I’ve been thinking a lot about politicians lately. Not in a sexy way or anything; although I would make an exception for John Lyons TD for Dublin North West if he wasn’t gay and I wasn’t married. (Apologies etc.) The election is days away and elections force us all to think more about politicians than we’d probably like. I’ve had odd twitter conversations about the semiotics of Willie O’Dea’s moustache for instance. But this being 2016 and the centenary of our great Rebellion, it seems more important than ever before to vote in #GE16.
From what I know of Irish people, we like elections. We love our politics as much as we seem to loathe our politicians. I have always voted ever since I’ve been eligible to, believing it’s my duty as an Irish citizen. So in the best show of electoral pride and national enthusiasm I can muster I have endeavoured to make my decision. Just who will get my precious Number 1 and the possibility of the coveted TD’s salary ? I have trawled all my candidates’ websites. I’ve read all their leaflets. I’ve hashtagged #vinb and #cblive like it really mattered. I’m listening to radio talk shows til I’m even interviewing myself about who I’m going to vote for. But Dear Reader I cannot decide.
We have all heard all the promises. A few thousand social housing units here, a few hundred thousand jobs there. No waiting lists for anything. Ever again. No taxes unless you’re a millionaire. Something like that. But without getting personal ( John Lyons aside. Sorry John. I do not have a photo in my purse. HONEST), it’s easy to talk. I don’t want to use the next phrase but I have to. During the boom (sorry) the boys above in the Galway tent couldn’t shorten the hospital waiting lists when people I knew were bringing their children to school by helicopter. In Limerick. And no, they weren’t drug dealers.
Well the helicopters are gone so what do I want? I’m from Limerick and I want jobs. All the jobs. I want my city to be taken seriously and I want Regeneration to happen. I’m a woman. I want #repealthe8th to happen in my lifetime. Because it’s not just a slogan. I have children so I want to know that if they were ever sick, they would be seen and not put on a list to wait 3 and 4 years. I’m a citizen of this country and I want homes for the hundreds of children and their families who are currently living in hotel accommodation. Those are my priorities. And I’ve lost faith in the power of any government to deliver on these and many other issues.
I’m closely related to somebody who has always spoiled their vote in General Elections. Those of you who know me from twitter can guess who that might be. They take great care in choosing their ballot-spoiling words and believe very firmly in their right to do so.This method of using my democratic right has never appealed to me. Until now. Both my grandfathers were active Labour men and would be appalled to hear such a thing. But I’m listening and I’m seeing and I’m getting no closer to feeling represented or heard. None of the above is starting to look like an option.