Dan Boyle: Vote For Me (Part 564)

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From top: Dan Boyle election posters from the 2002 General Election (top) and 2011 General Election (centre); Above Dan today.

My strategy, such as it is, is to let people know people know that I am standing. I’m hoping to at least have some piece of literature delivered to every house in the electoral area.

I want to deliver as many of these leaflets myself so I can carry out some soft canvassing, trying to engage with whomever I come across.

To date I’ve been to six thousand houses, but this is little more than a third of number of houses in the area.

The second phase is to directly knock on the doors. This is what is most important, especially for the local elections. Having met and having a knowledge of a person are the most likely reasons for voters choosing to vote for a candidate.

I’m acutely aware of the demographic changes that have occurred since I have last been a publicly elected representative for the area. Many who had voted for me are no longer of this World.

Few of the first time voters have any recollection of my ever being an elected representative before. My experience, such as it is, counts for little if I can’t combine that with an ability to convince every prospective voter of what I can do, at least for the next five years.

Weekdays I tend to go out on my own. At weekends I get joined by a number of friends. It’s a good way of discovering who your friends are. As well as the personal support, the mutual aerobic exercise achieved by walking about 6km each time can only be good.

It’s a numbers game. About half the electorate will sit out the local elections. I wish more would participate. We desperately need more people to do so.

For some not participating is their verdict on the potency of local government itself. In that they are not wrong, although I believe systems can only be changed from within.

For most it is a cynicism against politics, a cynicism that for many may have become far too ingrained to change.

The process of canvassing is for the most part a largely pleasurable one. People tend to be kind, polite even tolerant. Tirades are rarely encountered. Some sense of discontent can be read into world weary sighs and often withering stares. Even when met with the negative I have always preferred the passion of anger as against the numbness of indifference.

The means of canvassing of political canvassing may be being slightly changed by social media, but I don’t believe that the intensely personal nature of campaigning in Ireland will ever change. Nor should it.

No opinion poll, no focus group, can ever be as effective as an individual voter telling you something on the doorstep.

Criticism, when it occurs, can often to be cutting but is always incisive. One encounter I especially remember is when a constituent said to me :

“The only time we see you these days is when you are the television.”

There really was no comeback to that.

The former speaker of the US House of Representatives. Tip O’Neill, is credited with the aphorism ‘All politics are local’. This has often been represented as politics being about policies.

Politics are about people. That’s what we so often get wrong.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. He is running in the local elections min Cork in May  for the Greren Party.  His column appears here every Thursday. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

18 thoughts on “Dan Boyle: Vote For Me (Part 564)

  1. bisted

    …no 2007 election poster Dan…you remember the one where the ungrateful voters of Cork South Central dumped you despite a countrywide surge for the greens?

  2. The Facts of Life

    Bitter Bisted busted

    dan I enjoy your articles well done on sticking with the column it shows strength of character and respect for constituents is indeed crucial people like respect and good manners and not to be treated meanly yes I’m looking at you bisted there is a difference between legitimate criticism or a misplaced joke and nastiness for the sake of it

  3. Kieran

    Thanks Dan, the columns are the most readable on BS and always (well, mostly) provide an interesting insider’s perspective.

  4. GiggidyGoo

    Dan. Can you give us a brief summary of why your party provided cover for FF when you had your coalition. The reason given why you ended it was because FF couldn’t solve their leadership problems. Nothing about the financial destruction you and they oversaw in those cost four years. The last time I asked you about it, you tried the dismissive ‘it’s in my book’ line.
    Like to try now seeing as you are looking for votes?

    1. phil

      Bingo, Dan may genuinely believe the reaction he gets on the doors is a broad cynicism against politics… I suspect people dont have as short a memory as he might hope, I will never forget the cover they gave FF in that period , and I will remind anyone who tells me they are considering voting for the Green party ever again. I genuinely believed in the Greens at that time, they seemed competent and ethical , how wrong I was, they actually gave when a hint of more respect for FF, at least they dont pretend that they are something that they are not…

      I will say however I dont include Trevor Sargent , I still respect him, Ive often wondered how he got mixed up in that crowd , I suspect they wanted to align themselves with him rather than the other way around ….

      1. Nigel

        Meh. If you love a party only to the extent that it is shiny and pristine so long as it is outside the dirty business of politics, then you are too good for this world. Similarly, what always gets me when people complain about the Greens in coalition is that they forget the feckin electorate returned FF YET AGAIN. As Brexiteers and Trump supporters like to say, that was the democratic will of the people, and we got it good and hard, and then in their wisdom they gave us FG, and they austered us good and hard again. Meanwhile FF thanks you for making the Greens their judas goat for the bailout and look forward to being in charge again next time round.

        1. phil

          You are missing my point, FF/FG are well understood animals , they are the worst of the worst, I dont get why people keep returning them to power, but the Greens told us they were going to police them, hold back the worst excesses , they had no intention of it, just wanted that sweet sweet power , and then only concerned themselves with edge issues like fox hunting, and securing their pensions .

          So to my mind that makes them much more dangerous

          1. Cian

            FF/FG are well understood animals, they are the worst of the worst, I don’t get why people keep returning them to power.

            Simple answer is that they are better than the alternative.

            Actually, strike that, there has never been an alternative.

    2. Giggidygoo

      I take it, Dan, that you don’t have a credible explanation, so are choosing to try hide on the subject, hoping it’ll go away.

  5. Ian-O

    Hi Dan, just in relation to your comment about leafleting – please don’t! I understand the need but only yesterday evening I got home to a literal pile (I am talking 10 +) leaflets from everyone from pizza takeaways (I hate pizza!) to Virgin media (who I am already with) to paving companies, taxi companies, Frances Fitzgerald telling me my OAP rights (FFS) to social welfare etc. and so on.

    This was a bit more than usual but I bin at least several unwanted leaflets, business cards and flyers, daily and never, ever look at these pieces of rubbish that end up in my recycle bin. Considering they are going to start charging for that bin, there is no way I am paying to dump someone elses refuse and its a terrible waste to design, print and deliver something that automatically gets binned. As a matter of fact, I make it my business to never deal with anyone who dumps their flyers in my door, although it wouldn’t have affected Frances’ chances of getting my vote.

  6. Ian-O

    Hi Dan, just in relation to your comment about leafleting – please don’t! I understand the need but only yesterday evening I got home to a literal pile (I am talking 10 +) leaflets from everyone from pizza takeaways (I hate pizza!) to Virgin media (who I am already with) to paving companies, taxi companies, Frances Fitzgerald telling me my OAP rights (FFS) to social welfare etc. and so on.

    This was a bit more than usual but I bin at least several unwanted and never, ever looked at pieces of rubbish that end up in my recycle bin. Considering they are going to start charging for that bin, there is no way I am paying to dump someone elses refuse and its a terrible waste to design, print and deliver something that automatically gets binned. As a matter of fact, I make it my business to never deal with anyone who dumps their flyers in my door unless I have to, although it wouldn’t have affected Frances’ chances of getting my vote. That the lack of that was always a given.

  7. Ian-O

    Hi Dan, just in relation to your comment about leafleting – please don’t! I understand the need but only yesterday evening I got home to a literal pile (I am talking 10 +) leaflets from everyone from pizza takeaways (I hate pizza!) to Virgin media (who I am already with) to paving companies, taxi companies, Frances Fitzgerald telling me my OAP rights (FFS) to social welfare etc. and so on.

    This was a bit more than usual but I bin at least several unwanted and never, ever looked at pieces of rubbish that end up in my recycle bin. Considering they are going to start charging for that bin, there is no way I am paying to dump someone elses refuse and its a terrible waste to design, print and deliver something that automatically gets binned. As a matter of fact, I make it my business to never deal with anyone who dumps their flyers in my door unless I have to, although it wouldn’t have affected Frances’ chances of getting my vote. The lack of that was always a given.

  8. Nilbert

    phase 1, I will move my hand to the general area of my bottom
    phase 2, I will give a gentle scratch of indifference

    repeat to fade…

  9. anne

    When you see a sign on my door that says “No junk mail, & no politicians – yer all gangsters” that means, do not knock & do not put your junk mail in my letterbox.
    Like respectfully just mozzy on away & keep walking. Don’t pretend you didn’t see the sign and when I point to the sign, don’t say ah but can I have a minute of your time. No.. fupp off. You deserve a bating for knocking.

    Thanks & all the best getting on the gravy train.

  10. Eoin

    “Weekdays I tend to go out on my own. At weekends I get joined by a number of friends. It’s a good way of discovering who your friends are”

    Yeah, Dan. Next week, you start naming and shaming, that’ll learn them.

    Seriously though, good luck. Although I still associate you with the circus of the dying days of the FF/Green “bailout” govt 2007-2011, you weren’t the worst of the Greens and you certainly weren’t the worst of the administration. You deserve a second chance.

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