While reading through the draft code, I came upon an issue, should the same Moratorium be applied to Referenda and Elections?
In the case of elections I can see very little reason for a moratorium. People understand that they are choosing betweens parties and individuals and need as much information as possible and the Broadcast media is instrumental in providing this. We have also seen in other countries who do not have a moratorium, that very little changes on day before.
But should referenda be treated differently? Should we till have a full day moratorium so that people can reflect on all the information and not have to deal with spin (on bother sides). In the last few referenda we have seen misinformation on all sides, by allowing broadcast media to broadcast on the day before a referenda gives either side a chance to get out another miss-truth giving the other side little or no time to respond. By giving the full day before the polls opening, it can give people time to reflect on all the information.
This Column appeared in the Cork Independent on Thursday 26th May 2011
I joined Fine Gael in 2004. If someone told me on that day, that in seven years time Enda Kenny would be welcoming the British Queen and American President to Ireland as the leader of the largest party in Dáil Eireann and the Toaiseach of the largest Government Majority in coalition with Labour. I probably would have laughed in their face and said in your dreams.
During my many years in the party we had ups and downs, thankfully I was too young to have been around for the heartache that was the 2002 election. But still we had down times during ill timed announcments, racist jokes and of course leadership rumours and heaves.
Enda has not been the most popular Leader of Fine Gael, either among the grassroot members or the general public. He generally muddled true and it was viewed by many, including myself at times, that the incompetence of the then Government over some issues is what was making Enda look good.
In the lead up the this years General Election, the leadership was the biggest issue on the doorstep, after the economy of course. Coming up to the TV3 debate in which Enda refused to take part in, saw people being most critical of him. But after that it changed. The RTÉ and TG4 debates changed peoples mind and saw him as a safe pair of hands.
When he was elected Taoiseach on 9th of March, Enda started his biggest political challenge since 2002. How as it gone since then? Quite well. Enda has surprised his critics and his supporters in how he has handled his role as Taoiseach. He is playing the role of chairman and has made appointments to cabinets based on strengths. It is stilll early days and major challenges lie ahead.
What has he done well? He has managed to judge the public mood with his speeches and say exactly the right things. During the visit of Her Majesty and President Obama he has spoken gracefully and eloquently about the visits and how important they are to us all as a country. He has spoken well in the Dáil on many issues from the Banking crisis to political reform. This of course can just be seen as platitudes
What hasnt he done well on? The much vaulted and hoped for reduction in the Irish Bailout rate has yet to materialise. Enda has spoken much and this subject and while pressing his European colleagues it has failed to materialise. Enda has also failed to stop the jibes in Dáil, which can often be seen as a reason why people have lost interest in the politics. He himself is guilty of it.
There are many challenges ahead for the Government. This years budget could be make or break in terms of support from the public. Political Refrom could become a dead end as politicians could refuse to change their ways as they have in the past. And of course there is the finiancial system itself. It the economy dosen’t improve, will the government go with it.
So tonight its all about the preparation for the tally tomorrow. I have to be in the concert hall in Cork City Hall. I shall be doing the tally for Cork South Central but Cork North Central will be counted in the same hall. I will be trying to keep people updated on both counts on twitter. Keep an eye on the #tags #CNC and #CSC
I noticed on the way to work a number of interesting posters that have made an appearance! So today I decided to take my camera with me on the way to work. Here are the pictures that I took! Some people have a great sense of humour!
Know of more funny posters? Leave a link in comments!
So the Taoiseach has announced in the Dáil that the General Election will take place on Friday the 11th of March. So that gives us 49 days to campaign for Ireland’s future. I am looking forward to that!
The Taoiseach also announced that Minsters will be double jobbing until that day. He announced the following portfolios.
Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs: Brian Cowen
Education and Health and Children: Mary Coughlan
Community and Family Affairs and Transport: Pat Carey
Agriculture and Justice: Brendan Smith
Tourism and Enterprise, Trade and Innovation: Mary Hanafin
Fine Gael have today have “stood down” the party website for 3 to 4 weeks and replaced it with a crowd-sourcing site to ask the people of Ireland their view on what the Parties policies should be.
In an email to members launching the “new” site leader Enda Kenny had this to say:
Fine Gael want to invite people from all walks of life to join with us and help build our plans and ideas for the country. We are particularly interested in your ideas on how we can clear the barriers to employment and how we can get people back to work.
To help this process Fine Gael has decided to set aside the Party website for three to four weeks and replace it with a facility for the public to contribute their ideas and thoughts on jobs, the economy, politics, the health service, and other issues.
Too often, political parties and politicians talk too much and don’t listen to what the people have to say. It is important, now, more than ever, that the political system and politicians listen to what the Irish public have to say.
Therefore, Fine Gael will spend the coming weeks of the New Year listening to your ideas ahead of the General Election. Please visit the website at www.FineGael.ie to share your thoughts and views with us, and spread the word to your friends, family, and anyone you think would like to share their views.
I am not sure what to make of it. The party has recently released loads of policies and they now void? Also the character limit of 250 characters is a bit low considering what you are asking people or should “txt spk” be used?
I received a letter today from Cllr. Laura McGonigle announcing her candidacy for the Fine Gael Dáil Convention. This brings to five the number of declared candidates. Fine Gael is planning to run 3 candidates in the next General Election.
The other declared candidates are sitting TD’s Simon Coveney and Deirdre Clune, local Senator Jerry Buttimer and two Councillors from the South East Ward, Des Cahill and Laura McGonigle.
In the last General Election Fine Gael got 28.42% of the first preference vote. According to PoliticalReform.ie Fine Gael will get between 26.9% in the Ipsos MRBI poll to 34.3% in the Red C poll in Cork South Central. Fine Gael could take three seats depending on transfers, if the support is closer to the Red C poll.
The question is what 3 will be standing. The sitting TD’s obviously have a really good chance of being re-selected. The question will be who will be the third. Jerry Buttimer has a very good chance of being the representative as neither Clune or Coveney are based in the West of the constituency while Cahill and McGonigle are based in the East, as are Clune and Coveney. Jerry also has the advantage of having being tested in the last General Election. In that time he got 8.77% of the vote and lasted till the 4th count.
Des Cahill faced his first election in the local elections and topped the poll in Cork South East ward with 15.48% of the vote. Laura McGonigle who was also elected on the first count in the first count in 2009 in the same ward with 14.58% of the vote. Laura was also facing her first election to the council having been co-opted to replace Deirdre Clune after the Dual mandate was abolished.
I think the line up for Cork South Central will be as follows:
While I think it would great for Laura McGonigle to be on the ticket due to her youth, enthusiasm and experience, I don’t think she will make this time.