The diary of a first-time voter: Understanding, and confusion, is growing

Well I've been doing my reading on political parties, utilising as a foundation a guide to the general election published by my colleagues in Trinity News. I can feel my understanding of the political parties growing. 
The diary of a first-time voter: Understanding, and confusion, is growing

Yet if anything, I'm more frustrated than I was on the weekend.

I find that for each strength I discover in a party there is an equal, significant weakness.

Labour has admirable manifestos and principles but seems to have betrayed them in their time in power.

I respect everything the Green Party stand for- I've met Eamon Ryan, at a climate conference. I found him a rather poor speaker (I actually noted down at the conference, "Eamon talks shite"), but I admire the party’s policies.

However I fear that voting for the Greens or an Independent is dangerous. Do either of them have the strength to bring about real change?

Fine Gael’s posters say that they want to "keep the recovery going", but at what cost?

Public services, especially health and education, have suffered for that recovery. It goes on.

I cannot find a party I believe could form a complete and ethical government.

Lucinda Creighton’s office is around the corner from my place in Dublin. The toxic yellow Renua posters are everywhere. In the car, my grandmother comments that she doesn’t like them.

She finds Creighton’s facial expression “off-putting”. In the back seat my mother mumbles to herself that she finds her politics off-putting.

I know a little about Renua. That it was established a little while after Creighton and several other TDs was expelled from Fine Gael, when Creighton defied the party whip on anti-abortion grounds with regards to the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

They contested the removal of the section allowing terminations when a pregnant woman presents as suicidal. This makes me pre-emptively regard the party with the same apprehension I usually reserve for out of date yoghurt and festival port-a-loos.

I don’t know all that much about their policies, other than the fact that they're very pro-business, and have published some policies on banking reform, child care and housing.

However, all I instinctively think of when I hear Renua, is an Ireland without bodily autonomy rights - which should say something about their marketing strategies if nothing else.

I’ve been thinking about my twin sister too, and who she will be voting for.

Eli, in Cork, will be looking at the same choices as me. My vote is in my hometown, not Dublin.

The politicians I will be choosing from are an entirely different set of eerily staring glossy cartoons from those which I see every day at the moment.

Thankfully Cork isn't too much of a pilgrimage home. Unfortunately some people are further away.

The exchange students from America are all getting reading to vote by post. But our own students and workers, spread out around the globe as they now are, do not have this option.

Even three weeks is not enough time for any student in Australia to find the money and plan a trip home...

Jessie's previous diary

February 6: Politics is the study of power

Jessie's next diaries

February 13: My biggest political concern is climate change

February 17: The diary of a first-time voter: What recovery are they talking about?

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