Blogpost: Use your vote on May 7th (especially the Irish)

Vote or not to vote, that is the question?

By Martin Healy

POLITICAL parties and candidates will campaign and canvass with varying degrees of success and intensity in the coming months leading up to elections on May 7. Given expected turnouts, usual rule of thumb is 50% of voter pledges for a candidate received equates to that candidate’s expected vote. As a former election agent and candidate, it is uncanny just how good that 50% of voter pledges rule of thumb is. Candidates who wish to be successful cannot wish away that contact rate.

For me, there is no doubt, I have always voted and as long as I live and breath, I always intend to vote. The struggles in history to broaden the franchise to include every man and woman over eighteen regardless of gender, creed or race has inspired me. Such struggles for universal suffrage were not without sacrifice. The rich and powerful of the time like many of the rich and powerful today did not always take to the idea of votes for everyone.

The political science behind campaigning, leafleting and canvassing fascinates me. The exits polls, the excitement at the election count and the delight of the newly elected and newly re-elected adds to the whole sense of occasion once all the actual votes have been counted.

As an Irish born person living and working in Britain, I currently enjoy the right to vote, or even stand for election which I have done with some success in the past. The same right to vote applies to the many British expats resident in Ireland. Traditionally free movement of people, goods and services between Britain and Ireland has generally been to the mutual benefit of both nations.

Consider then my shock, horror and disgust when I hear that Conservatives in Parliament led by ex cabinet minister, Liam Fox want the Government to bring in emergency legislation to deny Irish borne UK residents the right to vote. In many ways this is a huge compliment to us Irish borns that Tories consider us such a threat to their electoral chances. Surely there are few enough people voting anyway that politicians of all colour would wish to increase the vote, protect the franchise and enhance their democratic mandate to run the country. Or perhaps i am being somewhat naive!

If you do have a vote on May 7, please use it, you never know when the rich and powerful will attempt again to deny you the right to vote.

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