Alan in Belfast over on Slugger O’Toole is right to highlight the declining vote in Mid Ulster as the main news emerging from the sectarian head-count that masqueraded as democracy.
Just over half of those eligible to vote in the constituency bothered to turn out. The victorious candidate was elected with just 26% of eligible voters giving him their vote. The so-called joint Unionist candidate, Nigel Lutton, managed to attract just 19% of eligible voters.
The message from all our recent elections is that the electorate here is, increasingly, switched off by the political discourse. Politicians, increasingly are seen as social deviants. They spout enervated nonsense that is meaningless to just about anybody of rational mind.
Even the national media is beginning to cotton-on. The Radio 4 Today Programme this morning focused on the dreadful turnout and the lack-lustre candidates as the main story emerging from this squalid little contest. No-one really cares who the Sinn Fein winner is – as he isn’t Marty. He won’t take his seat anyway. The Independent Unionist chap – wheeled around the constituency, no-doubt, like some prize turkey – did little to undermine the Sinn Fein stranglehold on the constituency. A bedraggled place.
But, on the plus side, there is a palpable sense that this nonsense is coming to an end. It has to. Democracy can’t sustain itself in the context of this level of disinterestedness. There will come a time when we will have to come up with alternatives.
Ironically, there is a much richer and more vibrant political dialogue on social media day and daily. The Twitterati systematically deride the ego-inflated nutters that put themselves forward as our representatives. Bloggers pick and cajole. And, in a wonderful way, we’re beginning to replace the formalised and antiquated political system with one that’s much more fit for purpose – one that is more vibrant and more engaging. More like democracy.