1975 Constitutional Convention Election (NI) - Alliance Party Manifesto
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ALLIANCE PARTY MANIFESTO
The Alliance Party is an organisation of people with different religious faiths, different social classes and different cultural backgrounds. We have two great things which unite us. Our first loyalty is to all the people of Northern Ireland, either because we were born or bred here or because we have voluntarily chosen to settle in Northern Ireland and to identify with it. Secondly, we have proved that whatever our differences of background, we can work out common policies by discussion and democratic agreement.
We are not at this stage putting forward a detailed blueprint for a system of government in Northern Ireland. Any new constitution must be worked out by discussion and debate in honest realisation of the fears and hopes of other people. This is the only realistic attitude for a party which is determined to try and make the Convention work.
Alliance believes in devolved government for Northern Ireland. We want a system of workable local administration to be returned as soon as possible. For that reason, we are determined to achieve practical results from the Convention.
PARTNERSHIP IN GOVERNMENT
Alliance is committed to the principle that any future administration in Northern Ireland must involve both sections of our divided community at all levels in the Government of our province. Various methods of achieving this have been used in a number of countries. All of these methods must be carefully examined by the Convention.
It is quite clear that no system of local administration can work (if at all) unless it involves and has the support of substantial proportions of both sections of our divided people.
In our view, any significant grouping, whatever its aspirations, is entitled to be involved in the administration of the Province, provided that it accepts the state, abides by the law and supports the institutions of government.
Alliance supports the constitutional position of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom. We know that this belief is shared by the overwhelming majority of our people and that provocative debate about it has been the primary cause of all our most fundamental troubles. The link is in the best economic and social interests of all the people of Northern Ireland, and we will maintain that only the people of Northern Ireland have the right to decide any change by voting in a referendum.
LAW AND ORDER
No democratic society can exist without law and order. Alliance has been, since its formation, a strong supporter of the firm and impartial application of the Rule of Law and a constant critic of the "wait and see" policies of successive governments. We make no apology. We are convinced that peace, security and prosperity will never come to our Province until the law is rigorously enforced in all areas and until every citizen is afforded its protection. Policies such as internment are counter-productive and serve only to undermine public confidence in law and order. We view with contempt, those politicians who have entered into pacts with paramilitary organisations, whether republican or loyalist, and who have given tacit support to criminal conspiracies of evil men in the name of patriotism.
Alliance support for the Rule of Law in all areas and for the suppression of gangsterism will be total, continuous and uncompromising.
The key to the defeat of the murderers and gangsters who prey on our people is effective policing in all areas. Successive British Governments have failed to come to grips with this reality. It cannot be said that there is any positive policing policy for Northern Ireland.
The Alliance Party is determined to pursue its objectives of achieving effective and impartial policing in all areas. We reject the concept that ever again should the police force be subject to the whims of party politics whether such politics are based on the old system of one party perpetual rule, or a new form of partnership government. We will continue to press for a new high-powered Police Authority to control the R.U.C. and for an Independent Complaints Tribunal.
Alliance strongly supports the concept of a strong legislative Assembly or Parliament for Northern Ireland, elected by Proportional Representation (S.T.V.). Such a legislative body should have real and effective powers to deal with the major social and economic matters affecting the Province.
Alliance is committed to the maintenance of the principle of parity in welfare benefits throughout the United Kingdom. As citizens of the United Kingdom, the people of Northern are entitled to equality of social services.
In our view, any new legislative body based on the principle of community partnership should have a considerable measure of control over law and order, criminal law and legal administration in the Province.
REPRESENTATION AT WESTMINSTER
The Alliance Party believes that the basis for representation for Northern Ireland at Westminster should be the United Kingdom average for electors. This would increase representation for this Province to 19 or 20 members.
In our view, these should be elected on the basis of Proportional Representation (S.T.V.), which is the fairest system. We favour the introduction of this system of voting throughout the United Kingdom.
It is hypocritical for a Westminster Government to deny adequate representation to Northern Ireland while proposing Assemblies for Scotland and Wales and allowing them to maintain their existing number of MPs.
RELATIONS WITH THE SOUTH
We accept that for practical co-operation between North and South on many issues which are of common concern to both parts of Ireland, not least in the field of security. Alliance believes that better relations between North and South would result in social and economic co-operation which would be of great advantage to all our citizens. But co-operation can only be based on mutual trust and respect.
The present constitutional claim by the Republic of sovereignty over Northern Ireland is a formidable barrier against better relations. Failure to agree to extradition for politically. motivated offences of violence is a poor basis upon which to ask for friendship.
BILL OF RIGHTS
The Alliance Party will be pressing for a Bill of Rights in the future Constitution of Northern Ireland. Such a Bill of Rights must guarantee equality of citizenship to every person in the Province and must be enforceable through the courts of law.
The above manifesto was written for the:
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