Spring is here and new life has sprouted with alarming fecundity on lampposts around the country.
Yes, it’s election season.
What struck me driving home past the identikit posters exhorting me to Vote number 1, for Ireland, for jobs, for a good time, was that it’s all become a numbers game.
I’m sure boffins deep in a lab somewhere have produced a complex formula that includes the number of doors you have to knock on, babies that must be kissed, flyers dropped, funerals attended and posters hung.
So the outcome of our democratic process is that the votes go to the candidates who have spent the most on marketing.
And prospective politicians almost bankrupt themselves in the process.
But don’t worry too much. It’s a savvy investment, since, once elected, they are on the gravy train for life, with a secure job, guaranteed pension and unlimited expenses. Well worth the cost of a few thousand posters.
The entire process is destined to attract the wrong types of people with the wrong priorities and the wrong skill-sets, inevitably resulting in bad government.
Successful candidates should be those with clear policies, the right competencies and a genuine desire to act in the country’s best interest, not their own.
Maybe I’m profoundly naive but we have the power to change this.
Don’t vote for the candidate who’s a nice guy or who looks familiar. Interrogate the politicians who call to your door, research their track records and achievements to date. Ask yourself whether they possess the right qualities to represent you, not whether you’d like to go for a pint with them.