28 May 2007

I intend to be extremely rude to the next person who feigns excitement over the media coverage given to the endless announcements of the results of the hand counted votes in the recent general election as if they somehow demonstrated that we live in a robust democracy. Live coverage of election counts are no more a reflection of the health of Irish democracy than the voting in the European Song Contest is a reflection on the success of the European Union. As television viewing experiences, they have a lot in common: fun at first, then boring and quite obviously pointless.

But there is something worrying to me about the amount of time TV anchors, party hacks and political correspondents waste on speculation about the likely distribution of nine seventh-preference Shinner votes on the Inishowen peninsula to an anti pothole crackpot. I think it proves that the political classes are far more interested in this kind of nonsense than they are in the real business of organising democracy. If only half the media time wasted on this twaddle were devoted to matters like the delivery of a fast and reliable health care service, the construction of decent primary school buildings (my seven year old’s classroom is a Portakabin) and the provision of a fair, clear planning system we’d be so much better off.

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