I know this will be a strange thought but does this constant need for public approval and electoral success not contradict the requirements for tough leadership to get the country out of the mess that it is in?
At the moment we know we have a current deficit of 18-20bn per year due to a spending requirement of 50bn and an income of 30bn and this to my mind is a greater issue for the medium term future of the state than the banking issue but anytime anyone raises it people shout that anything to be done is unfair as the bankers are being compensated etc.
Anytime any hard decisions are made then local politicians whinge and moan about it's not fair, their constituents will lose out etc etc rather than thinking about the national good for once.
A perfect example is the popularity of Labour due to the fact that they are consistently refusing to put out their actual policies with back-up figures to show how they would solve the problems and yet people want to vote for them. You would think by now that the Irish people would sooner hear the bad news, see it backed up with figures, facts and policies and take things from there.
If we can't have a dictatorship or else get a party in who are prepared to worry about the national good ahead of party politics, electoral success etc then I think the following is required.
An election to be held before the next budget with all parties putting forward detailed proposals as to how they would fix the economy with numbers that can be analysed for the next 4/5 years (obviously there would have to be multiple scenarios in terms of growth rates etc which each party would have to include).
Parties would also have to say who they are prepared to go into coalition with so that we don't end up with a repeat of the Green going in with FF after promising to take them out. There would then have to be a tied up linking of their election proposals to say what they are prepared to sacrifice or what are non-negotiable.
If people then decide to vote on local interests or for certain policies then we will know what is most important and it will be understanding for the people that they will know what they are going to get.
PS - I know the idea of this happening is about as likely as a combination of -
Bertie Ahern admitting where the money came from
Brian Cowan admitting that FF screwed up the economy and
Brian Lenihan admitting he had no idea what he was doing when setting up the Bank Guarantee and NAMA and that it was the worlds worst idea