Election Time

I pity the electioneering teams in our area. The short cold winter evenings must be testing their enthusiasm. People are not likely to stand long with their front door open to discuss local and national politics.

The most talked-about issues are complex and need more discussion than a few minutes on the doorstep. I doubt if many canvassers are invited inside for a cup of tea and a chat.

This is how democracy works in Ireland (at least at election time) and it took us many years of struggle, even physical, to get this far.

I can’t help comparing it with the situation in Hong Kong, China and other parts of the world where elections, if they exist, are a lot different.

In Hong Kong the recent demonstrations have not been about the right to vote, they already have local elections for local issues. As a permanent resident I voted there for a number of years.  What they now want is freedom to have a say in the big issues, like choosing the officials who make laws and try to balance the budget.

In China some experiments have been made at district level but precautions are usually taken to make sure the Party candidate wins.  National elections are a long way off.

In other parts of the world, the struggle for both local and national elections is just beginning.

Here, you hear complaints about people who would cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won’t cross the street to vote. Or is it the other way around?

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