Restoring Democracy to the people…?

In advance of a think tank’s report on the health of Irish democracy Vincent Browne issues his verdict – it stinks! He recites the shotrcomings and undemocratic instincts of politicians in power (subs needed), and makes his own modest proposal: that the Republic be subject to elections every second year and that no politicians be allowed to stay in either chamber for more than two terms. Hmmm, the only party he seems to neglect for its part in the Republic’s poor public accountablity is the media.

Mr Browne’s proposal:

As a means of involving a far larger cohort of citizens in the political process, I propose that nobody be entitled to stand for election if they have been elected twice previously and that there be Dáil elections every two years. Yes, I know this will mean you won’t have “experienced” politicos in the Dáil, that the civil servants will ride roughshod over these innocents abroad, that the “wealth” of experience built up by politicians who have been at it for years will be lost to the nation. That two-year parliaments will be awful for it will result in continuous election campaigns. I know.

But, he argues:

…it will mean that over, say, a 20-year period there will be some thousands of people who will have served in the Dáil, who will have had a direct engagement in public affairs. That would mean a lively public debate among serving Dáil members, past Dáil members and future Dáil members, all with some direct experience of involvement in decision-making. A new political literati.

A slightly inhuman presence that bans bad comments and works late at night to remove the wrinkles in Slugger’s technical carpet. You will need to know about the comments policy to stay off the fightin’ side of me and there is a bit of background about me here. You can email me using this spam-proof link if you really need to, and Slugger is @sluggerotoole on Twitter. But above all, remember, Play the ball and not the man.

Living History 1968-74

A unique, once-in-a-lifetime 10-week course at Stranmillis University College Belfast featuring live, in-depth interviews with leading figures from this tumultuous era in Northern Ireland’s cultural and political history.

Live interviews with: Bernadette McAliskey, Austin Currie, Brid Rogers, Baroness Blood, Dennis Bradley, Baroness Paisley, Lord Kilclooney, Tim McGarry, Danny Morrison, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield and others…

Find out more…