of Monday 6th March, they were given 3 weeks to have discussions and come to a conclusion. Maybe I will need a part 3 when we finally hear the end of this!
But going back a little bit, some of you may be aware of a mini rant I had on Twitter regarding DUP. I was sitting having a lovely lunch when a letter fell through our letter box addressed to Vanessa Burton. I opened it, it was bound to be for me but whoever had written the envelope had forgotten to put my first name there. My mood just went downhill from there.
I hate my middle name. Nothing against Vanessa as a name for anyone else, but I just don’t like it. My mum’s cousin, Vanessa, is often referred to as the black sheep of the family, so I’ve always resented being somewhat named after her – it was almost like my parents just knew from the start I was going to disappoint them.
So that was the first strike against the DUP’s political propaganda. The second? They’d wasted paper and money in sending this out to me – a person who has never intended on voting for them anyway. We’ll get to why in a minute. Now I know they weren’t to know that, but in this day and age of technology coupled with the internet, I firmly believe that putting flyers through people’s doors is counterproductive. You have the steady voters who would vote for their party no matter what, but then you’ve got the people who will decide based on policies and actions. Put these online. Email them. Do whatever you want. Don’t waste paper on something that’s going straight into the recycling bin. If people are interested in a particular party’s policies, they’ll look them up on the wonderful invention called The Internet.
The third strike against them was the scare-mongering. Essentially, one of their paragraphs said (and I am paraphrasing because this thing was thrown into the bin 2 weeks ago) “If you don’t vote for us, Sinn Fein will win the election and you’ll be forced to have a united Ireland”. Ehm, what now? Sinn Fein couldn’t force a united Ireland even if they wanted to – the Republic don’t even want us! We’re a drain on any country’s resources and I’m pretty sure England would give us away if they had the chance. So, no. No, DUP. Just no.
So you may be asking why I’m so against the DUP as a political party. I can’t really give a definitive answer to this. It’s just something I’ve always felt. I looked around Lisburn growing up (a DUP run ‘city’ in Northern Ireland) and just felt there could be so much more done to help the people living there. The city is closing down, shopd can’t afford the rent, there’s rubbish and broken glass everywhere, the children’s play park now has wardens there so that unruly teenagers don’t destroy it at night when they’re high as a kite and drinking. I’ve just always felt disillusioned by them. Another complaint of mine is one that hits a little closer to home. Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. and Ireland to not allow same sex marriages. Okay before we go any further, there hasn’t been been a vote or anything for it, however the fact that the predominantly Catholic country of the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of allowing this right, just puts it into perspective.
The DUP have repeatedly said they will block any move to legalise same-sex marriage. Arlene Foster was quoted in an interview saying that the DUP intend on using the contentious petition of concern to block this basic right for at least the next 5 years. So for that party to expect me to vote for them when they’re denying me this one thing that okay I may never need or want it just winds me up that people could actually vote such a party into power. I may never get married. I may not have reason to get married back in Northern Ireland. I might find that no one in my family supports me and wants to come to this hypothetical future wedding. However, I can honestly say that I would like to be given the choice. The possibility of it happening.
However, as a result of the elections last week, DUP no longer have the 30 seats required to continue to veto the equal-marriage rights proposal and so that’s one good thing to come out of all this!
Scotland’s my home. It’s where I feel I belong. Nothing will ever change that. But for now, my ‘home country’ are denying 1.7%* of the population their right to legally marry whoever they love.
There probably won’t be a part 3 to this, however if you’d like to know more, or have any questions you’d like me to try and answer. I know what I have said in these past two posts can be considered somewhat controversial, but I hope you don’t begrudge me them.