Planet Bertie

I’ll try to make this the last posting on the outcome and conduct of Election 2007, given the day that’s in it. About a month ago I was canvassing in Dublin 4 and 6 with John Gormley, TD. It was just off Leeson St and another canvasser and myself had volunteered to knock on the doors of a small laneway while the others moved on towards the embassy belt. I rang a bell and the resident answered and let me in once she found out who it was.

This was a woman perhaps in her early sixties, comfortably off and a firm supporter of John in particular and the Green Party in general. While she said she had no problem with supporting John again this time around she was concerned, and I remember this very well, “that a vote for John was a vote for Fianna Fail“. I recall not being sure how this one should be answered. While I had heard rumblings from John and the others in recent days that change of government was the key phrase, FF were not going to be an option. I had not discussed the subtleties of the argument having not sat John down and demanded a firm answer. So here I was on the doorstep giving an equivocal assessment to this firm John supporter.

We finished up our discussion with me leaving her that she can talk to John if she wants and in no doubt that FF were not an option. Later that morning I said directly to John that a local resident and supporter was concerned that a vote for John is a vote for FF. John’s reply was “I hope you put her straight on that one?….” A little ambiguous perhaps but “I did John, I did, she is a real fan of yours and was keen not to relegate you to number 2 on the day”. He knew who she was – it was still at the stage of the campaign where lists of names were being trawled through and followed up individually. We finished the canvass and John said that he would go back to follow up with this particular punter. Nice touch and I am sure appreciated by my doorstep challenger. This woman’s vote is one among many thousands but what is it if her vote doesn’t matter.

Politics is about power and the attainment of power. Deny that and you don’t deserve to be elected. However, there is more than one way to hold power – formal office at the cabinet table is but one of the many means. Not only do I feel like that woman on the doorstep was short changed that morning, the candidate I canvassed for made a liar out of me.

In the bigger scheme of things, my feelings don’t matter. Good luck John, I hope you get what we worked for.

And another thing: why have a manifesto if what you end up agreeing on is a distillation of about one tenth of the proposals?

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3 thoughts on “Planet Bertie

  1. That wasn’t less eloquent. That grounded the whole issue very clearly, actually.

    Our politicians rarely think of voters as individuals, it seems, and losing one down to dishonesty/backtracking probably won’t make much of a difference to the Greens. I think that they’ve lost all credibility but what does that matter? They have their position for the next five years and by then the tables might have turned again. Five years is a long, long time in politics…

  2. It will make a difference though: she tells her partner, her two best friends and on it goes. This is a small town. Just read a 2003 Magill article on the first year of Bertie’s government: they say four years is a long time in politics. Sweet Jeebas what short memories we have. Thanks for the comments.

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