Odds and Ends.

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.   

3 thoughts on “Odds and Ends.

  1. I actually found Brown’s article insulting especially his statement ‘The only reason anyone would give money to a political party is because they expect to get something in return’ I and many others have given money to a political party and expected nothing in return. Banning donations will mean that the public will pay the price, will they really accept doing that? I also really think it will suit the status quo, How would a new party ever get off the ground? Solutions the only way is to publish the nanames at least you know who is giving and if the recieve anything in return.

  2. You make a fair point. What I object to is politicians who claim that the lack of women is an issue, but don’t want to do anything real about it, just get the votes of people who also think it is an issue. I’m not sure if it is an issue: I’m just saying that quotas are the single most effective way of resolving it, if that is what we want to do.

  3. Quotas are incompatable with democracy. In democracy we vote for who we like. If you want quotas then you get a social scientist to work out a representative group and appoint them. I think orthodox Catholics are completly under represented in the Dail. If you look at the way referendums go you will note that anti-EU sentiment is not adequately represented. Tough, that’s the way representative democracy works. If women want to be elected they need to stand and persuade people to vote for them. It’s fairly simple. I had to laugh when Pat Kenny asked a woman for an example of a country where quotas worked – Rwanda she said. We’re holding up Rwanda as example of best practice.

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