New year, new blog

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to visit. This blog will track one person’s attempts to change how we do politics in Northern Ireland. A lofty ambition, perhaps, but the toughest goals can be achieved if they are broken down into small steps.

What drives me will become more apparent as the blog takes shape over the coming weeks and months, but the first post seems a good opportunity to note a few of the key principles – as opposed to specific policies – that motivated me to get involved.

That everyone is entitled to a fair chance in life. That means protecting services like health and education and ensuring everyone can enjoy good nutrition, a warm home and clean air. It also means we in Western Europe do not have the right to impose climate change-linked flooding on Bangladesh, Tuvalu and the Maldives.

That economic growth is not the only sign of progress – and no progress at all if large sections of society are left less well off materially, physically and emotionally. To give an example: road accidents increase GDP by creating work for mechanics, medical staff, insurance companies and builders, but do they leave us better off?

That shopping is not the highest form of leisure. Northern Ireland has a wonderful countryside – let’s stop covering it in landfill sites filled with bits of expensively-purchased plastic we never needed in the first place and start enjoying it more.

That Northern Ireland is big enough to accommodate the British, the Irish, the Northern Irish, those who consider themselves all of the above and those who consider themselves none of the above.

As you will no doubt have gathered with a glance at the top of this page, I am member of the Green Party. Readers in the Balmoral electoral area of Belfast may recognise me as their Green candidate in the 2011 local government election.

Along with other party members, I am working to ensure the Green voice is heard. We are proud to have our roots in the environmental movement. The environment is just another name for where we all live – let’s start looking after it.

Many of the principles mentioned here will be addressed in greater detail as time goes by, along with my thoughts on any number of issues that catch my attention. Some pages are still under construction, so keep checking back as the blog takes shape.

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About msimpsongpni

Mark Simpson is Environment spokesperson for the Green Party in Northern Ireland and Green Party coordinator in the Balmoral electoral area, Belfast.
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