Disclaimer: I am not nor have I never been a member of the green party.
I do remember having a conversion with one of my sisters many years ago about the very existence of the green party.Despite being of the generation who grew up when recycling was only starting to be come a common term and when we were learning out the holes in the ozone layer she didn’t see the point of such a small party and didn’t see how they could accomplish much.
I have never felt that way, the very existence of an Irish green party meant that questions which were never raised before would be, that political parties who never had ‘green’ policies or positions on ‘green’ matters would have to be due to the increased awareness of such issues that just this country having a Green party would provide and indeed they have managed that from their founding in 1982.
As those of us who were kids in the 80s energy saving and ecofriendly ways of doing things makes a lot of sense, I remember taking part in 5th year debates on were the ‘green’ ideas a fad or going to be here to stay and such ideas are still around nearly twenty year later and are part of what is taught in school to my own children, who can’t understand the lack of logic or the will to have better cleaner options, like solar panels on the roof of their school.
As the growing acceptance of such ideas and ideals has happened so has the number of people willing to vote for the Green party, so that their grassroots is no longer the fringe yuppie or the eccowarrior pagans and we are seeing more ‘green’ companies starting up here from wind farms to the development of windup rechargeable vibrators ( what is the carbon foot print of your orgasm).
One thing about those who are interested in ‘green’ issues is the willingness to explore and adopt new ways of doing things and new technologies which mean I wasn’t surprised to discover that during last general election the green party candidate for my area Roderic O’Gorman had a website, blog, was doing youtube sections. He is currently running for a seat on fingal co council in the Castleknock ward and has added twitter to his online profile from then. With more and more people wanting to find information about what their politicians are doing and the political parties this should surely stand to be a strength for the Green party as it’s a good way to connect to people so those who are in the under 40s age groups which is the generations in my opinion which needs to be more politically active.
So when Ciaran Cuffe T.D. with Damian Connon organised a trip to the Dáíl for bloggers and online people and Darragh Doyle sent me an invite I was very much interested in attending and getting a look at the inside of the Dáil and the working environment of the offices and listening to the discussion on online presences and
what kept getting referred to as ‘new media’.
It became pretty clear that there is a learning curve at work so certainly mistakes have been made and while the greens certain seem to want to have and use an online presence what is termed as social networking is a pretty big time sink for T.D.s Minsters and Senators and if they are all as busy as the schedule pinned to the notice in Ciaran Cuffe’s Dáil office is anything to go by, it is a big stumbling block.
This coupled with the lack of availability of information and transparency in our political processes mean that a person had to be willing do devote a lot of time to just even finding information they are interested as well as time reading and pondering and that is just not possible for a lot of people
and it’s too much hassle. I really do think that the voting records of all our representatives such be online for everyone who has any interest to point a browser at.
http://www.kildarestreet.com/ is the start of this and I do hope it will make a big difference in people being able to inform themselves as I believe being better informed leads to making better choices, and people feeling they can enguage in the political process more then when just elections are called.
As for the Green party they seem to be wanting to grow the party from the grass roots with community initiatives and they may well succeed in doing that and getting those in their 20s and 30s to view them as a real option and being accessible to them esp with them having been able to form a government and get policies implemented but the question is at what price considering their current partners in government who honestly don’t seem able to enguage or want to enguage with anyone who is not middle aged or an aspiring politico or politics nerd.