One thing that has struck me during the Seanad debate is the fact that both sides seem to be operating in different but parallel political environments.
The No side tend to speak to a very idealistic vision, talking about the Seanad as it could and indeed should be, what it could look like, and what it could do when it got there, noble public servants passionately debating the People’s business and the common good.
The Yes side live in the same political environment as Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.
The No side (perhaps because there are far more politicians openly campaigning on the No side, as many FG/Lab office holders seem to secretly agree with the No side) see many politicians as noble, diligent reformers. The Yes side, especially the non-political people, have a much lower faith in politicians.
The No side seems to be much more patient, and happy to wait for reform, whenever it may occur. They almost rub their hands with glee at the prospects of year after year of summer school debate on vocational panels and closed lists. The Yes side want the clean definite result of abolition decided on October 4th.
The No side believe that the parties can be shamed into accepting the need for Seanad Reform. The Yes side have met our parties. Watching them carve up, for example, the European constituencies for party benefit, as opposed to having a single constituency which offers the widest choice to all voters. These are the people the No side believes will do the right thing.