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Posts Tagged ‘2011 General Election’

Political art has come into its own (and moved on to the streets) in recent years. In the run-up to this year’s General Election, the excellent Upstart campaign asked for submissions from artists, illustrators, writers, designers and film-makers to come up with an antidote to the candidate election posters. Anti Room’s Nuala Ní Chonchúir wrote an election haiku (seen here, nestled cosily between posters for Labour and Independent Paul Sommerville) and gave us an idea.

Photo: Unkiedave

We want you to embrace your inner Yeats and tap that Seamus Heaney vein and hit us your best election haiku.

We’ll even offer a mystery prize for the best one.

Let the 5-7-5 syllable madness begin!

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The election date is set. The parties have launched their election campaigns. Let the gender battle commence. When the shit hit the fan last November I made a pledge to self and country on my blog: votes for women. Not, of course, because we are morally superior beings. But because we, and the so-called female agenda, are, and have historically been, under-represented. In the 30th Dail, just 22 out of the total 166 seats were held by women, one of the lowest levels of representation in Europe. A recent survey of the level of representation in the lower houses of national parliaments in 30 EU member states and accession countries puts Ireland in an embarrassing 25th place.

I, along with most concerned citizens of this once great nation state, have been champing at the bit to vote in some new blood. And so imagine, if you will, my general delirium when our first piece of election material flopped though the letterbox this week.

Yes! It’s for a woman! She’ll definitely get my number one… oh bollocks, she’s standing for X party. Now I will vote for a woman, but not for X party. Not now, not ever. However fine her double X chromosome pedigree might be, X party is not getting my vote.

Eamon Gilmore was shown launching his party’s election campaign surrounded by scarlet-suited female candidates (“The Gilmore Girls”). It could have been Richard Branson and his Virgin air stewardesses. It was scarily reminiscent of “Blair’s babes” of the British Labour election landslide in 1997. Or Berlusconi’s babes for that matter. I deeply resent women being used as political accessories and prettification for powerful men. And I wonder if it’s a cynical move which will be exploited by parties who want to make it big this time: get the women voters out by giving them a token woman to vote for.

According to Adrian Kavanagh at Irish General Election 2011 Facts and Figures, the declared female candidates (as of 2nd February) were as follows:

Labour: 26.5%

Sinn Fein: 17.5%

Fine Gael: 15.5%

Fianna Fail: 13.5%

The Green Party: 11.5% (with more yet to be declared)

There is no female Sinn Fein candidate in 37 constituencies and no female Fianna Fail candidate in 33 constituencies. ” Well, bang goes that theory…

Come February 25th, decisions will need to be made. Do I put person before party? Gender before all other considerations? What is the X factor for the politicians who will get my vote? Out of 20 candidates for my area only two are women. And because of aforementioned party allegiances, one is a definite no-vote for me. My two favourite candidates are both men. If I vote for my values, I am not voting for women. Do I vote for the individual or the bigger picture? Which matters more: to me, to the country, to history?

Lucy Pearce is a freelance writer, magazine editor, trained philosopher and mama to three little ones. She is usually to be found in sunny East Cork baking cakes and wearing hippy skirts. She blogs at http://dreamingaloudnet.blogspot.com/. Twitter:
@DreamingAloudNt


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