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Thursday 14 December 2017

If you don't know, then don't vote... just go to the pub instead

The campaigning is over in the Scottish Independence referendum as people flood to the polls today.

Having spent months trying to convince the people which way to vote, many on both sides will now switch to the ubiquitous (and moronic) cry that defines the end of election campaigns everywhere - 'whichever way you vote, just vote'.

Parties and commentators fall over themselves in the race to patronize the public with platitudes about democracy and how someone probably died to win us a vote and we are therefore honour-bound to waddle to a polling both and tick a box.

This is not only completely spurious, it's also utterly counter-productive. Effective democracy is evidenced by engagement - which is not the same as voting.

If you don't care about the issue at hand, if you haven't been paying attention, if you don't know the policies, issues and consequences of your vote, than stay the hell at home and don't muddy it up for those who do know.

You often see appropriately low turnouts at elections - at the last two Irish presidential elections, half the voters stayed home.

And they were right. They knew that the choice of who inhabits the Aras makes zero impact on most of our lives, so they chose not to impinge on the choice for those who did care.

That's democracy.

And democracy is not advanced by condescending MTV-derived 'rock-the-vote' blather. If a Scottish person hasn't got a strong feeling either way about Independence, here's what we should be saying to them - don't rock the vote. Stay home. Go to the pub. Catch a movie.

Above all, don't waste time blindly interfering with something that to a lot of people, really matters.

Standing up for a jackass

Kanye West (right) has taken yet another step to justify Barack Obama's description of him as 'a jackass'. During a recent concert in Sydney, he stopped the music to announce that he wouldn't continue until everyone in the crowd stood up. Disappointingly, there wasn't a unified roar of "shag off Kanye, we paid for a seat". Instead almost everyone stood up. Almost everyone.

Two people stayed sitting because they were wheel-chair users.

Kanye did not spot their wheelchairs, but he did spot them - and he tried to apply peer pressure to make them stand, leading the crowd to chant 'stand up' at them.

When it was pointed out to him that the two were wheelchair users, West's response wasn't "I'm really sorry," it was to send an usher over to confirm their disabilities.

Clearly the shock of discovering that he can't actually heal the lame was too much for Kanye to handle with dignity. Jackass.

Leave U2 alone

Us humans aren't good with remembering historical context.

We're fixated on now. It's why our current views on mortgage interest rates and U2 are wrong.

Variable mortgage rates used to be horrendous (how'd you like 16.25pc in the early 80s?).

Then they were briefly amazing (remember the tracker?) And are now - despite what people may say - actually quite good.

Likewise with U2. Originally they were horrendous (How'd you like the 1980 Late Late appearance?).

They were once amazing (Achtung Baby, All That You Can't Leave Behind) and are now - despite what people say - are actually quite good.

So how about we leave the lads alone for once?

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