Uncertain. The future is uncertain, well we all knew that didn’t we – it’s the defining characteristic of the future – that’s why we worry about it so much and why that worrying is, usually, so pointless and so ineffectual – except to make us ill.
The make-up of our next Government- the future of Ireland – is still uncertain as the counts go on and some candidates get elected, some eliminated and some hang on for the next round. Live counting of votes, televised and commented on, is such an example of democracy in action, the voting part anyway, that i hope we always do it this way. A few years ago, the Irish Government of the time toyed with the idea of electronic votes which would produce the results almost immediately but amid fears about security of votes and scandals to do with the costs, they eventually scrapped the idea and the equipment at the same time generating another scandal about the €54 million taxpayers money wasted.
It was a close call – some traditions should never be tampered with or turned electronic. The show that is the Irish vote count is so important for generating knowledge and awareness of the voting system and what democracy means. Most of our schools run mock elections and mock counts when the elections are on – it would not generate the same knowledge and awareness if the students just hit a button on a computer.
So back to the election: The Labour party was trounced by the electorate – as expected, broken promises = broken mandate = broken party – that is as it should be in a democracy. You cannot promise the electorate one thing, get elected on the basis of those promises and then do something totally different – especially something which has a huge negative impact on those people who voted for you.
Most scary moment of the election – Ex Irish Times editor, ex politician, ex reporter and respected political analyst Geraldine Kennedy saying live on national tv – “Some of the parties will have to break their promises, will have to lie or there won’t be a government – what else do parties do?”
Not good – mind you the slightly reassuring part is Ms Kennedy’s pre-election assessment for the Irish Times, which included the following, “All of these issues will be clarified for voters during the 2016 election. It would be no surprise if, as in Britain, there was a major swing to stability during the campaign and Independents of all hues were squeezed.”
Hopefully she’ll be wrong about the parties having to lie and break promises to form a government too.
The election was a triumph for the Independents and the small parties, except for Renua which, i suspect, the voters saw as a poor alternative to Fine Gael itself. The mainstream media and the government parties tried to portray election as stability vs chaos with themselves representing stability but they failed to understand how much chaos they have caused in the lives of so many ordinary people in Ireland
The electorate reminded Fine Gael, the main party in the last government that there is a substantial difference between being “A great little country to do business in” and being a great little country to live in. We prefer the latter – its not just all about taxes.
Except for some of the constituencies in south Dublin who preferred surety about taxes over other social concerns and returned two Fine Gael in each constituency. Democracy is supposed to reflect the interests of the people so i see variety as a good, healthy sign. People are voting for their own interests and beliefs and that’s a good thing but we all have to work to make sure that their interests and beliefs and informed, are compassionate and are based on the truth.
Fianna Fail got a reprieve, a substantial reprieve, from the voters – partly because we believe the party leader Michael Martin when he talks about decency and fairness – the ball is in your court now – don’t drop it.
Sinn Fein increased their vote – but not as much as they had hoped for or expected – we are still a bit wary of them and their support of convicted criminals just because they may also be ‘republicans’ is not good enough for a party that aspires to govern.
Well we could still have a government dominated by middle-aged men in grey suits but the gender requirements has meant that there will be more women in the next Dail – turns out the blockage to women getting elected wasn’t the reluctance of the people to vote for them, or the reluctance of women to put their names forward; it was the reluctant of the political parties to nominate them. More progress to report, another much need tick on the report card.
The biggest change i’d like to see in the next government would be the development of respect, respect from whoever constitutes the next government for the people who elected them, for the institutions they represent, for the opposition members, for the questions they are asked, for the promises they made during the election campaign, for the ideals of a democratic Republic, for the ideals of all those who strove, including those who fought and who died in 1916, for the needs of the people of Ireland, and especially for the truth.
Stay involved, keep searching for the truth, keep speaking the truth.