Message to Disaffected Voters:

To all disaffected voters out there, I know how you feel. I was one of you myself once, and even when I was too young to vote, I still shared in your pain. Fine Gael and Labour have put off a lot of their voters with their budgetary decisions, Fianna Fáil hasn’t quite been forgiven for being asleep at the wheel as the economy was driving towards a brick wall, Sinn Féin’s economic illiteracy and dodgy past have been flaunted for the world to see, and ULA-Trotskyism will never gain much support from the middle class.

However you do have a choice, though it may not seem like a great one. You could go about your daily life, hoping somebody somewhere will tailor-make a solution for you. Admittedly stranger things have happened in Irish politics, but  I wouldn’t hold out hope. Alternatively you can take the responsibility on yourself, by taking part in our democratic process.

Whether you want to be a public representative, a policy creator or a grass-roots activist, there are many vital roles you can play for democracy. But before you take action, you’ll have to make a difficult choice. I’m going to lay out your options before you:

1) You could join an established party, and try and change its policies and practices from the inside.
Advantages:
a) Internal party structures already exist, and may only need small tweaks.
b) Brand familiarity, meaning that a support base already exists.
c) Experienced activists and representatives to show you the ropes.

Disadvantages:
a) Mainly that there will be other members of the party who’ll disagree with your “new/radical” ideas, and who may never be convinced of their merit.

2) You could set up a new party from scratch.
Advantages:
a) Little or no internal opposition to your political reform agenda. You write your manifesto and hit the ground running.

Disadvantages:
a) No brand recognition meaning a support base will have to be built from scratch. This will take more than one general election cycle to solidify, assuming you do everything right.
b) Internal party structures have to be built from the bottom up. This will take time.
c) Very few people experienced, so you’ll have to learn by trial and error.

This choice might not seem like a particularly good one, for any number of reasons. I’ll fully understand if you choose to continue posting angry comments on TheJournal.ie, shouting at the television when a guest on Tonight can’t stand up to Vincent Browne’s bullshit filter, and tweeting about Pat Kenny’s high salary when he stands up for the poor and needy. Yet it exists, and you can take it

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    • Chris B.
    • January 10th, 2013

    Seems like your options are weighted more towards the advantages of joining an established party. Then again, you a member of Fianna Fáil, the party of power, the party of the establishment.

    • Well if you can think of other advantages of creating your own party, do tell me. Generally I think you’d have to be a very talented, dynamic individual with a strong force of personality to succeed in creating a political party that would survive more than a few election cycles.

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