Tuesday, May 08, 2007

One reason would suffice

The three regular readers (Thanks Dad & Mam) of blankpaige will now that this girl has gone all angsty, wrestling with her (lack of) political convictions. I'm looking for a reason to vote. No, that's not entirely true. I'm looking for one reason to vote Fine Gael.

Disclosure : I'm a long time Progressive Democrats fan who has supported Mary Harney's brave politics from the sidelines. I cannot in conscience, support her successor as party leader who strikes me as at best selfish and egotistical and at worst an arrogant bully with no regard for the Irish people, our laws and constitution.

I'm probably what an MORI poll would call an undecided. But, believe me, I don't want to be. I thought I'd turn to my blog buddies for some guidance. So I was delighted to spot Sarah Carey's post entitled "10 Reasons to Vote Fine Gael". Sarah is a well know Sunday Times columnist and I believe comes from a strong FG tradition. She's not shy about giving her opinion, which is what attracts me most to her brilliant blog site, GUBU.

Given my current dilemma, I tore into her article with all the relish that I'd normally save for Tom Humphries' poetry on the back of the Sports section of Monday's Irish Times. (Although I know nothing about sport, I at least appreciate that it is a thing of great beauty and causes grown men to proclaim love in terms that they'd never think about doing to their women folk).

How disappointed I was when I realised that Sarah's sharp analysis didn't give me any reasons for voting FG but rather some justification for not voting FF. (That I didn't need)

To paraphrase cruelly, the list went something like:

  1. Change is good
  2. Too long in power is too bad
  3. FF have wasted a lot of money
  4. FF's tax individualisation is bad
  5. FF could be more green
  6. The Health Service problems could be sorted out with fresh new faces
  7. Labour will ensure that FG will have to look after the poor
  8. Our people > Their people
  9. FG will make sure that there is free pre-School
  10. Ogh fuck it, I said at the start of the post that there would be 10 reasons, I'd by God, I'll find 10 reasons!

Now here is my problem.

(1) Why is change good?

(2) Why should I trust someone with no experience over someone with lots of experience

(3) Civil servants waste the money and we don't get to vote them in or out

(4) I happen to think Tax individualisation is a reasonably good idea!

(5) I don't think any of the parties are particularly green even the Greens!

(6) The one thing that our health service needs is for the same determined kick-ass politician to be returned with a strong mandate. Enda says he'd do exactly the same but in a more "imaginative way".

(7) Why won't FG look after the poor?

(8) I remain to be convinced, see (6) above.

(9) As a young woman with, I hope, no need to avail of free pre-school education in the next five years, I don't know why my taxes should go to pay so that you can have a family and compete for the same jobs as me. Pick one job, and do it properly! (PS, I don't mean Sarah here - she is quite obviously doing both very well!) .

So you see I still don't have a reason and I am faced with a choice between the experienced hucksters and the would-be statesmen, I'm afraid there is no contest. I'm going to have to swallow my dislike of Mr McD and vote his party back in and hope that the party faithful launch a heave against him soon after the election.

Update : Omani is most correct (see comment)(Isn't he always!). Tis too early in the campaign to become so certain. I’ll strive to keep my mind open until closer to polling day. I must find another reason – and it doesn’t even have to be logical – to make my decision. Any of the candidates got a GSOH and want to pursue a friendship and maybe more?


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Blogger Omaniblog said...

You don't have to be so logical. Even though you are very unconvinced by Enda's gang, you could still vote for them - for fun, or some other irrational reason. You are a free spirit, I think. And you could have remained undecided for a bit longer.
I'm not going to make up my mind until the last minute, until I am in the box with pen in hand. Until then I remain to be convinced... I was hoping you wouldn't declare your hand until much later because of the influence you have on other blogging voters. You make people think (congratulations, by the way. Coming from 'Thinking Out Loud' that is serious praise, well deserved I add) and you never know what could happen if one person (the butterfly) thinks and flaps her wings... we could be in for chaos.
But I'm still hoping for more non political stories...

11:51 p.m., May 08, 2007  
Blogger Eoin said...

Hi Paige,

I felt much the same about Sarah's post. But I have a simple question: why do the words 'Bertie Ahern' not supply the answer to your question?


12:49 a.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Omani, as ever your wise counsel does prevail. It was premature of me to leap to a quick and uninformed decision - a trait that I live most days to regret.

The search for logic of course could be the problem. Maybe I'll vote for the person who has the nicest dress sense, who says "how are you" when they come to canvass at my door, who drives a Fiat Punto, who makes me laugh (or at least smile), who isn't araid to say they don't know, who is willing to give anything a go, who makes me feel safe.... the problem is if such a candidate were to emerge, I'd probably want to marry them not elect them!

Thanks also for your kind words about TOL. This is serious praise indeed - like having Seamus Heaney as an English teacher.

Eoin, thanks for your comment. If the question was "10 reasons why I shouldn't vote FF", then I'm pretty sure Bertie might get my first or second preference. But I don't need anyother reason why not FF. I'd like a damn fine reason why FG or Labour or whoever. Even my election-devouring FG friends admit they struggle to think of a killer reason.

8:53 a.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Cathy said...

Just for argument's sake, NOT because I love FG, FF, or or any other Fs... Your argument 9 troubles me.

>Pick one job, and do it properly

Ouch! Mothers in the home, as in the good old days? And does that imply that women who have children and work don't look after their children properly, or don't do their paying job properly?

> I don't know why my taxes should go to pay so that you can have a family and compete for the same jobs as me.

I think that is a common problem with taxes (and in that they are a little like teenagers) - they don't do what you want them to do. But if you extend this argument, you could say that you don't see why your taxes should go to roads in Cork or Donegal when you don't live in Cork or Donegal, why they should go to nursing homes when you are not old or sick... In this case, preschool would be open to the children who need it most.

Good post, though (aside from the aforementioned no. 9...) your usual blend of well-thought out argument and humour, which keeps me a faithful reader.

9:31 a.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Eoin said...

This may seem obvious, or trite; but have you read the various parties' manifestos? They're all online. In particular, the FG manifesto is here (though, admittedly, they don't make it easy to find!). You might just find the killer reason for you in a policy that interests relatively few other people (or there may be a photo of the single candidate with a gsoh and a killer smile). And now to stop madly displacing and get back to work.

9:46 a.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Oh, I laughed and laughed at your final twist. You do it so deftly. Easily known you have a fan club.

12:36 p.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Cathy, your argument is most welcomed. Again, my terseness has me guilty of appearing glib. There were at least two thoughts in No.9.

I believe that taxes should be fair and equitable. Tax breaks that only one section of our society can avail, appears unnecessarily divisive.

A parent - and it can be a Dad as much as a Mum - should be supported in their desire to stay at home when children are young. This is good for - and particularly important for - our disconnected society. There shouldn't be any financial barrier to/or incentive for returning to work.

I have to believe that someone like me who invests all my energy in work, by definition is more productive than someone who splits their time between work and family. Not more valuable to society but certainly more productive. I need to believe this!

I'm happy that some of my taxes pay for roads in Cork or Donegal but would much prefer if they provided social services for people rather than more road building. (Your point re: what my tax supports is well made + taken.)

My comment was also deliberately incendiary in an attempt to stir up further comment.

Thanks for stopping by and keep coming.

4:25 p.m., May 09, 2007  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Eoin, many thanks for the comments which are not atall trite and for the link. I'd never have found the FG manifesto on my own!

But it only adds to the problem. The vast majority of these proposals are no different to FF and just as glib. (Glib is my word for today).

FG will (paraphase)

"Clean Hospitals" - no they won't HSE might
"Tougher sentences" - no they won't the judiciary do this.
"Put Minister's reputations on the line" - what the hell does this mean?
"Confront the rise in suicide" - ditto
"Increase investment in Public Transport" - how? By who much? When?
"Reform regulators who pass on prices too easily" - this is a frightening 'promise' of the bury my head in the economic realities variety
"Fast track infrastructural projects" - did FG not vote against this very strategy by the present Govt?
"Insure Irish laws are understood and adhered to by immigrants" - Perhaps we should start with Irish people (and even Irish politicians) before looking to blame immigrants.

Thanks Eoin, now I've another ten reasons not to vote for a party. Roll on the GSOH and the killer smile!

4:41 p.m., May 09, 2007  
Anonymous graham said...

I agree with you in that I'd struggle to find a reason to vote for FG. I don't really like Enda Kenny and I can't really give any particular reasons why.

When it comes to voting though, I want my vote to make a difference and so I will vote for the people I believe have a chance of getting into office and creating a new government, namely Labour and FG (FG only by default coz I think they've a chance together).

The way I see it, the current government have a proven track record of lies and false promises. This annoys me greatly. Following years of high economic growth, it's obvious to me that some people have done extremely well, while a majority have seen more taxes and charges, longer commutes, greater mortgage debt (if they're 'lucky' enough to get a mortgage), increased childcare costs and a complete shambles of a healthcare system. Do I want another five years like this? or would I rather vote for change and give a FG/Labour based coalition the benefit of the doubt that they'll be more honest, better at managing and spending taxpayers money and above all, that they will give a damn about the people who are worst off in our society?

That's what has helped me to make my decision.

P.S. I just stumbled on your blog through GUBU, I like it very much.

5:36 p.m., May 09, 2007  

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