Today is a landmark day in democracy, a day to rank with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of apartheid and the suffrage for women.
Today Tinson1 got to vote for the first time.
We have a General Election here in Ireland. It’s been a fairly low-key campaign so far, everyone knows how angry the Irish people are at the collapse of our economy and the fact that we’ve had to bail out banjaxed banks. Even opposition politicians seem wary of listening to us rant “on the doorsteps” (I hate that phrase) so we’ve had about as many callers as the Bates Motel. Mysteriously our hallway is full leaflets reminding us of how wonderful each candidate is, which I think they must be slipping through our letter-box in the middle of the night.
We did have one caller, and I must pay tribute here to a female candidate for a wonderful piece of electioneering. She called to our house when only 14-year old Tingirl was home and chatted away to her about her policies, about how we need more women in politics, and that “woman to woman” she needed all the support she could get. Tingirl was thrilled to be thought of as a grown-up, keeps pushing the woman’s literature at us, and in four years’ time she’ll probably be part of the woman’s election team.
There are a large number of young people standing for election, which I think is great. The best-known, now at any rate, is 23-year old Dylan Haskins, whose profile received a huge boost when it was reported that on one of his posters, beneath where it says “It Starts Here”, someone had spray-painted the word “puberty”.
Anyway, Tinson1 was very passionate about it all, knew where each of the parties stand on a range of issues and was very definite about who he was voting for.The secrecy of the ballot is, of course, sancrosanct, but since I told you all last autumn about how he was baton-charged at the student march, I’m sure we can all guess he didn’t vote for the current Government.
And what about me? Well, there was a time when I used to write quite a lot about politics here, before I realised that it was more fun to try and make up daft stories than to write about a government who was doing the same. Any of you who read my stuff back then has a fair idea of what I think of the current lot and those of you who didn’t have only to read the sentence before this one.
There are many, many reasons why I voted to get rid of this Government, but here is one more. When I was a young student I knew that my parents knew nothing and that their whole generation were making an absolute feck of absolutely everything. My dad used to challenge me on this belief and in time I came to realise that it was not entirely true. Tinson1 has, of course, the same opinion of my generation, but this time he has a massive weight of evidence on his side.
This Government has made it impossible for me to beat my son in an argument. I can never forgive them for that.