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

We DO NOT need a referendum to introduce a list electoral system.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 9, 2009 in Irish Politics

Electoral reform could allow the Greens to redeem themselves.

Electoral reform could allow the Greens to redeem themselves.

The Greens, to their credit, have realised that changing our electoral system is the cornerstone to fixing our malfunctioning political system. At the moment, as the John O’Donoghue saga has revealed, our politicians are actually too close to their constituents. You would think this is a good thing, but the problem is that  most people don’t spend hours down the pub discussing future energy supply strategy or taxation planning or the details of the Lisbon treaty, and because ordinary voters don’t discuss them, our electoral system forces TDs to focuss on the things they do discuss, leaving big strategic issues unaddressed.

The Green proposal of adding a list system has merit. It will allow for “National” deputies to be elected, and will, hopefully, mean that some candidates who focus on national issues will also get elected, people who may not be great at constituency graft but have a grasp of the big picture.

It should be noted that we can attach a list system to STV, as the Australians have done in their senate (See here.), which uses a variant of STV. We would not need a referendum to do this, and it would voter choice, and yes, some candidates will still campaign as the “local” man, but it will also allow for people in Dublin to vote for good candidates in other parts of the country, and vice versa, and that is a good thing in itself. It would, for example, allow people all over the country with a concern for workers rights to vote for Joe Higgins or Jack O’Connor. Or small businessmen to vote for Michael O’Leary. It might even let Declan Ganley be elected.

Wouldn’t that be fun? 


Poll finds 80% support good weather, nice clothes, hugs.

Posted by Jason O on Oct 9, 2009 in Irish Politics, Just stuff

Show me the 80% of voters who will vote for this!

Show me the 80% of voters who will vote for this!

Colm Keena reported in The Irish Times recently on a survey carried out by think-tank Tasc, which suggested that just under 80 per cent of people believe the State should fund healthcare through general taxation. It also reported that:

- 88 per cent believe old age provision should be State-funded

- 87 per cent believe education should be State-funded

- 58 per cent believe childcare should be State-funded

The Irish Times also reported that “The findings constitute a resounding endorsement of universal public service provision,” said Tasc director Paula Clancy. “It is particularly noteworthy that a majority of ABC1 respondents – who would be faced with higher taxes in order to fund universal service provision – believed that all the specified services should be State-funded. This bears out what Tasc has always argued, and what previous Tasc surveys have shown: the Irish public has a strong instinct towards solidarity,” Ms Clancy said. “At a time when the talk is all about cuts in public services, these findings should give the Government pause for thought,” she said.

You ask people in a poll as to whether they believe that they should get free stuff, and are surprised that they say Yes? Where’s the next question, about paying for this stuff? Show me the poll that says that those same people will support a property tax, or water tax, or 10 or 20% reduction in their take home pay to fund it. Then show me those self-same people actually walking into a polling station in a general election and voting for candidates running openly on that platform. Show me that.

The sad thing is, some people will read this and say “Well, what do you expect, he’s a right-winger!” but that’s just a lazy answer. I support the welfare state, but what I support more is honesty. Let those candidates who support the Tasc agenda run on an open platform of increasing taxes and reducing take-home pay. It’s perfectly noble as a platform. If I’m willing to stand up and oppose it, why are they not willing to stand up and defend it?   

Copyright © 2018 Jason O Mahony All rights reserved. Email: Jason@JasonOMahony.ie.