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Voteman, Ireland, Europe and the Illusion of Democracy

Voteman - "Vote or I will destroy you!"
I was shocked to learn that the nation's councillors have cost us €52 million over the past two years. I don't buy the line that this is the price of democracy, as recent council votes in Dublin have not reflected the wishes of the people. I refer to the decisions to keep the toll on the East Link bridge and to reject the opportunity for the electorate to choose their mayor. And Irish local democracy seems to be defined by an X Factor-style popularity contest, with thousands of hideous posters of really alarmingly ugly candidates hanging on every lamp post in the land. I would like to see some of the candidates hanging on lamp posts - especially the tired old fucks who've been around for years, and the members of political dynasties that have been screwing us over since 'independence' - but probably not in a way that they'd like.

But there is an alternative. It would involve sacking every councillor and giving every citizen a direct voice in local government. For a fraction of the cost of maintaining our councils, we can build and run a web-based, participative local democracy, giving citizens a real, ongoing say in how our cities and towns are managed. Our current council structure dates back to 1898. Isn't it time for a fresh look at local government?

Ireland votes in local elections on Friday, May 23rd, when we will also vote for our members of the European Parliament, which is just as pointless and deluded as Irish local government, just on a bigger and vastly more expensive scale. Europe is run by unelected people, such as Manuel Barroso and Baroness(!) Catherine Ashton. The parliament is just a talking shop, a distraction, costing EU taxpayers €1.756 TRILLION - that's €1,756 BILLION. A YEAR! I needed a sit down after discovering that figure.

The most striking thing about this vote will be the proportion of the vote secured by UKIP and other anti-EU parties. If UKIP do as well as expected, then Britain's withdrawal from the European Union becomes a real probability (it is already a possibility). That act, if it happens, will have more of an impact on Ireland than every election - local, national or European - since the foundation of the State. I fear it may end up marking Ireland's return to the UK fold (the Queen's visit here and President Higgins's visit there can be described as a 'softening up' process). Which will bring about civil war.

Meanwhile, the single best thing to ever, ever come out of the illusion of European democracy, Denmark's Voteman cartoon, was pulled just a day after release. I will vote on May 25th, as I fear Voteman will come and get me if I don't. See it for yourself, then dare to defy Voteman:

Find out more about the cost of the European Parliament, straight from the horse's mouth (blood pressure warning):

THRILLER BOX SET by Gary J Byrnes, now available to pre-order. Find links at:

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