Monday, April 09, 2007

Granny and good vote management!

What motivates a person's General Election voting choice? It's the economy, stupid! Nah, not in this case...

My paternal grandmother was an invalid and when quite elderly she lived with us for a number of years in the early 1970s. On the run up to a particular general election an official looking gentleman arrived with a clip-boarded registration list of voters. He was very sorry to hear Gran was an invalid and thought it was only fair and proper for her to exercise her right to vote. He said he would organise transport for Gran to be taken to the polling station. I was about seventeen at the time and on election day I recall the burly volunteers arriving at the house with a big van.

In utter respect to my granny's complete freedom of choice to vote for whoever she liked - a range of candidate leaflets were handed to her to read. While the men chatted to my parents I went over to my gran to see what she had. To my surprise at the time - all the leaflets were for Fianna Fail candidates! It was a bit like the old arrangement in the USSR - you can vote for one party!

Equally interesting was Gran's selection process of the right person to vote for. She never had much interest in politics and had even less in her advanced years. She looked at one photo and then another and another. Did the person look honest, strong, too young, too old, devious, healthy etc. etc. She asked my opinion on a few, such as..."Does that fellow look like a crook?" "Does yer man look like he has heart problems?" etc.

So Gran was brought away in the van with her exceptionally well colour co-ordinated leaflets and returned safely in less than 30 minutes. I'll never forget the men's parting remarks to Gran...

"God bless you for voting Mam. There's many a country where nobody has a choice."


grannymar said...

Is that not the way everyone votes?

It is as good as any, as all politicans are hooks!

John of Dublin said...

Hi grannymar. Ha, ha, actually what you say is more or less what my granny thought too!

I thought the "Fianna Fail in disguise" aspect was clever technique in this case.

But there is a lot of truth in the visual aspect as you say. The young JFK's narrow defeat of Nixon in 1960 was put down partly to JFK looking nice on the TV debate and Nixon looking gaunt and a bit cross! Plenty of other examples since then of course.

Kav said...

Ha! Reminds me of Henry Ford's "any colour as long as it's black" line.

John of Dublin said...

Indeed, Kav!

A well known technique taught to sales people...customers love choice and choosing things - just make sure all the choices result in you winning! It's very effective psychology, it can completely stop them looking at the competition.

Dario Sanchez said...

The right way to vote is 'vote for the best'. I'm not going to vote for who my parents voted for (mercifully not Sinn Fein).

However, mkodern Irish politics is about replacing one shower of useless pricks with another shower of useless pricks with a slightly mnodified agenda, for example it's printed on blue paper instead of green.

Dario Sanchez said...

Christ! I hate typos so much!

Paige A Harrison said...

J of D, please stop writing such brilliantly told anecdotes. I'm desperately trying to get over a "I'm not worthy as a blogger" phase. But when I read your posts, I realise that I'm not!

John of Dublin said...

Thanks for comments Dario.

Paige - I appreciate the kind comments...but you are a genius writer, I often envy your clever twists! Go for it girl!

Omaniblog said...

That's a lovely story. Thank you. It shows up how efficient the FF election organisation was, and probably still is.

I recently got a book from the PDs. "Breaking the Mould How the PDs changed Ireland" by Stephen Collins, published by Gill & Macmillan - no price on it.

It was dropped in my letter box with a letter from their local candidate, whose name I forget.

I was shocked. My first reaction was to feel they were trying to buy my vote with gifts.

Nothing wrong with the book, except it's out of date, written in 2005. Unfortunately I've been disappointed in Mary Harney.