Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

The Trainspotter’s ByElection.

Posted by Jason O on Mar 19, 2013 in Irish Politics |

I received some ire on Twitter recently when I suggested that the Meath East byelection does not actually matter. Most of the flack was from party activists¬†in the constutuency, who are no doubt working physically very hard to get their candidate elected. I’m not disparaging that work at all. I used to do it myself, and it is long and gruelling work. All I’m saying is that the result will not matter because I can tell you now what it will be,¬† and certainly how it will look to a rational observer of normal democratic politics.
Meath East will elect a moderately conservative centrist who broadly supports the EU/IMF/ECB status quo. That’s the result. If a radical anti-bailout socialist were elected, that would have some significance, but that’s not going to happen. The gap in differences between the two conservative candidates are no wider than differences they might hold with members of their own respective parties.
Yes, the professional party political hacks on the ground, and those who want to aspire to that position, can see a huge difference as to whether it is a diesel train, or an electric one, or a steam driven old classic. The rest of us just see a train.

1 Comment

William
Mar 19, 2013 at 8:25 am

Ordinarily, I’d have agreed with you. But I don’t think we should adopt neutrality when one of the parties was responsible for economic decisions that led to Ireland being in the bailout program it is, and is now campaigning against some of the measures it negotiated. That’s beyond the regular, predictable campaigning against taxes or cuts a party might end up implementing. And it doesn’t matter that the government parties might have had similar policies had they been in government up to 2011. We don’t know that, and the fact is they weren’t there, they weren’t the parties responsible for this. Elections shouldn’t be just about likely future policies.


 

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