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At the beginning of the last century, two boys grew up together in Loughrea. Socially they were far apart, but they were great friends. John Oliver was from a particularly poor background. His family lived in a tiny lean-to shack out on the Galway road on the edge of the town. His friend was Tom Wall, who lived in a comfortable house on Patrick Street. John enjoyed visiting their home. His friend played with a band, The Saharas, and there was often music and fun in their house, shared by his brother Ray, and their attractive sister Cissie.
Why do we vote the way we do? Because we are stupid! That’s the verdict from Rick Shenkman who has written a book called Just how stupid are we – the truth about the American voter. The book concentrates on American politics and it does not just concentrate on George W Bush – the favourite bogey man for smart people. Rick Shenkman says that voters are voting in a stupid way always. People should weigh up all the issues and analyse policies and politicians, Shenkman says. Undoubtedly, this wise man would probably come to the same conclusion if he were writing about politics in Europe or Ireland. We would all be collectively stupid.