Let me first make an admission. The Constitutional Convention has not been the absolute disaster I thought it would be. I’ve watched some of its debates online, and have been impressed by the level of debate, and the contribution of experts. It is also a shocking mark of shame on the Labour Party and Fine Gael that they refused to let it discuss the Seanad.
But what really struck me, whilst watching on issues of political reform, is the sheer paralysis of both citizen and professional politicians alike. We all accept some terrible failure happened within our system, culminating in 2008-2011. Yet the convention has basically advocated that we should change the order of candidates on ballot papers as a solution.
In short, the convention decided, after looking at different political systems, that none would work in Ireland because Irish people would only screw them up. They voted to keep the political system almost exactly as is not because they deny there’s a problem, which in fairness to them they don’t, but because they can’t find anything better that was Irish-proof.
In short, the convention has pretty much decided, sincerely, and perhaps accurately, that the political system that nearly destroyed us is actually the best we can do.