Vincent Browne in the Irish Times makes a fair point about the “Agghh! Senior Counsel! Run away!” approach to banning political donations here. If we can’t ban political donations outright, then why not make them so prohibitively expensive to receive that politicians will have no choice but to turn them down. If a candidate or party has to pay a 1000% tax on every donation received, surely that’ll kill the thing stone dead. After all, the one thing the Irish state has proven itself well capable of is taxing people.
In a discussion recently with a Fianna Failer about gender balance in politics, it got me thinking about the amount of guff spoken on the subject. I’m not sure it’s a huge issue to the women of my generation, or at least, they won’t admit that it is. Certainly, quotas for women seems to have few supporters, which is fair enough. But what annoys me is the fact that the same people who oppose quotas for men and women still want to be part of the “This is a problem, something must be done” brigade. They want the kudos of being seen to be concerned about the issue, but instead want to get into the same discussion we’ve been having for the last 20 years about changing the culture to “encourage” more women, etc, that is, talking about it without ever fixing it. The reality is that quotas for men and women would solve the problem in a single election. As for the argument that is made, that it will bring in “token” untalented women, ask them to publicly name the token untalented women in their party who would fill the quotas. Bet they can’t.
Finally, hat tip to Nicholas White on this extraordinary story about same-sex marriage in the US. And a bizarre one about interracial marriage in The Economist.