This was the month of the election that gave us Fianna Fail & the Greens in government. I think it's certainly time for a piece on how the Greens have rendered themselves unelectable for the next three or four elections, while FF will continue to bounce back due to a combination of lethargy on the public's part when it comes to voting (even in this godawful economic climate) and the general vacuum when it comes to ideology & fine political minds on our fair isle. But that's a longer post, so I'll save it for now. Here's the column:
It may have escaped your notice that another election is upon us. The dizzying variety on show is confusing and frightening, and you are even now rocking back and forth, asking yourself: ‘Who are these people?’, ‘ Why do they all look the same?’, ‘Is there anything else on TV?’ Fear not, gentle reader, for we’ve exhausted our research budget to discover the real issues underneath the politics. Your correspondent has read three newspapers, the back of a cereal packet, had five coffees and peered into the mysteries of the Dail and (at great cost to his spiritual well-being) has brought back the Truth.
There are several parties contesting this election. Some of them you may have heard of, like Fianna Fáil, a party well known for its keen interest in lowering taxes, raising taxes and photo opportunities at golf tournaments. Everyone loves Fianna Fáil. It may be because they have all the answers. One way or another, we all think they’re just great, so we keep electing them. But who are these other people who are always hanging around the back of the Dáil, hassling Bertie? What do they stand for? Can they do any good card tricks?
Fine Gael – nobody knows who these people are. Some theorise that they’re a group of experimental mime artists following around whichever politician is in front of a camera, for the amusement of bored journalists.
Sinn Féin are the party of whatever is on the front page on any particular day and can be considered the most up to the minute of all parties, supporting as they do the lowering of taxes, an end to the unflattering skinny jeans trend and the safe journey of Desperate Housewives’ Jesse Metcalf through rehab. Gawd bless them.
The Labour Party have just discovered that there’s another political party just across the Irish Sea with the same name as them. Apparently, by lurching to the right, this crowd got elected. There was something else about this ‘New Labour’ having a charismatic leader, but our guys only have half a page of the Guardian and a Daily Telegraph to go on so they’re improvising the rest.
The Greens are a massively relevant party. They really, really care about climate change and have in no way gotten lucky that there’s a sudden popularity for environmental issues among the electorate. Literally thousands of tons of eco-friendly coal is being burned in Green HQ right now to keep the lights on while they think of some other policies.
The Socialist Workers Party are well known circus entertainers who are shortly to embark on a sold-out run in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Catch them while you can.
Finally, the Progressive Democrats. Truly, these guys are the voice of the little people, the downtrodden and the disenfranchised. Your correspondent can only hope that they will have a chance to implement their lefty social initiatives if they get into power. And we all hope they do.
So, as you can see, the candidates to run our country are a varied bunch. A good thing too – it’s hard to imagine how difficult it would be to cast a vote if every party was the same as the next. As it is, lets just have a quick look at the standard rate tax promises from the parties who have announced so far:
Labour – 18%; Progressive Democrats – 18%; Fianna Fáil – 18%; Fine Gael – 18%.
Hurray for democracy. Hurray for choice. Go Election 2007!
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