Volume should never be equated to mass

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s a well-worn cliché that politicians always return to when public opinion isn’t going their way – and it’s the truth that the only poll that counts is the one on election day.

All of the other surveys of a cross section of society carried out over the phone or in focus groups ultimately don’t amount to a hill of beans beside the acid test – and that’s who votes for who when it comes to the ballot box.

So it was that we went to cast our vote last week – or at least half of us did, which is a matter of some concern, if not embarrassment, given that half of the population couldn’t even be bothered.

There was talk of political tremors coming our way, like the vibrations engulfing parts of central Europe; a rise of the Far Right; a show of support for those who think Ireland is full; a chance to get rid of the traditional parties whose end had come.

But then the electorate quietly cast their vote for the people they want to represent them at local and European level. And apart from a few firebrands who made it through onto their local authority, the status quo stayed very much the same.

The two biggest parties throughout our history as a Republic remain the two biggest parties – battered and bruised for sure, but still standing, and still dominating the domestic landscape as they’ve done for more than a century.

So it turns out that a lot of the noise was just that…noise, made by people with camera phones and access to social media, all leading to the mistaken belief that volume is the same as mass.

Yes, there are people who have every right to be angry that their sons and daughters cannot get a place to rent, let alone buy. And yes, there are parents whose hearts are broken because their children are living on the other side of the world.

But the notion that we’re either full or that we have no welcome for foreigners – not to mention people forced to flee their homeless because of oppression or an invasion masterminded by a megalomaniacal despot – has hopefully been answered by the silent majority.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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