Posted by Jason O on Aug 10, 2013 in Irish Politics
There’s a scene in Tim Burton’s 1989 classic “Batman”, where two petty street criminals, having mugged someone, start arguing on a rooftop about whether the Batman, a vengeful vigilante, really exists. Batman then appears, and scares the bejesus out of them, to spread fear amongst criminals about their actions.
If you want political reform in Ireland, that’s how you do it.
First, you pick a dozen Fine Gael or Labour TDs (actually, all Labour TDs are vulnerable now). Don’t bother with opposition TDs: they’re powerless and their word is worthless. Go for the Fine Gael TDs who scraped into the last seats. People like Derek Keating, or Alan Farrell, and you tell them you are going after them personally in their constituencies, unless the government delivers on your specific political reform objectives.
Remember: you’re not trying to help some other candidate, but specifically to depress their personal first preference vote and transfers, to get people to leave the box beside their name on the ballot paper totally blank.
Then you circulate leaflets personally tying every lie the government has told to them, because the government’s lies are their lies too. Don’t even bother mentioning political reform in the leaflets, it’s not a sexy issue. Go for cutbacks and higher taxes. Remember, you want to frighten them into doing what you want.
Don’t forget to drop leaflets in their specific local area, their parish or housing estate. Drop it a few times, if you want, just to make sure that they see them, and see that you are working personally against them on the ground. Non-political people never quite understand just how paranoid TDs are about small numbers of organised people deliberately against them in their constituencies.
After a few deliveries, the TD in question may even try to meet you to address your concerns. If not, keep at it, keeping the TD informed as to what areas you are dropping leaflets in, and pointing out what you need them to do to stop. Believe me, she/he will be sweating, and will open a dialogue.
Now your foot is in the door. The important thing to remember is that the only currency TDs recognise is votes. If they believe you can affect votes in their constituency, your opinion/needs will matter to them. What happens next is up to you.
Small note: depending on the amount of money you spend/raise, you may be required to register with the Standards in Public Office Commission, and you should have some contact details on the leaflets.
*Also works on councillors up for re-election next year too, by the way, on whatever your local issue of concern is.