View Poll Results: The Seanad - should we

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  • Abolish it

    464 44.57%
  • Reform it

    562 53.99%
  • Status Quo

    15 1.44%
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  1. #251
    Panopticon Panopticon is offline
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    Interesting OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankSpeaks View Post
    I would like the house to be totally independent, that is no party whip can be imposed. I would allow parties but would disallow sanctions against members who vote against party lines.
    This would seem to contravene freedom of association - forcing political groups to allow participation by members who disagree with them - and it would be very difficult to enforce.

    The main implications that exist in the Dáil to enforce the whip are:
    1. shunning from one's old political group, such as parliamentary party meetings
    2. withholding of support such as money, party leadership patronage and Exchequer spending patronage from one's local political machine, and transfer of that support to local rivals
    3. deselection at the next general election

    You can ban 1., but it seems strange to let a person stay in your party meetings if they're going to work against you. You can't do anything about 2. and 3., as I see it.

    Bear in mind that the whip evolved organically in the old House of Commons in the late 19th century, out of the desire of an opposition party to force its members to honestly represent its supporters instead of their own interests. It then spread very rapidly across parliaments and assemblies in the next thirty years. The whip is one of the foremost tools of modern democracy, because it allows parties to force individual members into line. It reduces every politician's incentive to double-cross their electors when they achieve power.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankSpeaks View Post
    I would retain a house of 60 senators but I would like each county to elect a member and I would like the balance of members to be elected from a country wide ballot. The house would have 6 year terms and remain in continuous operation (would not fall with the government) with 1/3 of the members up for reelection every 2 years.
    I assume that you mean the 26 traditional counties and 34 other people. Firstly, this would be grossly inequitable to Dublin, relative to Longford, Leitrim and Laois. Not that the present Seanad is much better on that count: Longford has far more Seanad electors than its population merits.

    This would also have negative effects on proportional representation. Every year up to 2011, for instance, you'd have a built-in Fianna Fáil majority, because Fianna Fáil would have won every county every time, bar perhaps Dublin and Cork sometimes, and an occasional blip elsewhere. Nowadays, the single-seat constituencies would give a great help to large parties on top of the national PR element. Even in your national list, if you only elect 11 people every two years, that leads to a very high vote threshold to win seats, much higher than in any European PR-using country. For example, the Socialists, Greens, or PDs of old would likely not get seats in that system, and Sinn Féin would have struggled before 2011. Surely these small groups should have been represented in a 60-seat Seanad, but it looks like your plan would promote the old three-party system, without any reason provided.

    There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason why we should distort the principle of proportional representation in this way. Is there some vital, county-based interest that the Oireachtas fails to address? That seems unlikely, because voters already heavily favour same-county politicians, as we see from tallies and transfers.

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankSpeaks View Post
    I would give the house powers to compel the government to enact legislation not money bills and force it to hold referenda.
    Why should a less-democratic body have the right to force these on a more-democratic body, the Dáil?

    Giving the opposition the right to demand referendums from the government sounds like a tool of obstruction, and Irish oppositions are not noted for their eagerness to bear the burden of civic duty for either the government or the electorate.
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  2. #252
    hare in the morning hare in the morning is offline

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    here's a pole on twitter taken during the week about seanad, interesting compared to the one above http://app.fluidsurveys.com/polls/jo...t-or-keep-it/; will u retweet
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  3. #253
    FrankSpeaks FrankSpeaks is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panopticon View Post
    Interesting OP.



    This would seem to contravene freedom of association - forcing political groups to allow participation by members who disagree with them - and it would be very difficult to enforce.

    The main implications that exist in the Dáil to enforce the whip are:
    1. shunning from one's old political group, such as parliamentary party meetings
    2. withholding of support such as money, party leadership patronage and Exchequer spending patronage from one's local political machine, and transfer of that support to local rivals
    3. deselection at the next general election

    You can ban 1., but it seems strange to let a person stay in your party meetings if they're going to work against you. You can't do anything about 2. and 3., as I see it.

    Bear in mind that the whip evolved organically in the old House of Commons in the late 19th century, out of the desire of an opposition party to force its members to honestly represent its supporters instead of their own interests. It then spread very rapidly across parliaments and assemblies in the next thirty years. The whip is one of the foremost tools of modern democracy, because it allows parties to force individual members into line. It reduces every politician's incentive to double-cross their electors when they achieve power.



    I assume that you mean the 26 traditional counties and 34 other people. Firstly, this would be grossly inequitable to Dublin, relative to Longford, Leitrim and Laois. Not that the present Seanad is much better on that count: Longford has far more Seanad electors than its population merits.

    This would also have negative effects on proportional representation. Every year up to 2011, for instance, you'd have a built-in Fianna Fáil majority, because Fianna Fáil would have won every county every time, bar perhaps Dublin and Cork sometimes, and an occasional blip elsewhere. Nowadays, the single-seat constituencies would give a great help to large parties on top of the national PR element. Even in your national list, if you only elect 11 people every two years, that leads to a very high vote threshold to win seats, much higher than in any European PR-using country. For example, the Socialists, Greens, or PDs of old would likely not get seats in that system, and Sinn Féin would have struggled before 2011. Surely these small groups should have been represented in a 60-seat Seanad, but it looks like your plan would promote the old three-party system, without any reason provided.

    There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason why we should distort the principle of proportional representation in this way. Is there some vital, county-based interest that the Oireachtas fails to address? That seems unlikely, because voters already heavily favour same-county politicians, as we see from tallies and transfers.



    Why should a less-democratic body have the right to force these on a more-democratic body, the Dáil?

    Giving the opposition the right to demand referendums from the government sounds like a tool of obstruction, and Irish oppositions are not noted for their eagerness to bear the burden of civic duty for either the government or the electorate.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this reply, very interesting and I take on board what you say. The reason I selected 1 from each county was because I based it on the American Senate, which selects 2 senators from each state therefore it (US Senate) is not proportionally democratic. I also have the idea that many of the people elected to this house would be independent, intellectual, successful in their field, not career politicians. The kind of people that come to mind are Denis Brosnan Ex boss of Kerry Group, Ed Walsh of University of Limerick, Senator John Crown, David Norris, Fergal Quinn, Brendan Gleeson, Sean Kelly MEP and Eamon Coughlan, people from awide variety of fields and walks of life. I would not allow parties to field candidates but being a party member would not disbar you.

    My idea is that all legislation would be looked at independently and the vote would be on the merits of the legislation rather the politics of it. I like the idea of holding those appointed to public bodies and positions to account and that is also they reason I would allow them to interview prospective candidates and present the short list to the government.
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  4. #254
    SEANADSUPPORTER SEANADSUPPORTER is offline

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    For anyone who is against abolishing the Seanad and is in favour of reforming it, you can give a like to ''Save the Seanad'' on facebook.
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