27 May 2008

Irlande Nul Points

Just back from a sunny weekend in Italy (More about that in a later post) where there was a refreshing lack of talk about the Lisbon Treaty; it was good to get away from the constant and passionate discussions and arguments on the street over the benefits and consequences of ratification.


If only there were actual arguments on the streets of Dublin, if only there was even the slightest bit of interest shown in the Referendum by the average voter. With around three weeks to go to the vote, apathy can be described as being at an all time high. With that in mind some groups are trying an alternative approach to raising voter awareness. COIR, up to now solely known it seems for their "It will cost you" poster campaign featuring three monkeys in a 'see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' pose, have brought out the first viral video of the campaign, and its pretty well done. Humour is always the way to an Irish voters heart. That's why we sent Dustin to the Eurovision, and is a Europe that rejects Dustin really something we want to be a part of?


(thanks to Steve for passing this on to me)


At 10:01 am, Blogger Kate said...

This is a subject that is close to my heart (voter apathy and not Dustin the turkey). Voter Apathy is insidious in our part of the country - with many of my friends and even the not-really-in-the-goodbooks-for-this-attitude-husband shrugging and declaring "I don't really know enough about it to vote" in a way that has me literally tearing out my hair.

How people vote - (either my way or the wrong way ;-)) is entirely up to them - just please people, care enough about yourself, your country and your future to do a little interwebing to read up on the issues then walk the (in our case) 120m to the polling station. For Shame Ireland, For Shame.

A few weeks ago the topic came up in our local pub and faced with the shrugs and the 'eh's I endeavoured to outline both sides arguments in a neutral manner (it really isn't up to me to tell people how to vote - it isn't up to me to mention how it won't make too much difference as we already sold out our currency and any kind of fiscal independence long ago - something I feel we will rue over the next few recession tinged years) but I thought that perhaps if educated in the bullet points of each side they might be enthused enough to look into it in more detail and then vote.

What transpired that night (amid a running battle with the darts players at the end of the bar who felt our political discussion was throwing them off their game) was an often heated discussion about the relative benefits of further involvement in Europe from the grass roots - amongst the people at the bar - builders on a three day week because no-one is buying the houses they build but their boss will do anything to try and not let his loyal works go, disgruntled working parents whose children are in crèches from 7am to 6pm as they struggle to afford increased mortgage rates, several retired members of the community among others and a fair representation from middle management and consultants - all in all a fair microcosm of the Waterford electorate.

I left, feeling impassioned that perhaps I had helped break through the apathy, instil a little pride in our national process (and in our constitution which allows us to always have a say in anything that affects the constitution) and with many back slaps and "you should run for next local elections - we'd vote for you - you explain stuff good (sic)" I walked home with a lighter heart and my hope renewed.

Until last week when watching a match in the self same local, I chanced upon a few of these debaters and with a smile I asked "so are you all ready for the vote?" the responses were: 1) "Well I always go with Sinn Fein and they say No so I'll vote No" 2) Ah sure we'll probably be away on our holidays 3) Eh 4) What's it all about again?


Still if only one of those people vote who would not have voted before than I can feel like I have achieved something.

In the meantime I'm thinking of a clockwork orange style eye opener to try and get the not-really-in-the-goodbooks-for-this-attitude-husband to do a little reading before I drag him to the polling station. grrr.


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