Wednesday, February 17, 2016


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This will not be a definitive post until after the election. I have opened it with a few contenders and will add to it as things strike me between now and then. Most of the action is likely to be in Dublin Bay North where I live but I'm not excluding anything that strikes me on my perambulations during the campaign.

So let's go. That must have been some chirpy cherry picker that got Enda so far up the pole (so to speak). No doubt he considers it his rightful place, half way to Heaven and canonisation in his own lifetime. But Mayo pride has come before a fall more than once in living memory, so I hope the faithful are assiduous in their novenas between now and the day of judgement.

Many have commented on the perplexing choice facing the voter this time round. I think there are some 19 candidates in my constituency alone.

What faced me on my way out of Supervalu is symptomatic. I am faced with three candidates. A pretty lady whose face has often got as far as the inside of my letterbox in the past, and two unknowns. Social Democrat sounds about right as a set of beliefs, but I'd better check out who they are. And then there's the man I've never seen before either, but who is tempting me.

It's not the Irish language that's in his favour, but that little word that children used to be taught but that has largely fallen into disuse and I've never seen it on a poster unless it was for a long vanished brand of cigarettes. PLEASE !

It's a hard life being an independent but Finian has actually fallen from his perch on this particular evening, or was he pushed? I checked it out and the poster has come through the tags rather than the tags being cut. But that doesn't prove anything. Perhaps the posters were too lightweight for the recent high winds or perhaps they were too rigid to bend with them, or maybe they were sailing too close to them. In any event I'll be keeping my eyes open.

Averil is now running as an independent following her falling out with Fianna Fáil over their non, or lukewarm, support in the same sex marriage campaign. So she can do what she likes as far as posters are concerned. She has opted for single coloured posters but in different colours. This is the pink version. Yes, I know. They keep telling me. I'm colour-blind.

There is also a blue version and something else I can't remember. And the signed given name (used to be Christian, but St. Averil?) is a bit odd. Harder to remember at a distance I would have thought. But who knows what price an autographed poster might fetch when Averil becomes the first female Taoiseach?

I was down the village today and there was Stephanie Regan dressed up to the nines and doing a canvass. I had heard her interviewed on the radio the other day when she was talking about adrenalin build up. I learned that when you get a real shock, like being in the Bataclan or the AK47 hotel, the adrenalin rush can take up to a week to dissipate. I've only been up before the PAC or in the Dáil bullpen or at the Seanad side-table, but I know what she means.

Anyway I decided to have a word and I was only half way through my first sentence (of many) when I saw she wasn't paying the least bit of attention. Then I noticed that she appeared to be tied up to a lamp post. Good Lord, I thought, are Sinn Féin in government already.

When I looked down I saw that on this rainy day she was wearing a very open and delicate pair of shoes. That was when I realised it wasn't Stephanie Regan at all, just somebody pretending to be her. So I moved on.

It's interesting to see to what extent the Irish language comes into the campaign. The above is the Fianna Fáil contribution and it is the only poster with Irish that I've seen so far from any of the parties (I have referred to Independent Ó Conaráin above).

It is interesting on a number of counts. Fianna Fáil has long marketed itself as “the republican party” a slogan whose resonance goes back to independence and the civil war. These days, of course, it is simply a way of trying to undermine Sinn Féin but the party has to be careful not to overstep the mark and remind people of its own “slightly constitutional” origins. Nevertheless it has to make a token obeissance to its former pursuit of the twin national aims “Éire saor, Éire gaelach” but with a ballot paper firmly in both hands.

So what have they come up with this time. Éire do chách. I think myself it is a good slogan because it illustrates the degree to which Irish has now become simply a token rather than a national aim. This sterile phrase has none of the resonances of “cherishing all of the children of the nation equally”. In fact, it could be interpreted as open season for speculators and financial predators, drug and robber barons, and the like. It is indiscriminate, but that doesn't matter. It is not meant to mean anything. It is a flag run up a pole and nothing more, and even then not a flag that merits taking down at sunset.

The word “cách” in Irish means everyone, but you have to be careful not to omit the fada (accent) or the buailte (used to be a dot but now a “h” in the cló Romhánach (modern typescript). Otherwise you just end up with a piece of shit.

I see Jimmy Guerin is running again. Regular readers will remember my run in with Jimmy during the 2011 campaign, and from which he emerged a gentleman. Unlike the other independent who capitalised on Jimmy's misfortune and then just dug in.

But that's not why I have his poster up here. I noticed this morning that Jimmy also has the word PLEASE on his poster and thought he deserved a word of praise.

Averil tops the poll. And look who's at the bottom. Ouch !.

Some people will do anything to get elected. Terence Flanagan, formerly with Fine Gael and now with Renua, is standing on his head.

At least it is a lot quieter than his gimmick in 2007 and a lot less objectionable than having his sneering father at my front door.

On election day, posters are not supposed to be within fifty metres of the polling station. The above were taken that evening. Fifty metres my arse.

Terence Flanagan slid down to the bottom of the pole in more ways than one. Serves him right. Hope his father comes knocking on my door again soon.

Clearly not everyone in Raheny is a fan of Aodhán. As it happened he lost his seat in the final sort out on the fourteenth count.

And finally, the cúpla focal from the Blueshirts. I noticed the odd (very odd) Fine Gael poster with this slogan. Sometimes it was on top of a picture of Enda and sometimes, as above, on its own. A tricky choice of terms which can also mean turgidity - overinflating the fiscal space?

Don't forget that all candidates who get over a quarter of a quota will get a refund of €8,700 election expenses (vouched?). So you can help democracy along the way by voting for an independent, and then transferring to a party candidate if you wish.

However, this sort of strategic voting can be dangerous. I did it in voting for Sean Dublin Bay Loftus in the 1981 general election, both to give him a boost and to criticise the major parties. It was not my intention to put him in. But sufficient people did the same and he kept surviving the counts and finally got in.

He then brought down the Government.

You'll find a similar (but definitive) page on my website relating to the 2011 general election .

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