“These are the very elections were one could shoot the messenger to get a message to the authors”

4 views

Tom Kelly makes an important point in today’s Irish News about voting, not least the historic precident of not having it and the contemporary consequence (as he sees it) of not doing it…

Proportional representation was enshrined in the legislation on both parts of Ireland at partition to maintain if possible the broadest reach of representation.

That the north abandoned it for 50 years is a travesty of historical proportions, which allowed militant republicans to propagate and exaggerate a myth to support a mindless campaign of violence.

Quite. His argument also hints back to the real victory of the Belfast Agreement, which was as Frank Millar has framed it, ‘A Triumph of Politics‘ rather than the bomb or the gun.

Kelly concludes:

The architectures of the Belfast and St Andrews agreements were necessary evils of their time in order to create the space for some good, but clearly do not produce the outcomes that a modern functioning, accountable and democratic administration requires.

But more importantly these forthcoming elections should not bear the brunt of our frustrations about Stormont as they are about Europe and local government and not the dysfunctional nature of the assembly. Next year’s elections too are about Westminster. In any of these three elections one can actually change the political representation if there is a will to.

If one wants to send an electoral message, these are the very elections were one could shoot the messenger to get a message to the authors. Not voting or spoiling your vote is like wetting yourself in the dark, it may momentarily feel good but no-one but you will notice. [Emphasis added]

,

  • Coll Ciotach

    Surely every election shoots messengers?

  • cynic2

    Tom misses the point – The whole political system is rotten to the core

    We are a small country. We are to have so many councils because the DUP and SF wanted to gerrymander the boundaries and sizes to suit their own agendas. They will continue to be inefficient and plagued by sectarianism

    On the way out we are paying the ‘redundant’ councillors huge sums for polishing town hall seats for years and then paying their successors more for ‘added responsibilities’.

    The new powers basically consist of a role in planning. I await the JRs with interest – still the opportunities for back slapping and palm greasing ( all in the community interest of course) will be interesting

    All those hungry greedy mouths

    Every attempt to rationalise or reform- indeed improve -is thwarted by some sectarian agenda or another

    Speaking personally, I don’t want them so why should I vote for them? In the absence of a real alternative the only way we the people can stop this is NOT to vote. Politicians get worried if they are ignored

  • tacapall

    “Not voting or spoiling your vote is like wetting yourself in the dark, it may momentarily feel good but no-one but you will notice”

    Tom surly knows it is a fabrication of the truth to suggest not voting or spoiling your vote is an action that will not get you noticed or carries no political punch in this part of the world, far from it, if enough people refuse to engage in the electoral process the outcome can be declared void and a massive message is sent by the people. If its an organised deliberate non show at the polling booths like Alex Kane is suggesting then im absolutely sure people like Tom Kelly would be writing articles in the Irish news either supporting or decrying the tactic but im sure the tactic wont go unnoticed.

  • Gopher

    Another article one would find hard to take seriously selective blinkers. To paraphrase the article “If you don’t vote our side will lose out” The five parties of government are rotten why extend their writ to gerrymandered councils.

  • mjh

    “Politicians get worried if they are ignored.” – Cynic2

    Not cynical enough.

    Politicians get miffed when they are ignored. They only get worried when they fear that you will vote them out.

  • Gopher

    I agree mjh not voting is stupid vote against the big 5

  • Politico68

    I always find these arguments quite interesting, especially when people who are clearly miffed at the inadequacy of our political system and elected representatives, find it so easy to complain but very difficult to offer solutions.

    Politics and representation are a crucial part of our social culture, for better or worse it is how we run things, it is how our societies function on a day to day basis and the one of the ways we prevent our communities from falling into anarchy.

    Our representatives are drawn from us, they are part of our broader community, their contribution to that community is in standing for political consideration and our contribution in that process is by participating in the selection or offering ourselves up as alternative.

    In other words, we cant have it both ways. We cant be lazy in the process and then expect wonderful results. Those that criticize without action are the laziest of all, self centered slobs that are equally likely to bloat on their sofas as they scream at Man Utd’s football woes; at least in this case there is nothing they can do about it except scratch their arses and wonder how it all went wrong.

    But political society is quite different, because even if we detest the choices on our screens, we have the right and the basic intellectual skills to stand up and put some courage into our convictions.

    Organise , Mobilise, prioritise and take action if you don’t like the system. It is far more impressive to be an active part of a solution, rather than a useless part of the problem.

  • tacapall

    “Those that criticize without action are the laziest of all, self centered slobs that are equally likely to bloat on their sofas as they scream at Man Utd’s football woes; at least in this case there is nothing they can do about it except scratch their arses and wonder how it all went wrong”

    Believe it or not some people have a different perspective on what you would call democracy. I see no reason why Irishmen and Women should give the British government any degree of legitimacy by supporting their right by force of arms to decide what political institutions can and cant do in Ireland. If you believe rubber stamping British laws and British establishment policies on Irish people is democracy at work then your easily pleased I would rather tell them to stick their vote where the sun doesn’t shine.

    “Organise , Mobilise, prioritise and take action if you don’t like the system. It is far more impressive to be an active part of a solution, rather than a useless part of the problem”

    Been there done that and wore the tee shirt and we still have the same problems its not as if politics hasn’t been tried before, we simply dont have a big enough gene pool where some decent people might evolve from that would put the country and the people first before chasing after some political parties wet dream.

  • cynic2

    I dont think Politico does different perspectives!!!!

    “Those that criticize without action are the laziest of all, self-centered slobs”

    …the act of refusing to engage is itself an act of protest. In the soviet union dissidents could often only work through small acts of defiance. They knew that internally in the 1970s they could not change the system.

    Its the same here. Less extreme but our votes still count for nothing so lets withdraw them and withdraw our legitimisation of this system

  • Politico68

    Cynic, u clearly don’t ‘do’ community. For your ilk, far better to criticize and snipe rom the side, contribute nothing then complain about nothing. Lazing at home on pretence of making some pseudo ideological protest is nothing more than self satisfying sloth. Chew on the chip on your shoulder and cry cos nobody wants to play your game. That’s fine, but don’t pretend its done to help create a better society through disengagement. Its done because of an intellectual vacuum and a misplaced self satisfying anger. You suit yourself. Nobody else matters.

  • aquifer

    “if enough people refuse to engage in the electoral process the outcome can be declared void and a massive message is sent by the people”

    if – that small word with such a big meaning.

    Not going to happen. So vote wisely.

    “I see no reason why Irishmen and Women should give the British government any degree of legitimacy by supporting their right by force of arms to decide what political institutions can and cant do in Ireland.”

    The British are guarantors of political institutions that are empowered to deliver a United Ireland, and are not demonstrating much intention to use arms around here, unlike some local practitioners of armed political blackmail.

    Brits in the main want out, but will not hand territory over to sectarian armed gangs who have scant prospect of maintaining public order or safety.

    Quite sweet of them really.

    They make very unconvincing oppressors. South Americans or Russians or even the US marine corps would have made for a much bloodier and more brutal outcome.

  • Reader

    cynic2: Its the same here. Less extreme but our votes still count for nothing so lets withdraw them and withdraw our legitimisation of this system
    Well, tacapall – there you go. When the boxes are opened and the counting begins, your abstention and cynic2′s abstention will be counted by the parties just the same – same meaning, same value.
    I suspect the meaning will be “must have been a cliffhanger on East Enders last night”, and the value will be “who cares what the tele addicts want?”

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Aquafer “Brits in the main want out, but will not hand territory over to sectarian armed gangs who have scant prospect of maintaining public order or safety.” But is that not precisely what they have done? Just because the new political establishment are up there in Stormont in bespoke suits, it does not alter who are, in essence, our masters.

    Tacapall “its not as if politics hasn’t been tried before, we simply dont have a big enough gene pool where some decent people might evolve from that would put the country and the people first before chasing after some political parties wet dream.” I fully agree, could hardly agree more, but have long felt that as long as politicians can offer some real advantage to a vested interest (the developers, the bankers, international finance) the modern representative system is poisoned at source. Even those representatives who simply want to encourage economic development and bring jobs in can be jerked about by these vested interests to line up alongside the other friends of vested interests among the elect.

    “Democracy” has become almost entirely bureaucratic and is reserved pretty much for an increasingly professional “global” political class that has even started develop here in the wake of the GFA. All government has become government down, with every “consultation” becoming a power discourse that affirms where the power really rests.

    For anyone who actually believes in a meaningful empowerment of the community, something other than the in-club of this tired old nineteenth century representative system is needed. Or as Tacapall says, people who will be able to “put the country and the people first” rather than the careerists we are expected to trust with our votes.

  • Jagdip

    The DUP’s canvassing guide has been published in the NewsLetter.

    The number one issue that candidates and their canvassers can expect to be confronted about, is

    “The government is delivering nothing”
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/politics/latest/dup-s-election-canvassing-guidelines-in-full-1-6026453

    It’s fascinating reading, would be interesting to see what canvassing guidelines are given to other parties.