Main parties are failing to enthuse many voters
Published 15/02/2016 | 02:30
More than one in four voters say they are ready to back an Independent candidate or someone from the plethora of other small parties now standing in the General Election. This suggests it will be hard to form the next government.
That in turn suggests that a period of political instability may lie ahead, which would not be good for business, investment and jobs. It also raises the prospect of a return to the polls for another election in a matter of months.
But that is democracy and it is very wrong of members and activists among the main parties to be sniffy or condescending about those 'Independents and Others'. Such an attitude smacks of taking the view that people should only have a vote if they vote the 'right way'.
It would be more appropriate for the principals in the four bigger parties to examine their own consciences about the reasons they are failing to enthuse large sections of our electorate.
More than a quarter of voters find they cannot support Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour or Sinn Féin. That figure is almost as big as the level of support for the frontrunner, Fine Gael, and greater, by some distance, than the levels of support for any of the other three parties.
The plethora of broken promises by Fine Gael and Labour after the 2011 election has compounded disillusionment with Fianna Fáil for the economic calamity which occurred on its last watch in government. All of the main parties have a job to do to rebuild voter trust. Making a vast array of give-away promises on every level cannot help in this delicate task.
It is also an objective political reality that 'Independents and Others' can get away with making an even bigger array of promises which cannot be delivered upon, or worse, would be economic suicide for the nation if they were delivered. All such promises must be challenged by the established parties, who need to up their game on delivering a clearer message to potential voters. There are just 11 campaign days left.