Friday, 2 December 2011


Janet Devlin, the flame-haired chanteuse from Omagh (54 degrees North, 7 degrees West), is voted off the British TV series, the X-Factor and is quite blasé about it. It was never really for me, says she. For others it is a disappointment, even a tragedy. The schoolgirl is a fine singer and will make great music in the future. Her X-Factor experience came to an end when she stumbled over the lyrics of songs she was performing. The votes of judges and the public left her.

Tip Number 1: If you want votes, remember the words. 

Egyptians begin an extended polling period, with a first visit to the voting booths. They are presented with a lengthy ballot paper. It includes symbols beside candidates' names to facilitate illiterate voters. Some candidates are not happy with the symbols allocated. A camera. A banana. A football.

Tip Number 2: If you want votes, choose your symbols wisely.

Indian shoppers will be voting with their feet in the face of moves by global giants – Wallmart, Tesco, Carrefour – to muscle in on the lucrative local retail trade. Politicians in 28 cities have opposed the moves. IKEA is about to announce grand expansion plans across India. The globalisation contest plays out on the High Streets. Will profits stay in India, with  local farmers and shop-keepers, or be re-repatriated to Europe and the USA?

Tip Number 3: If you want votes, affirm the local.

Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland and leader of The Democratic Unionist Party, speaks at the party's annual conference. He uses the language of sharing to entice Catholic voters. 

'I do not want a society where people live close together, but live separate lives.' 

Permute any three from six of the words 'Catholic/Protestant' (religious and cultural identity), 'Irish/British' (national identity) and 'Nationalist/Unionist' (political identity) to get your voter. Historically Catholic/Irish/Nationalist voters vote for 'green' parties and Protestant/British/Unionist voters vote for 'orange' parties. (See Tip 2 on symbols.) Peter Robinson wants the votes of Catholic/British/Unionist and of Catholic/Irish/Unionist voters. He says he wants to persuade, rather than defeat.

Tip Number 4: If you want votes, change the language.

Overall, if you want votes, remember, choose, affirm, change.

If you want change, vote?

Tip Number 5: If you want change, organise.

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