It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it’s ours. Today the government got the message loud and clear, hands off our presently dysfunctional democracy! ( see results here )
Among the count day coverage was an interview with a female politician I have huge respect for, Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin. She was talking to Cathal Mac Coille on Morning Ireland while standing in the RDS count centre. At the time, the ballot boxes were being opened and the imperfect tally figures predicted the no votes just pulling ahead.
Mary Lou quite admirably stated that in her experience, and on this occasion, that it was evident that Irish citizens had taken seriously their independence of thought and used balanced judgement in deciding what way to vote. Whether buttering up the no voters or not, Mary Lou has a point. We can be an unpredictable, independent bunch at times, much to the annoyance of PR companies and political advisors who have become accustomed to treating our democracy as a commodity; utilising all too often market research to devise public policy.
In the coming days the biggest losers in this campaign will be seen to be the optics peddlers, over paid marketing types that got the campaign message all wrong ( click here ).
Right behind them will be Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his advisors who have now painted themselves into a corner by threatening not to reform the Seanad if the electorate voted to keep it ( click here ). A position, no doubt, that will fade into the distance as the FG pedalo frantically reverses.
Fine Gael will now have a big gap on their 2016 election manifestos and God only knows what they’ll try and fill it with! Might I suggest they begin work on their policy on tackling suicide, as the existing one ( click here ) runs out next year or perhaps Enda will swallow his pride for the betterment of this country and support some of the new bills on Seanad reform ( click here and here ).
Only time will time, but for the moment it’s back to the drawing board for the government and they’d be well advised to steer clear of the PR & Marketing department and go back to policy making basics.