Saturday, November 27, 2010

I trust I can rely on your vote?

From the excellent Wheel Spinning Hamster Dead
It's weeks like this when you feel like you really have to write something on your blog about Irish current affairs. I never quite know what to say. We know that we have been let down by our government, we know that life is about to get financially harder for just about everyone, we know that the next generation are likely to still be stifled by things the current administration has done.

We also know that there will be a general election before too long.

This should represent a simple opportunity to kick Fianna Fáil and the Greens out of government and, with any luck, reduce their political influence to that of a sparrow farting in the breeze. But you wouldn't know, not in Ireland. Or perhaps, with 17% of the polled electorate still saying that they would, even at what must surely be their lowest ever point, vote for Fianna fucking Fáil. Sure, throw in a bit of spin, some canny canvassing and some snazzy posters and they could probably have that figure up to 30% or higher within a month. And that, with the vagaries of the proportional representation system, could amount to them getting back into government. Just imagine it. A vote of confidence for their lies and their conniving and their startling incompetence. A slap on the back for their slavering alcoholism. And a mandate (a real one this time) for their four year plans and whatever other havoc they might like to wreak on the country.

A sentence you may hear a lot in the forthcoming weeks is "Ah, those politicians are all as bad as each other." People who say this fall into two categories:

1. Those whose unspoken follow-up sentence is "So I won't bother my hole voting or attempting to influence things in any way."

2. Those whose unspoken follow-up sentence is "So I'll carry on voting Fianna Fáil just like I've always done. Just like my parents and grandparents do."

The election, and the decisive change that this country needs, will be decided by how many of each category there are. And, sad to say, it won't much be influenced by what we read or write on blogs. There have been some excellent examples of articulate rage floating around the internet this week, in the usual places as well as interesting new blogs like Rise Like Lions! , but it is not going to be the blogosphere (or whatever other disgusting term you might have for it) where the decisive battles are fought for this election. It would be easy to gaze around and see like-minded souls everwhere; a critical mass of people who want this government to become one of those anomalies that history students will ponder in the future and think "How the fuck could people ever have put up with them?" I've been reading a wide range of blogs for three years now and I've never seen so much as one comment indicating any level of support for Fianna Fáil. Not one. But the average punter doesn't read blogs. Most of my friends don't, my family don't. Tonnes of twenty and thirty-somethings are still far more concerned with reality TV than reality. Without wishing to talk in very broad strokes, I don't think the elderly (the most committed of voting demographics) are checking in on Twenty Major's polemics with any great regulaity, either. Which means not many people are seeing stuff like this. Which means not enough people are seeing the important work that the likes of The Story are doing.

We can contnue to entertain ourselves in a kind of "No, I hate Fianna Fáil even more than you do!" kind of a way, but we might as well carry on being frivolous because it is surely only preaching to the choir. Standing outside your local polling centre hectoring every young apathete (I may have invented a word there) to get in and vote, and chiding "Don't do anything stupid, now, dear" to every OAP going in might prove to be a more effective tactic. Blogs will continue to provide a useful point of catharsis in these enraging times, but it might be foolhardy to expect much more.

3 comment(s):

Janelle said...

indeed. concise and apt. i get you. i always feel like this about africa but where the fuck do you start here? everything is SUCH A FUCK UP, sometimes i feel, way beyond repair. x j

Radge said...

I can't write about it, can't seem to get any perspective. Fair play with this.

Andrew said...

Eeep, there's a typo somewhere near the start that reders one of my sentence completely illogical. I shall leave it there to remind myself that late night blogging isn't really the way to go.

Janelle - Ah, Africa! Everytime I feel confused and powerless I remind myself that the incompetence and corruption we have to put up with here is still light years away from the shit you have to put up with in Tanzania.

Radge - I know, it's incredibly hard to say something that hasn't already been said a million times.