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Postponed Assembly elections

Isn’t democracy wonderful? In England, Scotland and Wales, the Blair government is trying to make voting easier than ever before. This explains the widening use of postal voting and local experiments with SMS text voting and on-line voting.

Voters went to the polls on May 1st and elected members to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh National Assembly and local councils throughout Great Britain. Many commentators have expressed concern and disappointment at the low poll.

It’s all quite different here, though. Ulsterfolk have a mountain to climb to get a chance to claim their right to vote. Would-be voters have to register personally every year and make sure that they obtain photo-identification before they can even obtain a ballot paper. To add insult to injury, the Northern Ireland Assembly election, first scheduled for May 1st, then put back to May 29th, have been indefinitely postponed by our colonial governor, Paul Murphy and his boss, Tony Blair.

In performances reminiscent of Zimbabwe’s champion of democratic values, Cuddly Bob Mugabe, we had to listen to blether from Murphy and Blair as the explained that it was necessary to ‘postpone’ democratic elections in the name of preserving democracy. Brass-necked Blair almost pulled it off – then gave the game away with this admission, "Well. I hope that anybody that seriously believed if you ended up with the DUP in a place of authority after the election, he would have any prospect of getting progress on a cross-community basis, the remarks of Dr Paisley the other day, which I thought were appalling, should convince people otherwise."

In other words, the people can’t be trusted to vote the ‘right’ way. The truth is that many people have become very disillusioned with the Good Friday Agreement and its institutions and are very keen to express this at the ballot box. Rightly or wrongly, they are likely to give a strong vote to the DUP to express this clearly. Democracy is all very well, as long as the people vote the way that Tony Blair wants them to!

Paul Murphy, to his credit, at least looked uncomfortable as he tried to explain how democratic elections are not good for democracy. Blair – like Mugabe – is utterly shameless!

STOP PRESS! Tony Blair has now allowed the Ulster People to have their say after all.  Vote for a real change.  Vote Ulster Third Way on November 26th 2003.

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