I am a foreigner and therefore – so I have been told occasionally – I have no clue. Keep that in mind when you read this opinion piece. :-)
Today, I am appealing to you NOT to vote for any independent politicians in the next General Election. If you want your voice to be heard, you have to decide for one of the parties, despite the fact that it is quite difficult. A vote for an Independent is a wasted vote, because at best, your Independent TD will never be more than a solo-runner that will have no significant impact and influence. At worst, however, he/she is a mad nutcase that is only interested in his/her own private agenda.
Why are Independents unreliable? Because you don’t know what they are thinking, who or what influences them and because they are a loose cannon. Look at Mick Wallace for example. The people that voted for him have to be aware that he will NEVER be at a position of influence in the Dail (and that is probably a very good thing for the rest of us!), but you also don’t know how he will vote on an issue that will come up in 2 years time and – different to parties – he won’t have to discuss his opinion or his voting behaviour with anybody.
Or take Michael Lowry, a seriously dodgy character who I wouldn’t trust to look after just EUR 50 of my own money. Can he be trusted to partake in running the country?
So what do you get by voting for an Independent? Nothing! Your representative has no influence or impact, might be a mad-cap looney and the only thing you achieve is to protest against the parties. Yes, that at times is a good feeling, BUT keep in mind that it will take many long years until you have the opportunity again to vote. Protest is a short term emotional decision, but in two years time you are still stuck with the nutcase that you voted just to protest against the parties.
So vote for the person that you would trust to look after your own hard earned EUR 5000 and vote for the party that is most aligned with your values and believes!!
Having read all that, I just want to remind you that – as a foreigner – I am not meant to have any clue about what I am talking about, but what if I did have a point!? ;-)