The Nail on the proverbial Head.

Well done to the excellent Dan O’Brien of The Economist Intelligence Unit who pinpointed in Saturday’s Irish Times, with laser precision, what the hell is wrong with this country and why our political system is so incapable of making things work properly.

The truth is, genuine patriots in government have to be willing to be unpopular, and confront an age old Irish myth, that is, that an unpopular government cannot possibly be doing the right thing. We pay our elected leaders a lot of money, and for that, they should be willing to be unpopular if it means doing the right long-term thing. Yes, people can argue over what the “right thing” actually is, but in  the Irish context, there tends to be a refusal to even begin that debate. Take nuclear power: We actually buy electricity generated by nuclear power whilst complaining about the reactors that generate the electricity we buy. It’s like someone lecturing a drug dealer about the evils of drugs as he buys drugs off him. Do we honestly think we’re being clever?   

2 thoughts on “The Nail on the proverbial Head.

  1. It was overall a great article, and a striking contribution to the national debate on what’s wrong with our system of Government.

    He called for, among other things, a review of “the very unusual insistence that ministers are members of the Oireachtas”. This struck me forcibly when I was reviewing the published diary of Minister for Finance Lenihan for the critical period when the banks obligations were being guaranteed. He spent far too much time attending to constituency affairs and “parish pump” type functions, even as the banking system was going down the tubes.

    No wonder departmental officials are able in most cases to run rings around their Minister: the latter just hasn’t the time to grapple properly with the portfolio’s key issues, and falls back too often on the “official” position. We have seen far too many able Ministers fail to be re-elected as a result of neglecting constituency work.

    But how do we achieve electoral and governmental reform as called for by Dan O’Brien?? Turkeys seldom vote for Christmas.

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