A few weeks ago in this column I went to town on how wonderful our democracy is. I wrote lovingly of our Single Transferrable Votes and the accuracy with which they reflect our choices.
I poo-pooed the simpletons who prefer First Past The Post.
I did so hoping that no one abroad finds out about the Seanad election.
How would we explain to people abroad how the electorate is selected? It sounds like something out of Lord of the Rings. “Three seats for the Elven-kings under the sky (Culture panel) .Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone (NUI). Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, (County Councils). One from the Dark Lord on his dark throne (Taoiseach’s nominee).”
A good old university. One of the places where you can spend 30 grand on nice pens and no pesky commoner questions you.
Not one of your newfangled Institutes of Technology with their obsession with lots of windows.
Yes I’ve been selected by decades of political inaction, to help elect a house of parliament on all of yere behalves. As if opening a bottle of wine with a knife and a teatowel in The Lads’ Gaff on a Monday afternoon of Rag-Week on College Road made me more qualified to decide on the country’s governance than someone designing a new semi-conductor out in CIT. Or for that matter, more eligible than most of the rest of the population.
I’m registered to vote in it for the first time. I barely remember registering but I must have done.
Probably after missing the last four through inertia. I voted to keep the Seanad in the election. Not because of huge insight at the time, just because I don’t like throwing anything away without major inquiries.
For example, I’ve a broken Nutribullet up on Adverts.ie at the moment because someone might need it for parts.
I’m not comparing the Seanad to a broken Nutribullet. Not all the time anyway.
The Seanad seems benign enough. The odd time when I watched Oireachtas Report, the Dail looked dark and annoyed whereas the upper house was bright and airy like a new classroom in an old school.
It often makes the news for something odd. Like someone giving out about seagulls.
But for every one of those there’s a new person giving new perspectives and one of the not-usual suspects in there. It could be a shortcut for underrepresented groups to try and effect change.
I voted to keep the Seanad on the assumption the Seanad would be reformed. I mean I knew I was kidding myself.
But still, voting is an act of hope. Like, they haven’t even reformed the registration process. You can’t be on the register if you weren’t on the register before February 28 last year. HOW HARD COULD IT BE?
There’s only a few thousand on the register. They could add people in with crayon FFS.
And then to vote I’ve to get someone to witness it. Like, C’Mon. I’m surprised there isn’t a stipulation that it must be accompanied by a ten- bob note.
But since my vote is so precious, feckit, I’ll use it.