Damn this election hangover

GOD I love elections. And now that it’s over I’m suffering badly, especially as the result virtually guarantees that there won’t be another one for another five years.

It’s at times like these that my republicanism wavers. Sure where would you be without Northern Ireland? There are new Assembly elections coming up next May. None of the talk about the economy, stupid. It’s good old vitriolic stuff taigs and prods getting stuck into one another. I can’t wait.

The strange thing about this election is that it was utterly boring. Yet, 1.2 million people tuned into the debate between Noonan and Ahern. The viewing figures for the count coverage was huge. And 63% of the population turned out to vote on the worst day this year.

You can’t tell me that Irish people are not interested in politics.

Hopefully, the new Dail will meet some of that thirst for political debate. Everyone is agreed that the policies of the main parties are now so close that you couldn’t get a credit card in between them. Now that the Greens and Sinn Fein have blocks in the new Dail, not to mention Michael ‘the Rottweiler’ McDowell, along with a host of committed and articulate independents, the political temperature might rise a wee bit.

What the election really showed up is the complete absence of new ideas in Irish politics. If the Greens and Sinn Fein (and even Labour) have a vision of an alternative Ireland, now is the time to start thinking about it.

I hope I can help. Where’s me paracetemol?

As Well As That. . .

We need a campaign against electronic voting

FRESH from a 12 hour stint at the count in the RDS, I’m more convinced than ever that electronic voting is dead wrong.

The drama of the count is a vital part of Irish democracy. It is essential that the old system is maintained for reasons of transparency and to communicate the political battle to the electorate. Viewing figures prove it.

I was one of the people who voted electronically. Yes, it was simple. No, it wasn’t any simpler than pencil and paper. Unless the Government is intending to abolish writing there is no gain to the voter.

It seems to me that the only people to gain are the politicians, who want the result quickly. This is precisely why they shouldn’t get their way on this issue.

It should be put to the people in a referendum. The Government is planning a referendum on the Nice Treaty in the autumn and that would be a perfect opportunity to ask the electorate about electronic voting. Some hope.

Fine Gael – why didn’t they listen to me?

WIPEOUT – there’s no other word for it. Fine Gael fought the election, it seems to me, on being a different Fianna Fail.

But why bother when you have a perfectly good Fianna Fail to start with?

I told them to make an issue of the BertieBowl. They never mentioned it.

I told them to draw up a map showing 100 local sports centres at £10m each. They produced forty pages of waffle that no-one could be bothered reading.

Fianna Fail were so weak on the issue, they never mentioned it either.

And do the blueshirts expect my sympathy now?

Ahh, serves ‘em right. They’re useless.

PDs are entitled to success

I THOUGHT it was strange that the most influential political party in Ireland in the last 10 years was about to go extinct.

The Progressive Democrats have surfed the wave of popular free-market economics that has swept the world.

I come politically from the other side of the house but it has to be said that the right has been far more imaginative about economics and society than the left (not hard when the imagination on the left is dead).

The PDs have fought their corner well, with very little to work with at times. They deserve their success.

Bertie in my back garden

MY five-year-old found one of the Bertie election posters on the ground and now he has it in the back garden doing goalkeeper for him.

Bertie looks out happily as my lad hammers sliotars and footballs up against him. (He’s not much of a goalie, I can reveal.)

But Bertie still looks happy. And that’s the way it is, when you think about it.