Tomorrow the election count begins and we can all settle in with a bag of nachos and a slab of our favourite brew to watch the slaughter. Some of us might even make for the count centres with our knitting needles and sit at the front cackling through our toothless flapping lips as the heads roll into the basket, one by wide-eyed, gasping one.
What a shame it would have been to deny the Irish populace their only hope for glee in our drab political timescape. Only a man with no soul could fail to comprehend our attachment to The Count, and that man of course was Bertie Ahern, the visionary who dismissed so casually the old peann luaidhe as he defended his disastrous e-voting machines. Those same machines are now landfill somewhere, having cost us not only a load of money but also our national dignity while the mighty peann luaidhe lives on, as well it should.
Do you remember Nora Owen’s face in 2002 as the returning officer said something along these lines : You, you, you and you are elected. The rest can fuck off.
Or words to that effect.
Not only was Nora Owen shocked at being summarily kicked out, but so was everyone else, apart from the technological visionary Bertie Ahern, the Bill Gates Ireland could have had if only Bertie hadn’t dedicated himself to selfless public service.
How could we enjoy the election if we weren’t able to savour the extended, agonising humiliation of the candidates? It’s the only time in five years we get to see some of these people suffer before they retreat into their cosseted parliamentary bubble and here was Bertie telling us to push the electronic button and go home. Good luck with that, Bertie.
We weren’t having it, and neither were certain technology experts who pointed out the flaws in the machines. Flaws that Bertie the visionary somehow failed to appreciate. Flaws that meant we couldn’t be sure if anyone had tampered with the vote. Trivial, old-fashioned concerns about democracy that would never trouble men such as Bertie the technology expert.
Anyway, as I said, the e-voting gadgets are now history, converted back to the cheap poker machines they started life as and sold to a string of pubs in Belarus where they fit in very well.
Meanwhile in Ireland we’re back to the blood sport we all love so much. The drawn-out tortured count as one election hopeful after another suffers a crushing rejection by the public and some of the star performers are kicked into the gutter while other equally worthless clowns are elevated to our national parliament.
Its also the only time you will ever hear a politician being honest, because there’s nothing to be gained from lying. Only during a count could you hear politicians, down to and including Charlie Haughey, admitting that they weren’t doing well, that they were in trouble, that they’d made mistakes. That in itself was sufficient reason for keeping the pencil and paper and I hope we always stick with the system because it’s plain, it’s direct and it does what it says, unlike Sir Bertie the Technological.
I’ll be watching the count with a bottle of Wild Turkey and a Colt .44 Magnum, sitting in a swing chair on the verandah. Maybe with a pint of ether or a bag of ‘ludes but definitely not naked, given the current weather.
The tyres will be pumped up to 150 psi. The Samoan attorney will be asleep in the bath. Leathery winged creatures will be flapping in the sky.
Every bullet hole in the TV screen will be living testament to the vigour of our democracy.
It’s count time.
Bring it on!