herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Savage i: Yes, this election is unique ...because it's really boring

This election is unique in the history of the State. Not for the obvious reasons.

Yes, it's the first time we've ever had an election split by ideology; left versus right. But honestly, who cares?

Yes, it's the first time FF isn't contending for government. But really, so what?

Yes, it's the first time the two main competing parties will either achieve single party government or go to bed with each other. But truly, does anyone give a damn?

It's unique because it's the first time in the history of the State that the electorate has become bored during an election campaign.

The relationship between the electorate and politics is a bit like the relationship between kids and Christianity; we have to make noises about liking Mass and Jesus and stuff, but all that really gets the blood pumping is when Santa shows up. And for most of us, elections are political Santa.

New presents arrive every day, the polls matter, the policies matter, and every event and statement gets us a little closer to the shuddering climax that is the day of the count. But this election is different. We know who'll win. We know all the policies. We know the constraints from the IMF, so the whole thing feels a little hollow. If 2007 was a passionate, sweaty fling with no thought to the consequences, 2011 is procreation.

Everyone knows we're doing this not out of desire, but rather out of a requirement to produce a new government.

Here's hoping we end up with a healthy, bouncy new government, because the conception is starting to get very tiring.

q The only exciting thing at the moment is Labour and Fine Gael slapping each other with their handbags. When this sort of thing kicks off, you get the sense someone in FG pauses, looks into the middle distance and whispers 'Cry havoc, and let slip Michael Noonan'.

Noonan has essentially one technique for political fights; talk very quietly, smirk gently and wind your opponent up like a spring. One gets the sense he finishes press conferences, turns on the radio and waits for the sound of steam bursting from the ears of a Labour spokesperson.

No quote shows his approach better than when he paused during an extended wind-up to smile at the journalists and say "sure, there's no point in going home early when we're flying".

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