Dot writes: one election, that is. Oddly enough, given that Ken is much the more political animal of the two of us, I was especially excited about it; and it would have issued in at least one blog post last weekend (this poor neglected blog) except that we spent Saturday night with food-poisoning. Some dodgy meat rolls from a tapas stall in St Anne’s park are the most likely culprit. Now the thrill has worn off rather as Fine Gael and Labour circle cautiously around each other and we wonder what principles exactly will be abandoned in the interests of workable compromise.
I was also a bit disappointed because my vote didn’t go anywhere. I ended up voting for only two candidates; and since my number 2 made quota on the first count and didn’t need the transfers, while my number 1 was eliminated in favour of a Trotskyite, my vote must have ended up in the bin. Still, I had consciously made the decision not to end up supporting someone I didn’t want to support just in order to feel I had contributed. I do feel a bit bad about Ciaran Cuffe, the Green candidate, who got my number 1 last time but whom I eventually decided to ditch this time. I like him very much, not least because he spoke against coalition with Fianna Fail in 2007; he also nearly canvassed me in person, only he was too busy exchanging banter with someone with a Labour Party badge at the time; but I spent a bit of time the night before the poll looking at the comparative table of party policies in the Irish Times, and discovered to my disappointment that I wasn’t in fact very keen on the Green Party. So Labour it was.
My Labour vote may have been naive. I gloomily suspect that no Irish government is in a position to renegotiate the IMF deal and that all our taxes will be pouring into a huge pointless black hole of interest repayments for the foreseeable future. But I wanted to vote for someone who, at least in theory, ought to stand up for social justice. When money is tight, it’s easy to sacrifice people who don’t have much voice anyway in favour of pleasing the big boys. This, to my mind, is the big danger facing Ireland; and I’ll be watching Eamon Gilmore and co. hard, be they in coalition or opposition, to see what kind of job they do in fighting it.