Sunday, May 27, 2007


So the most overused term of the past 3 days has to have been ‘squeeze’. Commentators in trying to put logic to the outcome of the election results determined that the public were consumed by the battle for Taoiseach and in feeling this was essentially the choice we were presented with, voted for one or the other, that is Fianna Fail or Fine Gael and consequently squeezed the smaller parties out of contention. To cast a net and ensconce us all in this over simplistic choice is of course rubbish. The most accurate commentary over the weekend has been from John Bowman, for each constituency he commented on as the results rolled out he stated simply the geographical, social and historical factors that would determine how votes would be transferred. It was pragmatic and insightful commentary.

Every representative of the smaller parties, attempting to put reason behind their losses, deemed that the Enda/Bertie debate consumed all and we voted with this battle of wills in mind. Why must our decision making be reduced to insultingly simple levels? Rather than trying to catch the mood of a nation, analysis should have looked at how candidates had canvassed, previous voting patterns, family legacies. There was no concerted effort to clearly elect one alternative, every vote counted, and was part of resurgences, stagnation and destruction. How can they determine the mood of a nation in a world of preferences, recounts and transfers? Commenting on Cork East, the FG Campaign Manager confidently having made his own estimates refused to discount FG as government partners, commenting on Cork East deems that Paul Bradford, current senator, outed from his Dail seat 5 years ago will surely walk it. Cut to John Bowman and he astutley remarks on the strange layout of the constituency and the geographical divide that means Paul Bradford has no chance, the candidates from his area have taken seats during late counts and he will not be receiving transfers from people excluded down in Midleton or Youghal. An understanding of how the constituency works is all that is required, not empty gesticulating.

Elections, like wars, means TV viewership and newspaper sales are up. Bertie Ahern sat opposite Mark Litle last Friday night, subject to more scrutiny than any other sitting Taoiseach, weary and frustrated with the media. He is not alone.

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