Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics
 

10 things that annoy the most about current Irish politics.

Posted by Jason O on Jan 16, 2012 in Irish Politics |

1. As the foreign policy analyst Michael McLoughlin  pointed out, it’s mostly theatre now, and not even good theatre. Most political issues are about how “X is bad, and really hurts Y. Look at Y’s little face!” as opposed to “X is bad. How about we cut Z instead?”

2. We now have a two party system. FF, FG and Labour are different wings of the same party, and the Shinners and the United Left the other party, with the Shinners itching to defect.

3. Self Regulation is possibly the dirtiest phrase in Irish life. From letting politicians set their own salaries to letting the professions run themselves, it never works.

4. The more other countries like France and Germany treat the EU the way we treat it, the more eurosceptic we become.

5. The most likely alternative to our right-left FG/Labour Govt at the next election is a right-left FF/SF coalition. You say tomato, I say tomato.

6. The Irish obsession with personalities of politicians and local geographical loyalties over political values is what has us where we are today.

7. The great hoo-ha about political reform during the election is now nearly completely gone, with the public only slightly more interested than politicians.

8. There is almost no good reason to bother voting in an Irish European, presidential or local election, as none will have any real effect on your life. Even if the UL won control of a majority of seats on a council, it would be more entertainment value than substantial, as the county manager would just ignore them. Sorry, let me correct that: there is still entertainment value in voting.

9. Short of the United Left or the Shinners looking like they might win an overall majority, there is little point even voting in a general election. Is this what non-sectarian voters in Northern Ireland used to feel like?

10. There are party hacks who will read this list, be outraged, and post comments about The Men and Women of 1916, etc, and believe what they are writing.

2 Comments

John McGuirk
Jan 16, 2012 at 9:25 am

*Applauds*

I’d kinda feel bad as a Eurosceptic that it’s just selfishness leading us to adopt a more nationalistic approach, but in fairness, it was only ever selfishness that pushed us in the other direction too. And I blame the electoral system. PRSTV is supposed to cater to every niche, but in reality it just incentivises parties to pander to every niche.

Give me a two-party system that forces the religious right to compromise with the libertarians and the trade unionists to compromise with the enviroloonies, and we might see an end to this nonsense of protest parties that allows the big 3 to sit on 60% of the vote and do nothing.


 
John McGuirk
Jan 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

To elaborate – in a two party system your two parties are forced to cater to the needs of their base – the people with radical ideas AS WELL as vested interests. In a PR system, all any party needs to do is cater to a set of vested interests. Our electoral system is supposed to include everyone and maximise choice for the voter. But all it does is let voters have it both ways. They get to vote for the big spenders AND the tax cutters on the same ballot paper.

You’re right to be critical of the voters, the system, and the parties. But an electoral system that encourages parties to represent only a percentage of society, while ALSO incentivising them not to really irk any other section, and allows voters the freedom to vote Joe Higgins one and Leo Varadkar two is a system that discourages debate, discourages thought, discourages choices, and lands us in a situation where the easiest choice for all those actors is simply not to rock the boat.

First past the post. Yeah, it gives voters fewer choices. But it also helps give them a real choice, instead of twenty-seven fake ones.


 

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