Well, some of the fuss is over. Yesterday passed remarkably calmly, for a day that, according to various political musings, tweets and bluster, could have seen the Government fall and Eamon Ó Cuív elected leader of Fianna Fáil. Neither of those things happened, and there’s a curious sense of disengagement matched with anticlimax.
However, most people are gone completely past the point of caring, and, if you believe the opposition candidates’ accounts of what they’re hearing on the doorsteps, just want the election so we can have our say and be done with the thing.
So, the fact that the Government did not fall yesterday leaves our main question unresolved: we’re not there yet. The Dáil still has not been dissolved, and the election date is still a matter of speculation, although it looks increasingly like being Friday 25 February.
The main reason, one suspects, is because all the parties need to act swiftly to get their houses in order before what’s going to be the most unusual election the country’s ever seen.
There is a host of candidates promising ‘change’ and ‘reform’ in this election and also, unusually, a lot of ideas for how that can be done. Unfortunately a lot of the people with those ideas are Independents, who will have precious little hope of implementing them without either joining a party or starting one.
It’s rather a Catch 22, the whole idea of running to achieve political reform. As John McCarthy points out in his column this week, it’s hard to see how somebody can get elected without doing all the things they want to stop.
But this might be the one election in which the majority of people see through that. If you want change you can believe in, you yourself, the voter, are the starting point. Don’t fall for the same old tripe.
Strangely enough, it isn’t the youngest candidate running in the election that makes me believe change is possible. It’s the oldest.
Jennifer Sleeman, who has featured here before, as the woman who stood up to the Catholic Church and organised a women’s boycott of Mass to protest their treatment by the Church, is running for election.
She is 81 years old, and is running for the Green Party.
While she may be the oldest candidate, and yes, age can be a factor, it is heartening to see that at the age of 81 people can still believe in change.
She is running, she says, so that we will not leave the problems of climate change and oil dependence “for future generations to deal with”. I don’t fancy her chances, with the current anti-Green sentiment, but I applaud her for running. Clearly, she is doing it from conviction and a desire to make a difference. A few more like her, and, well, I would believe in change.
- Micheál Martin’s speech… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com)
- Irish election: this will be Ireland’s chance to move on from 1921 | Martin Kettle (guardian.co.uk)
- Irish Politics: A Pre-Election Primer (crookedtimber.org)
- Fianna Fáil’s fall from grace | Elaine Byrne (guardian.co.uk)
- Irish Greens discuss leaving coalition (guardian.co.uk)
- You: Greens pull out of Irish coalition government (guardian.co.uk)