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

Val Falvey TD

Posted by Jason O on Nov 23, 2009 in Irish Politics, Movies/TV/DVDs

Val Falvey TD: Sure, you knew the father well.

Val Falvey TD: Sure, you knew the father well.

I enjoyed Arthur Matthews’ and Paul Woodful’s new comedy show based on the panicky midlands TD of the title. I don’t know if you could call it great satire, but its portrayal of the mediocrity and ridulousness of Irish political life is pretty accurate, and it had a few genuinely funny lines (“Most people think the Nazis invented marketing. They did a good job, but they didn’t invent it. Padraig Pearse did.”), especially when he met his constituents in the clinic. Anyone ever involved in politics will attest to how accurate the scene is. The theme song made me laugh out loud, and Ardal O’Hanlon and Owen Roe also play nicely together. I’ll be watching more.


The Joy of Gerrymandering.

Posted by Jason O on Nov 23, 2009 in US Politics

A Redistricted (Fiddled) Constituency.

A Redistricted (Fiddled) Constituency.

A wonderful bit of political nerd playdough here. I’m warning political junkies now: This thing can eat up time messing with it!

In the US, gerrymandering, or redistricting, as it’s called, is in the hands if the state legislatures and is done with such precision as to make the vast majority of seats (Because of individual voter party registration: A bizarre concept to Europeans!) either solidly Republican or solidly Democratic. It’s shockingly corrupt to an Orwellian degree, and means that general elections don’t matter in huge tracts of the US, as far as legislative seats are concerned. On top of that, it means that the real election is decided in the primaries, which means that the winners tend to be either extreme liberals or extreme conservatives, and you end up with a polarised political system where centrist voters are almost completely excluded.

The funny thing is, the Irish electoral system, which causes problems of its own in Ireland, would be ideal for resolving most of these problems.

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