I was disappointed when I read the comments of Alliance Party MLA for South Belfast, Anna Lo, following the story in Fermanagh’s Impartial Reporter about calls from SDLP Councillor John O’Kane for more co-operation between the SDLP, UUP, and Alliance.
Cllr O’Kane, said:
To be credible with the public we [SDLP] need to have some common platform with the UUP and possibly the Alliance Party as we go into the Assembly elections. Pact is a rather unfortunate word but if the Con-Dems can work in England [UK] then there’s no reason why we can’t make that type of model work here with the UUP. The Democrats* and Conservatives hate each other quite deeply but in the interests of the country they work together and present a united front. We must do that too.
Anna Lo MLA said:
These comments are welcome and they are indicative of the shift of other parties and individuals towards the Alliance Party.
If the Alliance Party were truly concerned that the people of Northern Ireland come together, I should have expected Ms Lo to say that
they are indicative of the shift towards a shared future
not a particular party.
Ms Lo continues:
I am pleased that others now see that the Alliance vision is the right vision, but for us to make the transformation to a genuinely shared society, people must join the one party that deals with this issue ahead of all others, and that’s the Alliance Party.
This statement is in and of itself inherently sectarian. She says that “We must all join the ‘one party’ that deals with this issue ahead of all others”… Which one party would that be? Are we to become a one party State – like the People’s Republic of China? I rather think that Ms Lo would disagree.
There are other parties in Northern Ireland that share the shared future vision that many people in Northern Ireland want – not just those who are members of the Alliance Party.
Of course, if you were to take away the contentious, sectarian, bigoted nature of politics in Northern Ireland, what would the Alliance Party have left to stand for?
Can anyone tell me?
* Cllr O’Kane is using an old name for the Liberal Democrats. This was the name of the party between October 1988 and October 1989. is the sole surviving part of the Federal Party to still retain the name Democrats albeit in a working title.
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