The Second Republic

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I felt I should point out an interesting article by Professor John Crown, raising the idea of a 'Second Republic' as one possible element of remedying our ills. First he describes, accurately in my opinion, some of what went wrong, and it's an ingrained cultural problem...

Maybe we are guilty. Bubbles are fed by the psychology of those who pay. The heady feeling that we were wealthy because the little house down the street from our own had just been sold for a million, blinded us to the reality that we were taking part in a huge international pyramid scheme. While it is true that no-one forced us to borrow or to buy ludicrously over-priced houses, our collective "guilt" must be seen in the context that a growing population did need places to live, and that we are a nation of homeowners, not renters.
In addition, our banks, our Government, our planning process and the constructionocracy all effectively colluded to encourage us to keep buying beyond our means. The roles of the banks and the builders in this process are wholly explicable on the basis of short-term self-interest. Unfortunately, it would appear that the Government, which should take a statesman-like and long-term view of the common good, was similarly motivated. Their short-term interest was the next election.
Democracies get the governments they deserve. Collectively, we were like Carmella Soprano, the wife of Tony. As long as Tony (ie the Government) was bringing home wads of cash, we didn't ask too many questions about where it was coming from, nor did we fret, as we should have, about the family's long-term financial prospects.
I know I will be accused of wandering outside my sphere of competence when I say this, but my 15 years in Ireland, as a returned emigrant, as a doctor working in the health service, and as a concerned observer of our system of government, has forced me to conclude that we are a failed political entity.
In response to this, and to the low calibre he perceives our nepotistically-chosen TDs to generally be, their abilities being confined to local party chicanery, Crown proposes a national list system to replace the multi-seat constituencies, thus turning Ireland into one constituency and aiding a break with clientilism and parish-politics. A reduced but directly constituency-elected Seanad would compensate for this, with it being given limited powers of legislation or amendment. Also proposed is the ability to appoint outside experts to the Cabinet, just as the Americans can,plus a massively slimmed down Civil Service.


I thought the article was thought-provoking, so I'm reproducing it here. The assessment of what's wrong with us would appear to me to be spot on. But what of the prescription? Would a list system really produce a nationally-selected panel of higher calibre to replace the local clientilists, or would it, as I suspect, just produce long lists of pliable lobby-fodder? No argument on the need for a radical re-think, though. Mediocrity was tolerable during the bubble, pervading politics, television, radio, and much of what passes for social and cultural discourse, butthose days are gone. We need better. The Second Republic, anyone?...



A Second Republic could cure our ills - Analysis - Independent.ie
 


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Crown is a babbling Labour party hack who could not get elected to a UDC. We do not require a list system to let his out of touch ilk inside Leinster House.The current system has served us well
 
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Is he a Labour Party member? Didn't know that. But is there not a need for a mechanism to shake up the civil service and to bring in fresh thinking from those outside the bubble of clientilist nepolitics? Is there nothing to be learned from the intellectual and moral torpor of the last 20 years? I have to say that what has governed us for the last decade at least has been, in my view, the most disgraceful, short-termist, and squalid combination of buying votes, pandering to vested interests, and sheer institutional corruption, and nothing is changing, it's not even acknowledged. The decadence and apathy of the people will be their own undoing.
 

Outlander

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French Fifth Republic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Fourth Republic suffered from little political consensus, a weak executive, and governments forming and falling in quick succession since the Second World War. With no party or coalition able to sustain a parliamentary majority, Prime Ministers found themselves unable to risk their political position with unpopular reforms. De Gaulle and his supporters proposed a system of strong executive presidents elected for seven-year terms. The President under the proposed constitution would have executive powers to run the country in consultation with a prime minister whom he would appoint from each elected parliament."

Not suggesting that we copy the French system, but the Algerian Crisis was exacerbated by a weak government...

The problem is that this kind of change is normally triggered by civil unrest approaching revolution.

And who would be our De Gaulle?
 

TradCat

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I would favour a new constitution but not a list system. That gives the parties complete control over who gets elected and I think what we need is more TDs with minds of their own.

In my opinion that would be best achieved by reducing the numbers to 100 or less. Local clientism would no longer be enough to get you a seat and those who do get elected would have enough of a mandate to be more than just lobby fodder.

The list system is favoured by people who think the problem is the voters. I don't think so. I think the problem is over-representation.

The Seanad should be abolished.
 
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I would favour a new constitution but not a list system. That gives the parties complete control over who gets elected and I think what we need is more TDs with minds of their own.

In my opinion that would be best achieved by reducing the numbers to 100 or less. Local clientism would no longer be enough to get you a seat and those who do get elected would have enough of a mandate to be more than just lobby fodder.

The list system is favoured by people who think the problem is the voters. I don't think so. I think the problem is over-representation.

The Seanad should be abolished.
I would tend to agree about the List system, it's not the panacea that Crown thinks. It would weaken the parish clientilism, that's true, but would replace it with lobby fodder, pliable candidates chosen for loyalty, not for expertise. The Seanad should be overhauled, not abolished, though. A check on the primary chamber is important in a healthy democracy, which is why the Seanad needs to be more than the talking-shop it is, and a method of stopping it being just stuffed with patronage beneficiaries be applied.
 

shutuplaura

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Feck it I'm all for it. It can only be an improvement. Failing that though, perhaps an overhaul of local government is required.
 

Pauli

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No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
 

greengoose

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No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
To utter reality like this you need to be far away from this place. :D :D :D

and you only a short train ride down from Davos. :lol:
 
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No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
Would a break of the connection between parish and representative make the difference? Is there a non-clientilist alternative to the lobby-fodder of the List system, or is our country just too small and too culturally set in its ways?
 

greengoose

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Would a break of the connection between parish and representative make the difference? Is there a non-clientilist alternative to the lobby-fodder of the List system, or is our country just too small and too culturally set in its ways?
A break from "I'm all right Jack" would do the trick. It won't ever happen because we are too greedy and don't like sharing.
 

eskerman

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We are all collectively responsible for the Bubble, yes we were sold the idea by a government who were raking in lots of cash from our so-called inflated property-construction-speculation sectors that we could go on and on ad-infinitem. We had a media and advertising sector that also fueled this mass of overspending, you had the Currys-Dixon's and all the retail chains offering interest free loans for 24 months to splurge out on 42" Plasma Screens and all the fancy stuff that many of us really did not need, we were overwhelmed by all the advertising and that included the banks and financial institutions.
Yes advertising & marketing is needed in any society to oil the wheels of consumer spending, which in turn oils the wheels of the Central Bank and Financial Systems. We all ( or shall I say those who thought they could afford) participated in the spending folly, we all got sucked into the Pyramid sell, and now we are all looking to what is a weak leaderless government for all the answers. We are all now becoming quickly educated, we are all now seeing the mask slipping, and we are all going to have to start to take a much bigger interest in our politics, we are all going to have to educate our younger members of this society to take some control of their own destiny for what is going to be a very uncertain future. Many of our younger people have no idea what a recession or depression means, they have ben insulated from the realities of over-spending in a bubble, I remember years ago in College we were taught Civics, I dont think this topic is part of any College Curriculum. The beginning of our climb out of this mess is also with the education of our younger population on how our country must be re-built and managed perhaps from the ground up. One way or the other its a vertical climb, and Biffo's groundhog day is all but 48 or less away. The real pain and the real people's reaction is yet to be unleashed...countdown has begun...
 

icanchange49

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We are all collectively responsible for the Bubble, yes we were sold the idea by a government who were raking in lots of cash from our so-called inflated property-construction-speculation sectors that we could go on and on ad-infinitem. We had a media and advertising sector that also fueled this mass of overspending, you had the Currys-Dixon's and all the retail chains offering interest free loans for 24 months to splurge out on 42" Plasma Screens and all the fancy stuff that many of us really did not need, we were overwhelmed by all the advertising and that included the banks and financial institutions.
Yes advertising & marketing is needed in any society to oil the wheels of consumer spending, which in turn oils the wheels of the Central Bank and Financial Systems. We all ( or shall I say those who thought they could afford) participated in the spending folly, we all got sucked into the Pyramid sell, and now we are all looking to what is a weak leaderless government for all the answers. We are all now becoming quickly educated, we are all now seeing the mask slipping, and we are all going to have to start to take a much bigger interest in our politics, we are all going to have to educate our younger members of this society to take some control of their own destiny for what is going to be a very uncertain future. Many of our younger people have no idea what a recession or depression means, they have ben insulated from the realities of over-spending in a bubble, I remember years ago in College we were taught Civics, I dont think this topic is part of any College Curriculum. The beginning of our climb out of this mess is also with the education of our younger population on how our country must be re-built and managed perhaps from the ground up. One way or the other its a vertical climb, and Biffo's groundhog day is all but 48 or less away. The real pain and the real people's reaction is yet to be unleashed...countdown has begun...
good analysis
 

Catalpa

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Crown is a babbling Labour party hack who could not get elected to a UDC. We do not require a list system to let his out of touch ilk inside Leinster House.The current system has served us well
Its served your lot well you mean.

Until now.

As for the State being a single constituency that is too unwieldy - Israel has it and end result is unstable Governments beholden to micro parties or shaky coalitions.

Single seat constituencies with STV + a proportion of seats awarded on regional list system might be a lot better.
 

MacCoise

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nice idea but completely unrealisable as long as the country is divided
 
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Its served your lot well you mean.

Until now.

As for the State being a single constituency that is too unwieldy - Israel has it and end result is unstable Governments beholden to micro parties or shaky coalitions.

Single seat constituencies with STV + a proportion of seats awarded on regional list system might be a lot better.
A hybrid system so. But the electoral method is not all that would be needed to declare a Second Republic, is it? We'd need a new Constitution, or a re-adopted but amended version of the old one wouldn't we? And institutional changes on a large scale? What is necessary to declare a hypothetical Second Republic, and what is the mechanism by which it might be achieved?...
 

Libero

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Would a break of the connection between parish and representative make the difference? Is there a non-clientilist alternative to the lobby-fodder of the List system, or is our country just too small and too culturally set in its ways?
You both despair too much.

I agree completely with Crown's analysis of the problem: our Oireachtas is full of those who are very gifted at getting selected and getting elected on local work and local issues, but not those who know or care much for national policy. And now it's showing very badly.

But I think it's our system, more than our voters, who are to blame.

I say this because I'm somebody who voted No 1 for a local independent TD rather than a party candidate, despite being passionately interested in national policy issues, and knowing that a local independent would do nothing on that front.

This is because under our current electoral and parliamentary system, voters are quite unlikely to be able to support an established or rising parliamentarian. It makes sense to accept locally-focused representatives when nothing else is on offer.
 

florin

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Crown is a babbling Labour party hack who could not get elected to a UDC. We do not require a list system to let his out of touch ilk inside Leinster House.The current system has served us well
Typical FF member, (1) seeing losing an election as a personal flaw, (2) characterise any intellectual as "out of touch", meaning he does not attend 50 funerals and 60 GAA matches per annum, (3) change is bad because shur 'tis grand d'way 'tis.
 


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