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Thread: The Second Republic

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Default The Second Republic

    I felt I should point out an interesting article by Professor John Crown, raising the idea of a 'Second Republic' as one possible element of remedying our ills. First he describes, accurately in my opinion, some of what went wrong, and it's an ingrained cultural problem...

    Maybe we are guilty. Bubbles are fed by the psychology of those who pay. The heady feeling that we were wealthy because the little house down the street from our own had just been sold for a million, blinded us to the reality that we were taking part in a huge international pyramid scheme. While it is true that no-one forced us to borrow or to buy ludicrously over-priced houses, our collective "guilt" must be seen in the context that a growing population did need places to live, and that we are a nation of homeowners, not renters.
    In addition, our banks, our Government, our planning process and the constructionocracy all effectively colluded to encourage us to keep buying beyond our means. The roles of the banks and the builders in this process are wholly explicable on the basis of short-term self-interest. Unfortunately, it would appear that the Government, which should take a statesman-like and long-term view of the common good, was similarly motivated. Their short-term interest was the next election.
    Democracies get the governments they deserve. Collectively, we were like Carmella Soprano, the wife of Tony. As long as Tony (ie the Government) was bringing home wads of cash, we didn't ask too many questions about where it was coming from, nor did we fret, as we should have, about the family's long-term financial prospects.
    I know I will be accused of wandering outside my sphere of competence when I say this, but my 15 years in Ireland, as a returned emigrant, as a doctor working in the health service, and as a concerned observer of our system of government, has forced me to conclude that we are a failed political entity.
    In response to this, and to the low calibre he perceives our nepotistically-chosen TDs to generally be, their abilities being confined to local party chicanery, Crown proposes a national list system to replace the multi-seat constituencies, thus turning Ireland into one constituency and aiding a break with clientilism and parish-politics. A reduced but directly constituency-elected Seanad would compensate for this, with it being given limited powers of legislation or amendment. Also proposed is the ability to appoint outside experts to the Cabinet, just as the Americans can,plus a massively slimmed down Civil Service.


    I thought the article was thought-provoking, so I'm reproducing it here. The assessment of what's wrong with us would appear to me to be spot on. But what of the prescription? Would a list system really produce a nationally-selected panel of higher calibre to replace the local clientilists, or would it, as I suspect, just produce long lists of pliable lobby-fodder? No argument on the need for a radical re-think, though. Mediocrity was tolerable during the bubble, pervading politics, television, radio, and much of what passes for social and cultural discourse, butthose days are gone. We need better. The Second Republic, anyone?...



    A Second Republic could cure our ills - Analysis - Independent.ie

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    Politics.ie Newbie one acre capitalist's Avatar
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    Crown is a babbling Labour party hack who could not get elected to a UDC. We do not require a list system to let his out of touch ilk inside Leinster House.The current system has served us well

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Is he a Labour Party member? Didn't know that. But is there not a need for a mechanism to shake up the civil service and to bring in fresh thinking from those outside the bubble of clientilist nepolitics? Is there nothing to be learned from the intellectual and moral torpor of the last 20 years? I have to say that what has governed us for the last decade at least has been, in my view, the most disgraceful, short-termist, and squalid combination of buying votes, pandering to vested interests, and sheer institutional corruption, and nothing is changing, it's not even acknowledged. The decadence and apathy of the people will be their own undoing.

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    French Fifth Republic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "The Fourth Republic suffered from little political consensus, a weak executive, and governments forming and falling in quick succession since the Second World War. With no party or coalition able to sustain a parliamentary majority, Prime Ministers found themselves unable to risk their political position with unpopular reforms. De Gaulle and his supporters proposed a system of strong executive presidents elected for seven-year terms. The President under the proposed constitution would have executive powers to run the country in consultation with a prime minister whom he would appoint from each elected parliament."

    Not suggesting that we copy the French system, but the Algerian Crisis was exacerbated by a weak government...

    The problem is that this kind of change is normally triggered by civil unrest approaching revolution.

    And who would be our De Gaulle?

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    Politics.ie Member TradCat's Avatar
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    I would favour a new constitution but not a list system. That gives the parties complete control over who gets elected and I think what we need is more TDs with minds of their own.

    In my opinion that would be best achieved by reducing the numbers to 100 or less. Local clientism would no longer be enough to get you a seat and those who do get elected would have enough of a mandate to be more than just lobby fodder.

    The list system is favoured by people who think the problem is the voters. I don't think so. I think the problem is over-representation.

    The Seanad should be abolished.

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TradCat View Post
    I would favour a new constitution but not a list system. That gives the parties complete control over who gets elected and I think what we need is more TDs with minds of their own.

    In my opinion that would be best achieved by reducing the numbers to 100 or less. Local clientism would no longer be enough to get you a seat and those who do get elected would have enough of a mandate to be more than just lobby fodder.

    The list system is favoured by people who think the problem is the voters. I don't think so. I think the problem is over-representation.

    The Seanad should be abolished.
    I would tend to agree about the List system, it's not the panacea that Crown thinks. It would weaken the parish clientilism, that's true, but would replace it with lobby fodder, pliable candidates chosen for loyalty, not for expertise. The Seanad should be overhauled, not abolished, though. A check on the primary chamber is important in a healthy democracy, which is why the Seanad needs to be more than the talking-shop it is, and a method of stopping it being just stuffed with patronage beneficiaries be applied.

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    Politics.ie Member shutuplaura's Avatar
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    Feck it I'm all for it. It can only be an improvement. Failing that though, perhaps an overhaul of local government is required.

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    Politics.ie Member Pauli's Avatar
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    No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
    Fianna Fail - The Loss of Sovereignty Party.

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    Politics.ie Member greengoose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauli View Post
    No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
    To utter reality like this you need to be far away from this place.

    and you only a short train ride down from Davos.

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauli View Post
    No matter what kind of constitutional restructuring could or would get put in place, there seems to be no cure to the phenomenon of ignorant morons voting in ignorant morons.
    Would a break of the connection between parish and representative make the difference? Is there a non-clientilist alternative to the lobby-fodder of the List system, or is our country just too small and too culturally set in its ways?

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