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The Daily Sceptic

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Electoral Contempt

category dublin | politics / elections | opinion/analysis author Wednesday January 13, 2016 19:01author by S.C. Carrollauthor email syllser at safemail dot net Report this post to the editors

They want your vote but won't tell you when.

Fine Gael canvas through the letterbox for an election they have not even announced.
Canvassing for votes for the election with no date.
Canvassing for votes for the election with no date.

The pamphlet pictured was delivered to many homes in the Dublin 4 and surrounding areas today, January 13th. It might not look like anything to get too excited by or even pay much attention to but it is quite a remarkable document in its own right. For the first time in the experience of this writer Fine Gael have started actively canvassing for votes in an election that has been given no date yet. In a rather flagrant display of how removed this particular political class have become from the citizens of the country they are happy to ask us to vote for them but don't have the decency to tell us when.
But its actually more serious than this somewhat trite interpretation. The people of Ireland are being treated like consumers not citizens. Even if the law is not in place to protect the citizens from such ludicrous political machinations this should not allow the government to ask us to vote for their representatives prior to announcing the date of an election. There must be protocol to these matters and such propaganda should not be allowed through letterboxes prior to the actual election date announcement. Remember there are strict laws in relation to political canvassing and the environment; posters must come down from telegraph poles within a 3 week time frame after the election and such like. Seemingly our poles are more important than our people. At least that must be the case if the governing political party are allowed to push these messages into people's homes when the electorate has yet to be given the most fundamental information required, ie when it gets to vote.
There are better reasons not to return these people to office but in this particular case they seem to want to remind you of your place as merely a potential voter rather than the citizen you are, so maybe you should start thinking about how to remind them of theirs; servants not leaders. Just in case there is any doubt the two individuals in question are Eoghan Murphy and Kate O'Connell. They want your vote but don't expect them to treat you like a citizen once they have it.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Fri Jan 15, 2016 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Quoting the laws about PUBLIC placement of campaign solicitation and saying how long AFTER elections must come down (and that seems to me to be an "anti-littering" reg, not an election reg) might not be relevant in this case.

Please, I am NOT saying that this isn't unseemly given your customs and you might even have a regulation about PRIVATE (and delivered to the home is that) solicitation for political support. Mind, I come from a place where politicians are CONSTANTLY soliciting for our votes and monetary donations not necessarily in the context of a specific election (or even office being sought).

Is the objection here really that THIS political party has the resources to fund stuffing letterboxes in this way but yours doesn't? An objection that THIS sort of solicitation SHOULD be under regulation about election campaign spending? I;m just saying that you need to be clear precisely what you are objecting to.

author by S.C. Carrollpublication date Fri Jan 15, 2016 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To try and explain; I am not objecting to the practice of letterbox canvassing much as I may not like it.

Secondly, I am not a member of, nor affiliated with any political party.

I take your point that the environmental regulation I referred to is only partly relevant. The point I was trying to make is that it seems remarkable that the law is so still clear on that front while the actual people of the country do not have laws to protect them from what i was drawing attention to; election canvassing prior to announcement of election date. My point being that as the governing party their administrative duty is to let the population know the date of the election prior to issuing out and out election canvassing literature through letterboxes. The fact that they are actively canvassing while keeping the electorate uninformed of any date for the vote is both administratively wrong and an abuse of position. As far as I have been able to establish there is no law that is being broken and its an area that major Irish political parties avoid. I'm continuing to research the law and statues relating to the area and would appreciate any light that anyone else might like to shed on the legalities and protection of the electorate. Fine Gael have take advantage or abused their position depending on your point of view but either way I still believe that the citizens of a republic should not be treated in such a manner by any party.

Thanks for your comments and hopefully the above helps clarify some of the points I am making.

 
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