So the General Election has been called in Ireland. There will be media coverage of little else from now until polling day on Friday 26th February. But I am so over politicians. I'm even over being an activist.
Things have got nasty over the past five years: I don't agree with imprisoning people in cars, and intimidating someone just because you don't like their policies. It's the start of a slippery slope.
I still have no idea who I should vote for. Once again I am mostly afraid of being disappointed. Afraid of broken promises, and remembering the advice to politicians from one commentator:
"Never make a promise you cannot break"
Yet it seems the election will be all about throwing promises of money and services at voters. Tinkering with this, and tweaking that. No big vision for a better society.
This is what I want, but I don't expect it to happen.
I want the introduction of a basic income.
I want the simplification of taxes and benefits.
I want Irish Water to be abolished, though I do believe that those who use excess water should pay for it.
I want caring for the environment to be a priority.
I want people on social welfare to be helped into work where possible and for there to be consequences for those who abuse the system. But not by hounding the sick and the disabled, not by insisting on pointless and humiliating job application targets, courses and schemes.
I want businesses and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. They forget how much they benefit from Government expenditure.
I want a health service that really cares for people, rather than just treating them once they reach the end of a very long waiting list. If they make it that far.
I want an education system that values and caters for all children.
I want homes for all.
I want proper services for people with disabilities, based on individual need, not dogma.
I want the elderly to be cherished for their wisdom and life experience and valued for everything they have done and contributed.
I want less red tape for business and support for the self employed if their businesses go bust.
I want you to look beyond the statistics that tell you that consumer confidence is up, that festive spending has increased. I want you to know about all the people who are suffering while others splurge. I want you to remember that there are many voters like me who know that we are only one stupid policy away from another bubble, and another crash.
Most of all, I want you to prove to me that my children matter, and that I matter too. That you haven't just written three of us off as a useless drain on society and the taxes of "hard working families".
I want need not greed to the theme of this election. But I doubt I'll get my wish.
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