Saturday, March 03, 2007

Reflections on being a member ...

In an all-too-rare idle moment, my mind wandered to something that had troubled me as I filled out my postal ballot for next week's Assembly Elections.

It was unusual not to be perched in the wooden booth with one of the world's smallest pencils, in a rush to make my mark.

Instead I'd time to puruse the candidates' names and addresses. To discover that I've shared a taxi with the local East Belfast Conservative candidate who only lives around the corner.

To realise that the Green candidate has less local credentials, living on the Lisburn Road in South Belfast.

The successful candidates become Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). But membership seems to me to be a two way concept. They'll be members of the Assembly, but isn't their mandate strongest if they are actually members of the community electing them too?

Given that six candidates will be elected, shouldn't the parties strive to find local representation?

I'm not just picking on the Greens. I doubt Bob McCartney has a residence in each constituency? Lagan Valley's Jeffrey Donaldson is actually a Moira man. I wonder if he used to begrudgingly give David Trimble a 1 in Upper Bann, while Trimble (living in Lisburn) voted for him in Lagan Valley!

Local people? Why not try and stand for a constituency you can vote in yourself? And be a member of a community and an assembly?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Moira is in Lagan Valley, and in the City of Lisburn. Just for some reason it has a Lurgan post code. Blame Royal Mail.