This film is part of Free

Ballot Box Not the Bomb - Ulster Assembly Elections

This poignant Public information film from Northern Ireland publicises elections for a new Assembly.

Public Information Filler 1973 8 mins


This public information film from Northern Ireland feels rather poignant in hindsight. It was funded by the UK government for showing on TV to publicise elections for a new Assembly. Though informative about the voting system, it treads gingerly across the minefield of Ulster politics. Anxious not to cause offence, its studied attempts at neutrality feel likely to have got everyone's backs up.

"Here in Belfast the elections for the new assembly will perhaps point the way to a new deal for the future of Northern Ireland" says the voiceover (delivered in an English accent). Gerry Fitt, at the time NI's leading moderate nationalist, hopes people "will seize this opportunity to throw off the extremists". In fact the Assembly was first boycotted by Republicans, then brought down by Loyalists. Sadly, in Northern Ireland things would get worse before they got better - two decades and many deaths later. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.