Another brief link dump of some random stories that caught my eye during the last week of this election cycle.
This brief RTE podcast brings up gender quotas, which are seeing their first test of effectiveness in this election. I opposed them, but have long since accepted that they are now part and parcel of the Irish electoral system. That being said, it’s interesting to get women’s perspectives on them now that we are on the verge of the coming election, which already has the most female candidates of any general election in the history of the state. The trick is getting the most women ever elected.
It’s evidence of how dumb the coverage of the election can get that this story, wherein Enda Kenny and Gerry Adams briefly met each other on the campaign trial, exchanging brief pleasantries, kept popping up everywhere for me, on news sites, Facebook, Twitter, as one of the biggest stories of the day. Give me a break with this kind of stuff, please? It’s as if the media is annoyed that the two didn’t start slinging insults, and so must make a big deal out of them doing the exact opposite. I think this meeting got more attention than the radio interviews that the two did that day.
Something to remember when it comes to all the talk of coalitions to be formed or avoided: Fianna Fail’s structural rules mean that it cannot go into coalition with anyone without the approval of their larger membership, in the form of a special Ard Fheis decision. If it was just the parliamentary party, I could well imagine Fianna Fail cutting a deal, whatever Martin’s current pronunciations in the topic. The likes of Dermot Ahern and Willie O’Dea have been flying the kites on that kind of idea just recently. But the larger structure? Not I hope I think. You’ve got the local men and women there with no mind for national politics, and the younger crowd fresh from their time at Ogra, who seem to disdain Fine Gael with the kind of exuberance reserved for those in their early twenties. It would have to be a hell of a deal to win them over.
Lastly, The Journal is providing a decent service for anyone interested: fact-checking claims made during debates, and categorising them as true or false (or, in many cases, half-truths or partially false). There’s something to be said for a neutral party that can cut through the waffle and pierce the heart of the matter, using the records, numbers and quotations of note. In the end, it doesn’t really matter too much – I continue to maintain that debates are way more about presentation and delivery than substantial political debate, and I mean that in terms of what the viewer is looking for, whatever they actually say – but still provides an interesting insight into the way figures are bent and arms chanced when up on stage.
Next week we continue on with looks at Kildare North’s remaining candidates and more issues close to me heart in this election cycle.