Beibhinn Byrne

Vision. That’s the operative word for this upcoming election, this coming decade and it’s the theme of this issue. You can read potted bio and candidate’s visions (pages 20 & 21) in our double spread. What we vote for – both in our everyday lives and this election – has never been more important. We stand at a critical juncture, on a precipice in fact. There has never been more at stake for our environment, our society and our country. We must understand how serious it is.  

The prices we are paying both literally and figuratively are too high but they will be asphyxiating in the future if we don’t shout ‘Stop’. Now. 

Ninety four years of a two-party state has not served us well. The world has changed drastically and we need new thinking and action for a future that can exist, if we make it so. Who wants to be a ‘have’ in a world of ‘have nots’? Who wants to live disconnected, amidst a damaged and dysfunctional society? Who, in a position of gain, would not want others to experience peace and privilege and indeed help them get there? We all know the single, disturbing negative answer to these questions. Just as we all know the affirmative, life enhancing alternative. It is a choice. We must make the right one. 

William Blake’s ‘dark satanic mills’ comes to mind reading the report on the Grand Canal Innovation District announcement. The wheels are in motion but it is distrustfully vague on detail. Big tech and business’s empty promises towards the community must be rejected for guaranteed realities and a bonafide future for people. Issues such as publicly owned and affordable housing, pollution levels, public service facilities and services that nurtures families and real community, now, and in the future cannot be fudged. 

We need to ask whose and what kind of ‘vision’ is it? Especially in light of the, to date, gargantuan unpaid tax by some of the players. 

The old VW factory on Shelbourne Road (page 15) is a fascinating, though conflicting, read in vision and ‘innovation’. Pride at ending a wasteful, grabby practice through independent, solution-based thinking. Sorrow and anger at the mad waste of ripping up so fine a tram system, a great public good extinguished by ultimately, short term and unsustainable interests. 

Vision requires looking ahead for generations, it asks hard questions and doesn’t gloss over problems but excavates them to ensure a solution. Vision is motivated. Derek Jarman (pages 26 & 27) whose bravery and insightful activism in the 1970’s is the voice of today; a refusal to back down on what is right, an insistence on the birthright of natural human expression and resistance to anything that wants to suppress or crush it. Bjork (page 32) who keeps pushing boundaries, is a one-woman lesson in personal evolution and boldly signposting positive future directions. One of our own, the poet Paula Meehan (page 28) and the new Irish poets (page 29) represent our empathy, artistry, intuition and spirit, all of which are resurfacing from their suppressed importance in society, to take their rightful place as respected and powerful ways of knowing and communication.  

We are the system, we are the workers and consumers, the architects and dwellers of it, we are the watchers and the participants. Economy must serve us, not us serving it. We need to demand the world we want. We urge you to vote for better, not just in this election but in your ongoing, everyday, interactions and transactions also. Political ideology, decision making and legislation directly shapes and dictates our day-to-day wellbeing, our purses, our services, our communities, our environments, our securities and our freedoms. On Feb 8th we urge everyone to vote. If you don’t use your vote you lose the chance to exercise control over not only what happens to you but to others and to future generations also. Make sure you vote wisely.