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February 2008

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Mathew Parris had an interesting article in the Spectator not so long ago about the gap between what voters say are the issues of concern and the things that decide their votes when they're in the polling booths. Education, while paid much lip service by the electorate, has little effect on polling he contends and I think he had a good point.

I also don't think politicians (of any stripe) are especially interested in what the public thinks despite all protestations to the contrary (and most converstations I have had with politicians, esp ones I initially thought were the good ones, have involved a glaring lack of interest in anything other than the sound of their own voices). They are interested in what it takes to plamas those in important voter demographics which is not particularly likely to be what is best for society in general - pensions is a good example, as is the way the housing market is managed.

I also think politicians are extremely comfortable with less people going to the polls, especially younger people, as it is a lot less of a headache to be required only to address the demands of a few. This is especially true in a populist polity like ours which has a tendency to serve first the interests of vested interests and those in a position to lobby face to face.


I don't blame politicians for failing to make politics interesting to young people by the way. Young people are idiots for letting politicians sideline them. (I do, however, think it is a mean and cynical trick to organise polling day in a way which causes maximum difficulty to even the most enthusiastic student voter)

the saint

As a recent student I can say the Students Unions try very hard to get students to register to vote but it is difficult. Perphaps the USI should push for students to register in the constiutsy of the collage. Then Galway limerick cork kildare and dublin may well have student TDs then see the government look at youth.


Student personation used to be rife at one time, a kind of sport indulged in by the main youth branches of our most august parties. In Galway, student houses were known repositories of umpteen unused polling cards. Alas, in the tradition of Pat O'Connor Pat O'Connor, a young blueshirt was foiled in attempting to pass himself off as someone he was not, but it was suggested that it would be an insurmountable inconvenience to the courts if he happened to be in Amerikay over the summer when the summons required to be observed. Thankfully, he followed this advice and was able to attain the dignity of the bar without inhibition.

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