We need to celebrate our diversity, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said Northern Ireland can be used as an example of an open and welcoming society if people vote for progress on March 2.

The East Belfast Assembly candidate said although 2016 had seen “many blows” against tolerance and liberalism across the world, if people here voted for Alliance and other progressive parties in this week’s poll, they could send a strong message against the politics of fear.

“Last year, we saw victories for Brexit and Donald Trump, with both campaigns typified by negative and divisive language, using the politics of fear to create ruptures in society. That same language and politics has been used closer to home as well, where we have seen the politics of division, dishonesty and ultimately disappointment from our previous Executive, as well as from some quarters in the election campaign itself.

“However, things do not have to be like that. We do not have to give in to the counsel of despair that says things cannot change. People here are open and inclusive. Alliance represents that – we have members from all political backgrounds, who are united by a common vision to deliver a prosperous and welcoming, just and fair future for everyone.

“We need to celebrate and embrace our diversity as a strength rather than exploiting difference as a weakness and generating fear from it. A vibrant, diverse and open society benefits us all, while improving the quality of life for everyone in it.

“A vote for Alliance on March 2 is a vote to help create that society.”

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