One of the surprising things about this government is its unwillingness to take populist measures to bolster its popularity, primarily because most of those measures would involve removing privileges from our political class, which is the government’s primary constituency. But for a lark, here are 10 things the government could do for minor cost which would be popular in the country.
1. Make Oireachtas members take out their own private pensions.
2. Cut the number of TDs to 120.
3. Allow county voters to choose in a referendum between the property tax and defined cuts to that council’s budget.
4. Declare that no sitting Oireachtas member who is a teacher can return to their teaching job, nor keep it open.
5. Declare that no Oireachtas member will receive a cent for expenses which are not first posted on the Internet with receipts.
6. Let the opposition set salary levels for the whole Oireachtas in a public vote.
7. Permit 35% of either government parliamentary party to trigger a free vote on specific issues.
8. Allow local authorities to set pub opening hours.
9. Introduce an honours system to reward citizens of exceptional merit, including naming public buildings and vehicles after random tax compliant citizens.
10. Refund one totally tax compliant voter of their entire income tax for the previous year every week (up to a limited amount) as a gesture of gratitude for them meeting all their obligations as a citizen. It would not cost that much, but would be a weekly event and reward those citizens who actually do pay their property charge and their TV licences.