My old Labour comrade Ciarán McClean is standing as an Independent candidate in West Tyrone. Here is his manifesto:
‘My name is Ciaran McClean. I'm from Sixmilecross and am contesting this election on an independent ticket:
1. To highlight Green/Environmental issues;
2. To give people a non-sectarian option;
3. To demonstrate a new way of doing politics.
I am standing in this election primarily to draw attention to practices in the quarrying industry, taking place in West Tyrone. I wish to shine a spotlight on environmental issues that the sitting MP and other established politicians have ignored for too long, and to offer voters a real option as opposed to Green/Orange choices.
On Pat Doherty's watch various developments in West Tyrone have flourished to the detriment of the environment and of peoples' well-being, e.g. the quarry at Cavanacaw, the quarry in Drumnakilly, the proposed quarry in Mullaslin (which Mr Doherty has supported) and various other dubious developments. Inaction on these fronts needs to be challenged.
I would ask SDLP voters to endorse my campaign this time around as their candidate has been shown to be a weak candidate, given the fact that he was unable to hold his council seat at the last local government elections or indeed his MLA seat at Stormont.
I would ask people, who like me have voted UU in the past, to put the environment first on this occasion as a vote for Ulster Conservative Unionist New Force will not impact upon the status quo. The much publicised arrangement between the Tories and the UU should be reason enough for voters to endorse my campaign for local solutions to local problems.
The two main government parties hope to continue the sectarian carve-up, safe in the knowledge that after votes are counted, they can implement their narrow party political interests, that do nothing for the shared future our community needs.
Both of these parties put themselves and their petty politics before real issues that affect real people.
Neither party is any friend to the environment and they are happy to cosy up with each other after the votes are counted, safe in the knowledge that they can carve up the country in a way that does not reflect the realities on the ground.
Getting an environmental issue onto the ballot demonstrates the real type of politics that West Tyrone urgently needs. From conversations I have had on this campaign, people say they are sick of the circus that takes place at every election time and are crying out for a change to what passes for politics. With choices limited people feel they are being corralled into the sectarian trenches that represent old style politics in Northern Ireland.
I put myself forward as something completely different from the usual suspects. I am a local person with a young family, who knows the area, works in the area and has an excellent knowledge of the people who live here. I have a strong track record on environmental and community issues.
My vision of politics is based on social justice and honesty for those of us who share this small piece of earth in West Tyrone and indeed the rest of the world.
I ask for a chance to take our community away from a type of politics unsuited to a modern & changing world.
On the 6th of May vote Ciaran McClean, Independent, for a better environment, in every sense of the word’.
Please sign up for Ciarán’s Facebook group and consider whether you could give up some time to help him with his campaign. Ciarán may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org