I have political fever: We’re in full election mode at the moment and the more I experience of this mobile carnival, the more I have come to the realisation that I need to get involved in the next round of council elections. For years people have been egging me on to consider running, sometimes in jest but mostly due to my strong opinions on what is wrong with the current blend of politics.
Politicians these days just don’t put in the effort anymore. They seem to think that they’ll always have a certain percentage of the votes and they’re happy with this. Some don’t even bother canvassing for themselves but send armies of minions to do their bidding. In turn these canvassers don’t appear to believe in their undertaking and become nothing more than political leaflet distributors. They rarely if ever knock at a door, it’s really more of a drive-by canvassing event. This general election will see some folk elected as TDs and maybe it’s just me but if I was going for a job interview worth EUR 100,000 then I’d put in a little work and get to know the company before blankly proclaiming that I should have the position. Why do our politicians think differently?
Well, party politics and sheepish Irish voters have a lot to do with it. Certain areas are strongholds for certain parties and sure it’s just a matter of allowing a candidate to run and the people will pick them because of the party badge – no thought required! Ask yourself a question, if all politicians were independent who would you vote for? How would you pick your preferences? Are you just a party voter or has your first choice actually done something for your area? Suddenly voting becomes a lot more difficult for so many people. The blank faces of anonymous canvassers should be replaced with the face of the candidates running for election. Talking to and representing the people is what politics is supposed to be all about. Sadly many politicians think that they are above this and don’t even need to try other than making sure we see their faces on posters 3 weeks prior to an election.
In Waterford, our ex-Mayor Seamus Ryan is keeping an eye on things from Labour’s perspective in his blog A view from the Left. Seamus is maintaining this blog despite not running for election and his fellow Labour candidate Brian O’Shea doesn’t appear to have any presence at all. This is a prime example of electoral candidates not wanting to invest the time and effort into reaching the community. I picked the Labour party because Seamus’ blog is a good read and is worthy of a link, not because Labour is unique in ignoring the community, the same is true of pretty much all the parties. So far this campaign, I have had leaflets for every candidate dropped into my letterbox, once I had a knock on the door from a candidate’s wife and not once has a real candidate shown up to ask for my vote. That is exactly why none of them will get my vote; what’s the point if they aren’t interested in me anyway?