Regular readers will know that was in for a job interview at the start of this week. Last night just after 6pm I was offered the position and took no hesitation in accepting it.
The role is as the Northern Ireland Campaign Manager for the Yes to Fairer Votes campaign. Yes if you told me at 3:30 on the morning of May 7th as my votes were being read out that I would be doing this and doing it here I would have laughed at you.
However, I totally agree with the words of Margaret Ritchie MP, MLA the leader of the SDLP from 6th July:
"The British Government is right to give people the opportunity to choose a fairer system for electing their MPs. The current system is completely unfair as it favours the larger parties and discriminates against smaller parties who can get hundreds of thousands of votes but no seats in Parliament.I look forward to working with Margaret, the other candidates for the position I now hold and everyone in Northern Ireland who believes in getting fairer votes for Westminster over the next six months. That will be people from all parties or none, across each of the 18 current Westminster constituencies.If you haven't already sign up through this link, if have invite your friends, if you've invited them all make more, or start to ask your neighbours or the people on the bus beside you. Start talking about AV and why it is fairer and lets go out and win this on 5th May 2011.
"My preference would be to extend the STV system of Proportional Representation to Westminster. This system is much fairer and we are already well used to it in Northern Ireland in our Assembly and Council elections.
"The 'alternative vote' is, nonetheless, a clear step forward and I hope that people will support it in the referendum next year. In Northern Ireland this would have the effect of rebalancing politics towards candidates of the centre and away from the extremes.
"Given the kinds of stalemates and brinkmanship we have endured in our politics in recent years, anything that supports parties in the centre is to be warmly welcomed as it is in the best interests of our people.
"The SDLP will campaign vigorously in favour of progressive electoral reform."
Indeed one of my first roles, even before I work my current notice period will be attending the SDLP's party conference this weekend. Shows that this really is cohesion, sharing and integration in action and how cross communities this campaign here is. That the first party conference in Northern Ireland from this son of a man raised in Derry's Fountain area and attending First Derry Presbyterian should be to the party that owes a lot of its founding to the struggle of the other community on that side of the Foyle.
As I said last night this will obviously have an impact on the blogging that I do here, probably over the whole of the next six months. I will try and do updates here from time to time, just to give me some down time, but don't expect the same alacrity of posting.