An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Pretend Political Reformer.

Hiding behind a mask.

Hiding behind a mask.

You’ll see her at summer schools, academic fora, the odd Irish Times drinkie. Anything with the words electoral, political, seanad, reform, she’ll be there, ready to speak at the drop of a canapé.

“Of course,” she’ll nod earnestly, “nobody is arguing in favour of the status quo!”

Except she is. Not in public, of course, no, she’ll happily discuss the Danish European Affairs Committee or the New Zealand electoral system until the political cows come home, as long as that’s all we do. Talk about it. The truth is, she’s a fraud. She’s a party hack who is smart enough not to wave it around, and will happily participate in panels with people from other parties, but when it comes down to it, she wants to be a senator or a substitute MEP or the head of a quango, and will keep her nose clean and not upset the political establishment.

You have to look closely to see it. She’ll be the member of every reform group going, and will nod sagely as they release yet another report to join the National Political Reform Report Archive, but she’ll never get stuck into her potential future appointers-to-jobs. She’ll always support reviews, and committee, and conventions, and anything that will push reform off into the distance.

Deep down, she’ll sneer at the real reformers as amateurs, who don’t know the rules of the game, outsiders, people who should really mind their own business. Or as we know them: Citizens.

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