Thursday, 30 January 2020

Irish General Election 2020: Old Ways Die Hard

I'm always staggered by these political memes (main image). Contrived to make a point, but ignorant of history.

Ask yourself these questions?

Why does it start at 1937?

Where do you think the politicians who formed FF and FG came from?

Why are all the successive parties who entered coalition and yet none mentioned - Labour, Progessive Democrats, Democratic Left and the Green Party - as if they never existed in government and we have had single party government for 80 straight years?

What party won 73 seats out of 105 in 1918 and declared itself the party of a new Dáil Éireann?

But probably the most damning question - why do people in Ireland insist on voting for almost a hundred years on party lines and adoration and family affiliations when the new Irish Free State (1921-2) was created on the principle of PR (Proportional representation)?

Irish voters... have you learned nothing in 100 years how this actually works? I'll give you a clue.

Playing political swinger at a party eventually gets boring. You've shagged them. They've shagged you, in kind. It's been a blast over the years. You are just going from one party you fancy to the next best party you fancy. But you are allowed switch to someone else if you get bored with those. You've never really thought this swinging thing through fully - and that maybe every political party that says you are lovely and they care for you, just meant a quick shag for four or five years. You want real love and someone who cares for you?

Fair enough. Then stop fucking about with the same old shagging crew!

Make a change for you, not because your mate told you so-and-so is great and you will enjoy being shagged by them in the moment. But you may regret it afterwards. Because, you know, we all do stupid things, and then regret them afterwards. But years later we still find ourselves doing the same thing again and getting involved with the same party crowd and just doing what our friends do.

I'll say what I said in political terms last week. Change doesn't come in a one party election term: it takes time to create a viable alternative partner. Your political partner grows with you if you support them and they support you.

I don't think Ireland is really politically ready and experienced enough to know who shagged them and who didn't. It's just a merry-go-around of who didn't shag and abused me as a voter recently. Ah, sure, maybe they've changed!

The problem with the meme - Ireland has been progressing from single-party politics for more than three decades. But it takes a full generation to escape institutions of church and politics. But because Ireland is slipping into political divides - not party - but rural against city: younger people are increasingly falling back on 'mammy & daddy' voted this way and times were better then, or I've no interest and don't bother voting because my vote doesn't count. It DOES.

But you have been conditioned into a party-first mindset and not a full use of the PR voting system. PR voting is a killer for dominant political parties, but they won't let you know that. Be honest in the comments. Who has voted in Proportional Representation and really understands the sequences of their vote if they bother beyond voting 1, 2, 3 .... if even that.

I've covered a number of Irish elections in the 1990s, talked to 'tally-men' and political strategists, and they are still staggered by the amount of PR ballot papers that reflect a single 'mark' on a candidate. I learned that in the 2010s GEs, full use of the ballot paper (later count preferences) was as low as 20%. That is fucking shocking. Irish voters still don't seem to get that if you don't use the ballot fully, and just place a mark on a candidate/party, that's it, if the candidate is eliminated, there IS NO TRANSFER. How can there be. You didn't state preferences 2, 3, 4, 5 etc!

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