Election 2020 Word on the Week 8th February 2020.
There is an air of a festival about an Irish General Election. During the preceding 3 to 4 week’s people with ladders are seen to be climbing many of the utility poles in our towns to fix A1 size pictures of their preferred candidate. The higher the candidate’s portrait the more symbolically he or she will top the poll!
The old days of public meetings have been overtaken by an all-encompassing media. It is the TV debates that steal the show. Party representatives are subject to a grilling by well practiced professionals who are able to reveal inconsistences in their party manifesto. Attempting to score points publically may be good for audience ratings but lacks the intimacy of the Parish Hall Meeting where a good chairperson can ensure that everyone has a voice.
When I came to live in Ireland over four decades ago I had a colleague who was keen to instruct me in all things Irish which he clearly believed to be superior to anything that took place in the UK! He was in high spirits in the 1977 election which saw Jack Lynch sweep to power amid the discarding of a number of unpopular taxes. It all seemed to be too good to be true – and so it proved to be. Rampant inflation set in during the eighties and the rest is history!
One thing I learned was the single transferrable vote is allegedly superior to the UK and USA system of ‘first past the post’. It certainly provides the voter with the ability to reward preferred candidates and penalise those not in favour. The counting of votes takes place after the setting of quotas for each constituency. You then enter the world of surplus votes and transfers which few, including myself, have fully understood. It does however make for a dramatic count! The final results can be a long time in coming. Where the count is close between candidates a recount prolongs the agony!
The end result is a fairer representation of people’s choices but then coalitions have to be formed, in order to get into government, which thwart the most equitable outcome. There is no perfect system as we are imperfect people who are involved.
When it comes to God’s electing love for heaven our reliance must be on His mercies (Lamentations Chapter 3 verse 22). In fact, our trust is not to be on anything we have done, no ‘vote for me’, no ‘look at my record’. Because few believe this St Paul uses the case of Jacob and Esau where God’s choice was made before either of them could be said to influence it i.e. before they were born (Romans Chapter 9 verses 10 to 12).
We have Jesus to go to. He said “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (St John Chapter 6 verse 37).