So the first televised “debate” of the 2011 General Election has taken place. Much has been said in the media about who won, who lost (and who didn’t show up).
Without doubt, Fianna Fáil’s Micheal Martin is a good debater. Strong. Confident. Articulate.
However, consider this:
Debates, such as these, may be likened to a job interview. They, the candidates, are trying to impress us, the voters, so that we will give them “the job”.
As with all interviews, the process itself is flawed. How much can one tell from a short encounter, after all?
It is flawed but in the real world, there is not much else to base a hiring decision on. Yes, tools exist such as aptitude and other psychometric tests that can aid in the interview process. Indeed, perhaps we should test them like this too. But this too is flawed and sometimes, despite your best efforts, one can still end up with a lemon. This is where the tried and tested “probation” period comes in. You still have a further 6-12 months to finalise the appointment, don’t you? But in this case, we don’t have this tool at our disposal either.
What we do have is far better than any of the above. We have “experience” and a “track record” to go on.
The decision for most people is still “who should I vote for”. What is not a question at all is “who will I NOT vote for”. There is the fatal flaw in Martin’s strategy. We know what you and your party have done. End of story. Let us hope that the Irish people do not forget. Ever.