does your vote make a difference?

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Girl From Mars Posts: 1446
Just wondering how others feel about this at the moment. I always vote, I have always believed its a civic duty and you cant complain about the state of the government etc unless you vote. But lately I've just been feeling like my vote is worth nothing. Fianna Fail ruined the country and I thought with a change in government we would see at least some steps toward improvement but I feel like we've gone out of the frying pan into the fire. Does anyone feel similar or can you convince me that my vote is worthwhile?
Anne Cordelia Shirley Posts: 4731
If you attend a count you'll see votes do make a difference. If you vote one person number one and they are elected on the first count, then your vote goes nowhere. But if you vote right down the line, and use your vote strategically, it makes a massive difference. People have been elected because of seventh preferences on a fifth count. I think some groups are better than others at lobbying and 'using' their votes. The anti abortion lobby has made 56,000 calls to TDs and senators since the summer. There's a massive, massive lobby group with a very clear agenda using their voice in an incredibly powerful way. Ditto the pensioners, they always vote so that vote is pandered to. Pensioners have hardly been touched by any government because they go to constituency clinics and voice their dissatisfaction. I know its easy to become disillusioned but as a citizen of a representative republic who's allowed to vote, especially as a woman, I would never not use my vote. Right now, no matter who's in government, they would be making pretty similar choices because we're constrained by the EU and IMF. The hands of whoever holds the money are restricted. But I think certain groups, like those who are working but just about holding on, need to get a hell of a lot savvier and take a leaf of the books of other groups who are much more effective at bending the ears of those in power to get their agenda on the table.
lulu126 Posts: 1095
Girl From Mars, I completely see where you're coming from and I agree with everything ACS said too. I don't mean to be harsh but when you think that voting is a basic right that is denied to millions of people all over the world, I don't see how anyone can consider not bothering to vote just because they might be dissatisfied with the outcome. There are people in other countries who are willing to die for the right to a say in who governs them but sadly I think for many in countries where people have grown up with the right to vote, it's easy to forget why it's important to do it. I don't even think it's a matter of civic duty- more that we have the right to determine who governs us. If we choose not to be a part of the democratic process then we can't complain when that process doesn't provide us with what we want and you're in no position to attempt to change it- at least if you've voted you can go to your TD/councillor/MEP and push for change. Although I've always been passionate about the right to vote (my South African father was passionately anti-apartheid and my English mother gave me the suffragette speech on my way to my first vote at a general election!), I didn't actually realise how much it meant to me until I didn't have it. I've lived in Ireland for 4 years but because I'm English I'm not allowed to vote in referenda or presidential elections. I completely understand the reasons why I'm not but it's hugely frustrating not having a say in events that affect and will affect my life. I think what ACS said is right though- any government would have their hands tied to a certain extent by the EU/IMF. Although sure wasn't the Lisbon Treaty voted in through a referendum, largely because people thought without it we wouldn't get the EU's financial support now...?!
PussyGalore Posts: 3388
I often wonder about this myself. I have missed just one election in the last 20 years and I have never been so disheartened by the names on the election ballot sheet, it seems that FF and FG are one and the same. My family used to be FG supporters but that has changed now. While I accept that any govt in power now would face tough financial decisions it's the fact that the people running our country still command large salaries/expenses all the while turning the screw that bit tighter. It's the little snippets of information that are released about govt spending/wastage that are so infuriating and then there's the way our politicians seem to talk down to the very people who elected them. On top of that, the handling of the Savita case has disgusted me no end and shows that our Taoiseach does not care one iota about the people of this country.
Girl From Mars Posts: 1446
[quote="PussyGalore":1z379j5w]I often wonder about this myself. I have missed just one election in the last 20 years and I have never been so disheartened by the names on the election ballot sheet, it seems that FF and FG are one and the same. My family used to be FG supporters but that has changed now. [u:1z379j5w]While I accept that any govt in power now would face tough financial decisions it's the fact that the people running our country still command large salaries/expenses all the while turning the screw that bit tighter. It's the little snippets of information that are released about govt spending/wastage that are so infuriating and then there's the way our politicians seem to talk down to the very people who elected them. [/u:1z379j5w]On top of that, the handling of the Savita case has disgusted me no end and shows that our Taoiseach does not care one iota about the people of this country.[/quote:1z379j5w] That's exactly what I'm driving at. I would never not vote in a general election but I can't help but feel that it's a waste of time because no matter who I'm voting for they seem to be screwing us left, right and centre. I do make an effort at getting my voice heard, I will often email politicians and speak to them whenever I get a chance but it all just seems to fall on deaf ears, that's what's killing me.
PussyGalore Posts: 3388
I know GirlfromMars, sorry I didn't mean to parrot back to you what you'd said, sounds like we're both in sync! I want to write a letter to the Taoiseach about the Savita scandal but something's holding me back, I think it's that I'll pour all my energy into it and then receive either no reply or a bland response.
Weird Cat Lady Posts: 3501
Candidates are all purity and principle until they enter government, and within five minutes they've joined the corruptible club. Constituents are all believers in the art of the possible until they emerge from the voting booth, and within five minutes they're chewing their fists. Fool me once etc..
Girl From Mars Posts: 1446
[quote="PussyGalore"[u:2ai7dk5u]]I know GirlfromMars, sorry I didn't mean to parrot back to you what you'd said, sounds like we're both in sync![/u:2ai7dk5u] I want to write a letter to the Taoiseach about the Savita scandal but something's holding me back, I think it's that I'll pour all my energy into it and then receive either no reply or a bland response.[/quote] Sorry, for my lack of clarity - I didn't think you we're parroting at all, I actually meant that you had hit on the crux of what I was trying to say :) TisOnlyMeself, nicely put. I can see that on a banner somewhere outside the Dail (but in some kind of condensed form cos, let's face it, that'd be a helluva banner!)
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