Fintan O'Toole is spot on re: bailout and political reform.

goosebump

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But to suggest that anyone holding this view should have a nice sound bitey 'alternative' system is unrealistic. The complex interplay of history, culture and power has led to such a system - it's unlikely that a ready-formed alternative could be proposed in a few neat sentences.
We don't need an alternative.

We have a system whereby you can put your ideas to your peers, and if they like them, they will give you a mandate to implement them. Everyone has a equal say, and you get to vote in secret so that nobody else knows how you voted.

How much simpler and straightforward could the system be?

The problem is that a lot of people don't like the ideas what their peers are choosing, or that they using their vote for purposes other than the implmentation of ideas, and therefore proclaim the system to be broken.

Rather than undergo the exercise of trying to convince people otherwise, these same Clever D!cks prefer to lock themselves in ivory towers and throw intellectual spit balls at anyone who submits to playing by the rules.
 


SlabMurphy

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Why doesn't Mugabe tell us by what mechanism his preferred changes should be implemented, if not according to our constitutionally defined system of parliamentary democracy?
Well I don't see where Mugabe has stated that he doesn't want to see a change through unconstitutional activity, but since you seem to have come to the conclusion, could you point it out to us ? It would be nice if you could actually contribute something to the discussion instead of just bitching on the sideline.
 

goatstoe

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Constitutional reform by way of referendum will surely be one of the major consequences of this economic debacle. An opportunity will emerge to shake up this little country and implement intelligent and mature improvements socially and economically. Hopefully there will be the emergence of those in political life smart enough to push the agenda. They will be rewarded, because the people are ready for far reaching changes now.
 

basketcase

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The system in place in this country could work perfectly well, were it not for 2 things - and these 2 things will be very hard to change;

1) Irish people have a 'parochial' mindset, which is defiling the way in which politicians go about their business in the Dail. They are merely glorified county councillors, run ragged from attending funerals and fixing potholes instead of taking care of national issues, as they are elected to do.

2) Corruption or "Brown Envelope Syndrome", nothing gets done in this country on a large scale without scratching somebody's back, or, more importantly 'greasing their palm'....think all the political donation/planning scandals/tribunals etc etc.

So, we as a nation need to change our mindset about national politics and how it should function, and stop promising votes to the politician that can pull a stroke to get our planning permission through or get the road resurfaced and start looking outward at the common good.

That's my tuppenceworth, but, for the record, I can't imagine a sea change like this in Ireland anytime soon.
 

TradCat

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We must have fewer TDs to improve the quality. Seriously, any system that has dozens of backbenchers incapable and uninterested in making a national contribution is a bad system.

We elected TDs who repeated elected Haughey and Ahern to the most powerful office of state. Change the system or expect the same result again in the near future.
 

loaf

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We don't need an alternative.

We have a system whereby you can put your ideas to your peers, and if they like them, they will give you a mandate to implement them. Everyone has a equal say, and you get to vote in secret so that nobody else knows how you voted.

How much simpler and straightforward could the system be?
Your faith in the abstract ideals of parliamentary democracy is touching. Unfortunately the reality of parliamentary democracy does not live up to these ideals.

Why would you accuse those who actually want to investigate how political systems manifest themselves 'in reality' as living in ivory towers? Surely it's the opposite. The discrepency between democracy's ideals and its actual manifestation is clear to see for anyone who cares to look a little closer - if anyone's in an ivory tower, perhaps it's those who refuse to do so.
 

goatstoe

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The system in place in this country could work perfectly well, were it not for 2 things - and these 2 things will be very hard to change;

1) Irish people have a 'parochial' mindset, which is defiling the way in which politicians go about their business in the Dail. They are merely glorified county councillors, run ragged from attending funerals and fixing potholes instead of taking care of national issues, as they are elected to do.

2) Corruption or "Brown Envelope Syndrome", nothing gets done in this country on a large scale without scratching somebody's back, or, more importantly 'greasing their palm'....think all the political donation/planning scandals/tribunals etc etc.

So, we as a nation need to change our mindset about national politics and how it should function, and stop promising votes to the politician that can pull a stroke to get our planning permission through or get the road resurfaced and start looking outward at the common good.

That's my tuppenceworth, but, for the record, I can't imagine a sea change like this in Ireland anytime soon.

A constitutional referendum will be necessary to bring about a change to the political system whereby the local councilor is busy with fixing potholes and the Dail representatives are concerned mainly with national and larger regional issues. Was watching the 4 candidates for Donegal SW last night. They were speaking the language of gombeen parochialism. There's characters like Mattie McGrath in Tipp South who will benefit from parochial gombeenism.

The system needs to be radically overhauled. Unless these changes are made people will continue to vote along parochial lines. I am no fan of Enda Kenny but to be fair he made some comments about electoral reform a while ago. However he didn't follow it up and seemed to cave in to his backbenchers, senators and grassroots. Gilmore also referred to a new constitution which would be put to the people by way of Referendum. Any leader who has the balls to propose a reforming Referendum will lose a lot of close political friends but will be rewarded by the people in my view. Whoever has the balls to propose and implement root and branch reform will be onto a winner.
 

basketcase

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A constitutional referendum will be necessary to bring about a change to the political system whereby the local councilor is busy with fixing potholes and the Dail representatives are concerned mainly with national and larger regional issues. Was watching the 4 candidates for Donegal SW last night. They were speaking the language of gombeen parochialism. There's characters like Mattie McGrath in Tipp South who will benefit from parochial gombeenism.

The system needs to be radically overhauled. Unless these changes are made people will continue to vote along parochial lines. I am no fan of Enda Kenny but to be fair he made some comments about electoral reform a while ago. However he didn't follow it up and seemed to cave in to his backbenchers, senators and grassroots. Gilmore also referred to a new constitution which would be put to the people by way of Referendum. Any leader who has the balls to propose a reforming Referendum will lose a lot of close political friends but will be rewarded by the people in my view. Whoever has the balls to propose and implement root and branch reform will be onto a winner.
+1 I, and plenty of disillusioned people in this country would vote for any party that will implement this type of change - let's hope someone has the balls for it.
 

White Rose

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80 TD's would be plenty. Abolish Seanad or make it relevant (and cheaper)

Bring in a list system.
 

goosebump

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Your faith in the abstract ideals of parliamentary democracy is touching. Unfortunately the reality of parliamentary democracy does not live up to these ideals.
What you fail to realise is that no system, no matter who well intended, will work the way you want it to work if the electorate doesn't agree with you.

And that is how it should be.
 

Unsionn

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Fine. Stand for the Dail. That's how it works.
Sorry auld son the other incumbent Turkeys will pluck your feathers if you try to rock the boat and take their rice bowl away! Look what happened to poor ol' Georgy Lee!
 

Unsionn

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As to Reform of the Political system - think we need:-

1. Locally eclected TDs - 2 per county possibly 3 for larger counties.

2. Kind of Federal System where we have "The Cabinet" that togeather with the Civil Service actual run the country.
[The Cabinet been kept in check by the 60 or more elected local TD's]

This cabinet could be made up of "the best man/woman for the job" from the various parties. Put forward by the parties but elected by the people in a 1st past the post system. Members of "The Cabinet" could also come from the Private Sector. Cabinet term should last for say a period of 3-4 years.

Am I being naive or stupido or both lol?
 

goatstoe

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What you fail to realise is that no system, no matter who well intended, will work the way you want it to work if the electorate doesn't agree with you.

And that is how it should be.
You don't get it do you? The system as it stands encourages politicians to present themselves as sectional and parochial and this is what the people have grown to expect from their politicians, it's a self fulfilling prophecy. The system needs a massive overhaul where the poltical system is streamlined and reformed to provide a better alternative for the people and for the country as a whole.

Any political leader or leaders who proposes constitutional political reforms along the lines of what O'Toole sets out in his latest book, will win the referendum hands down and will be free to implement the necessary reforms in our political system. They'll lose a few political backbenchers/allies but the support from the public will make it worthwhile.
 

frequency

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We don't need an alternative.

We have a system whereby you can put your ideas to your peers, and if they like them, they will give you a mandate to implement them. Everyone has a equal say, and you get to vote in secret so that nobody else knows how you voted.

How much simpler and straightforward could the system be?
BS. We have a system whereby unless other already existing politicians approve of your ideas, you cannot get elected. We have a system whereby a candidate chosen for a political party can have votes transferred from people who specifically did *not* meet the requirement to get elected - specifically to force a system that maintains itself and the parties.

Our president who in a real republic would have some executive function in Ireland is a figurehead, effectively a replacement for the queen. Our parliamentary system is a charade to ensure continuity of the status quo.

The problem is that a lot of people don't like the ideas what their peers are choosing, or that they using their vote for purposes other than the implmentation of ideas, and therefore proclaim the system to be broken.
What peer group decided to guarantee Anglo dposits and have sucha devastating effect on the state and state services like policing, healthcare and education?

What peer group sold off state resources for free in Mayo?

Rather than undergo the exercise of trying to convince people otherwise, these same Clever D!cks prefer to lock themselves in ivory towers and throw intellectual spit balls at anyone who submits to playing by the rules.
Our system is currently a continuation of the British system from 100 years ago. It works to ensure continuity in large governemnts in small countries we end up with huge amounts of pointless local politicians pretending to represent people when in fact they represent a party - of which there are only a few - and if you don't elect them, their votes will transfer to one of their friends in the same party. It is ludicrous and insane to consider it a democracy.

Direct democracy, as in Switzerland, would work well in Ireland. Local government, local taxes and stop restributing the smaller and smaller amount of wealth in the country to Bertie Ahern's or Cowen's consituents.
 
B

Boggle

We don't need an alternative.

We have a system whereby you can put your ideas to your peers, and if they like them, they will give you a mandate to implement them. Everyone has a equal say, and you get to vote in secret so that nobody else knows how you voted.
Idealistic. We have a system whereby anyone can stand for election and can put their ideas forward - no argment there. However, one person on his own can do nothing when faced with the financial strength of the main political parties and good ideas quickly get drowned out.


Ho
w much simpler and straightforward could the system be?
How about fairer and fit for purpose?

Ban political parties (or at least dilute their influence by banning them from funding candidates) and reduce the amount of td's. This would force each and every representative to live or die on his own words and actions. Remove the daft system whereby a govt bill getting voted down triggers a election - for a good system you have to be able to say no every now and again without the sky falling down.
Seperate ministers from td's. Let ministers intriduce the bills and the tds vote on whether to accept them or not. (Seperate the brain from the heart)
Some simple sugestions that would make our system better.

The problem is that a lot of people don't like the ideas what their peers are choosing, or that they using their vote for purposes other than the implmentation of ideas, and therefore proclaim the system to be broken.
Our peers do not choose the ideas which are acted on. Instead these ideas are formed behind closed doors and often at the behest of someone with money.
They are not even debated publicly as the dail is only a soundbite and rubber stamping exercise.
 

bokuden

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O'Toole is one of the few commentators to have come up with a decent plan to deal with the mess we're in.

As an aside, did you hear the English financial guy on Pat Kenny today? He referred to Greece, Ireland and Portugal as the "peripheral colonies"!!
 

dónal na geallaí

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It's perfectly acceptable to assert that 'parliamentary democracy' is part of the problem, not some neutral process through which all problems can be solved.

But to suggest that anyone holding this view should have a nice sound bitey 'alternative' system is unrealistic. The complex interplay of history, culture and power has led to such a system - it's unlikely that a ready-formed alternative could be proposed in a few neat sentences.
What a clear ,concise summary of a complex problem.I fear some here may not appreciate your logic and basic sanity.You will be send to the 'phantom zone' until you design a Daily Mail type platform for national salvation.

It better be good mind and sexy too,or I'm afraid you and Lex Luthor will be keeping company for a while yet.:lol:
 

dónal na geallaí

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80 TD's would be plenty. Abolish Seanad or make it relevant (and cheaper)

Bring in a list system.
40 would be plenty,if you had county/city councils worthy of the name.Otherwise you just have a smaller group of TDs attending a larger number of funerals and court cases.But the same people who moan about parochial TDs would vote to scrap local govt in a flash,given the usual bribe.As for Fintan O Toole running for the Dáil;cant see him getting in as he's not promising a golden dawn or whatever.In all seriousness Bertie has more chance of being taoiseach again.

'If there's one thing I admire in another human being,it's weakness.' Brendan Behan.
 

Barnacle

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The Labour Party raised a motion on this issue last week. Fianna Fail submtitted a counter motion and it was Fianna Fails counter motion that was agreed to. Fianna Fail have not appitite and never r had any for reform. The Lab motion contained other issues, one of which was bound to be voted down anyway.

On the issue of Dáil reform, at the begining of the Motion, Dara Callery stood up in and said

As regards Dail reform, proposals agreed by the Government last year were brought before the relevant forum of the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges, namely, the Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform. These proposals included more sitting days, consolidating the time that the Taoiseach and Opposition leaders spend in the House, commencing Dáil proceedings earlier each day and dealing with the current position relating to promised legislation only once a week. I am of the view that these proposals would enable the Dáil to be more reactive to issues which are newsworthy on any given day. This would be additional to the opportunity in this regard which Leaders’ Questions, in particular, affords Opposition leaders in the House.

Consensus has not so far proved possible on the Government’s proposals. However, I understand the Chief Whip is continuing his engagement with the various party representatives on the sub-committee with a view to achieving the highest possible level of cross-party consensus in respect of them. We all share the view that there is a need to reach agreement on a set of procedural reforms and we look forward to this being achieved in the coming period.
Basically what he was saying was that this is being dealt with so no point in putting it in the motion.

The same evening, FG David Stanton lashed back at him saying

I welcome the opportunity to speak on the motion. It is good that we are speaking about how we do business as we do not do so half often enough. I wish to draw attention to something the Minister of State said. He probably received a script, which is typical for Ministers and Ministers of State, and he probably read it for the first time when he spoke here. He stated, “As regards Dáil reform, proposals agreed by the Government last year were brought before the relevant forum of the Dáil Committee on Procedure and Privileges, namely, the Sub-Committee on Dáil Reform”. I am a member of that sub-committee but it did not happen. The Minister of State should check his facts before he comes here and reads them out. The Minister of State also stated, “Consensus has not so far proved possible on the Government’s proposals”. If we could discuss them it would be useful. However we have not seen them. We have not had a meeting since last April while the sub-committee has met once this year.

If the Government is serious about Dáil reform, the Minister of State should not come to the House this evening and imply, by stating that consensus has not so far proved possible on the Government’s proposals, that the Opposition did not agree. This is disingenuous. The Minister of State should do his homework before he comes to the House and makes such a statement. We have been trying very hard to get the Government engaged on Dáil reform. Time and again, I have tried to engage the Taoiseach in the House. He states it is a matter for the Chief Whip and the sub-committee. The sub-committee will not meet. What can we do? How can we have a debate and discussion on Dáil reform when the Government will not engage and does not seem a bit interested in it?
The following day, Billy Kelleher stood up and said what David Staunton said was not true. Emmet Stagg then stood up to say what Billy Kelleher was saying was untrue. And so on.

Today, FG, Labour and Sinn Fein have each raised a PQ requesting Cowen to make a statement on the Governments progress on Dail Reform.

They need to get their act into gear, the Dáil does not work in it current form. Chances of any reform taking effect prior to a GE is slim, question is will FG/LAB bring in the type of reform they are talking about after a GE or is this all lip-service on their part?
 

goosebump

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You don't get it do you? The system as it stands encourages politicians to present themselves as sectional and parochial and this is what the people have grown to expect from their politicians, it's a self fulfilling prophecy.
The system doesn't encourage this behaviour, the electorate does.

If the electorate woke up tomorrow morning and decided that it wanted it politicians to be national legislators and not grovelling messenger boys, then you'd have politicians who are national legislators and not grovelling messenger boys.

Changing the system while the electorate remains the same is like changing the plug on your kettle and expecting your kettle to do something other than boil water.

Let's say you have a list system.

What then becomes the goal of the prospective TD?

He wants to get as high up the list as possible. So what does he do? He demonstrates to the party chiefs that he can win votes. How does he do this? He goes about his constituency getting potholes fixed, rescuing kittens and generally being as helpful and inoffensive (ie populist) as possible.

Snap, crackle and pop, he gets a nice berth on the list and before you can say jiminy cricket, he's in the Dail.

Same result, different process.
 


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