Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Who put the Enda in Referenda?


There was one mistake made about this same sex marriage referendum - its timing. If it was closer to Xmas, Santa could be voting Yes. Everyone else appears to be. Never in the history of referenda has there been such unanimity about an issue. Political parties, all media, the ex-President of Ireland, the post office with an equality stamp , twitter twits and facebook possies all are certain that it will be the making of us as a nation.

What’s in Santa’s bag? The Yes side are cross about the posters mentioning gay surrogacy with intentional parents being the real parents, and gay adoption with the loss of a father or a mother’s role. The Children and Family Relationships Bill was rushed through to present us with a fait accompli. But it’s not quite that unless the constitution is altered. As it stands the bill could be challenged as unconstitutional or changed in detail if unforeseen consequences emerged. The bill was whipped through but here’s the uncanny thing. Politicians love to be on the winning side and to claim to be progressive yet there is a ‘shyness’ about involving themselves in a campaign. Can it be that Enda put the enda in referenda? The Senate abolition was supposed to be a shoo-in until it failed. Down in the long grass of their constituencies voters who are doubtful of such major change lurk waiting to place their No and Nil on the ballot paper. TDs know this. The outcome may be closer than Dublin 4 imagines.

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