SIR – Candidates for the imminent general election are presently working out how to woo us. The same handshakes, the dotty grins peering at us from posters, the plea to ‘think of me on the day’; earnest yet soulless.
So much sameness, so much rendering them indistinguishable from one another. You’d feel sorry for them, burdened as they are with the challenge of finding a vote-friendly way to stand out.
But the conflict inherent in electioneering is increasing exponentially. Trump is sure that everything he says is so is actually as he says. Boris was going to argue to remain, but pivoted at the last minute and now he’s saying his is a one-nation government, even though the UK is possibly more divided than ever after last week’s Tory landslide.
Such politics are commonplace, but the publicity-garnering strategy overhauls have occurred since the formation of the 32nd Dáil in spring 2016. An innocent time, perhaps, or maybe just more restrained. Describe it as you will; it’s ancient history.
What was unusual and contentious then is standard and unremarkable in 2019. Noel Grealish knew this when he politicised immigrants’ remittances in the Dáil recently, but he’s an independent, so he’ll do what he’ll do.
What are these ‘remittances’ you speak of, Mr Grealish? Would they have relevance for Irish people at all? Please, enlighten us …
Verona Murphy knew it when she had a pop at migrants shortly after. You really do have to watch out for radicalised toddlers, you know. They might like biscuits like everyone else, but what are they really up to when they’re playing with dinkies?
The big trouble with her wasn’t really her, though; the Taoiseach endorsed her campaign after those comments. If the gaffer says it’s okay, it must be okay.
So what’ll this mean for Cork South West when we hear knocks on doors in the coming months? The casting of aspersions on certain groups of people will occur. It’s the modus operandi du jour, at least for politicians who are keen for a gimmick and thus happy to target people for simply being themselves and belonging to groups to which they belong.
It’ll be interesting to see who claims the USP of division and controversy for themselves. As we’ve seen, party leaders might endorse it, especially if a candidate’s chances look good. Or maybe one of our mavericks will experiment with fear of the stranger.
Interesting, surely. But it’d be better if instead they choose to play it straight and come at us with plans for bettering society for everyone.
So do us a favour, will ye, and spare us the fearmongering and divisive tactics. No-one’s any the better for it.