Take it steady for political reform – why not adapt from the Brits?

Following up my comments on the supposed “ gridlock ” on political reform in the Republic, three elements from  recent UK political and constitutional reforms should be considered before throwing the whole system up in the air and creating a potentially dangerous state of flux. This is quite dry stuff and not as much fun as “panic don’t panic, ” melodramatic despair and the usual battles over history, but they could be a lot more effective. No doubt this is a topic that will run and run but will probably generate more heat than light in the atmosphere of an end of era  election and Gotterdamerung

They are:

(1) The UK cabinet manual (still in draft and out to consultation) will be a new limited guide to the operation of the uncodified British Constitution. Ireland of course has a written constitution but an Irish manual would provide a closer guide to how to operate it for all the benefit of public officials including ministers

(2) the ministerial codes and civil service codes:  The NI Executive ministerial code follows the recently established British norms.

Ministers must at all times:

(i) observe the highest standards of propriety and regularity involving impartiality,

integrity and objectivity in relationship to the stewardship of public funds;

(viii) ensure they comply with any rules on the acceptance of gifts and hospitality that might

be offered; and

(ix) declare any personal or business interests which may conflict with their responsibilities.

(ii) be accountable to users of services, the community and, through the Assembly, for the activities within their responsibilities, their stewardship of public funds and the extent

to which key performance targets and objectives have been met;

(iii) ensure that all reasonable requests for information from the Assembly, users of services

and individual citizens are complied with; and that departments and their staff conduct their dealings with the public in an open and responsible way;

(iv) follow the seven principles of public life set out by the Committee on Standards in

Public Life;(v) comply with this Code and with rules relating to the use of public funds;

(vi) operate in a way conducive to promoting good community relations and equality of

treatment;(vii) not use information gained in the course of their service for personal gain; nor seek to use the opportunity of public service to promote their private interests;

The Assembly will retain a Register of Interests. Individuals must ensure that any direct or indirect pecuniary interests which members of the public might reasonably

think could influence their judgement are listed in the Register of Interests.

and (3)  the Nolan principles of public life which if violated are followed by censure.

 

1.6 The seven principles of public life referred to at 1.5(iv) are as follows:-
   
 

Selflessness

   
  Holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
   
 

Integrity

   
  Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence them in the performance of their official duties.
   
 

Objectivity

   
  In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits,holders of public office should make choices on merit.
   
 

Accountability

   
  Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
   
 

Openness

   
  Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
   
 

Honesty

   
  Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
   
 

Leadership

   
  Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.

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  • The Word

    The problem of the Irish adapting from the Brits is that the Irish have a natural empathetic political environment, coming forward from its people who shared a common burden of British evil for centuries. The British model, as you rightly would probably say, is based on values that defer to Money.

    Re-read your above post if you disagree.

  • Greenflag

    @ The Word

    ‘The problem of the Irish adapting from the Brits is that the Irish have a natural empathetic political environment, coming forward from its people who shared a common burden of British evil for centuries.’

    Where do you pick up such drivel ? The ’empathy’ you appear to attribute to the ‘Irish’ has been remarkably absent for as long as I can remember . In recent times we’ve noticed the ’empathy’ practiced by the Irish Catholic bishops, clergy and cardinals as they empathetically covered up a generation or more of ‘depravity’ exercised without restraint on the children of the poor . We have likewise seen remarkable empathy and lack of greed exercised by our bankers and politicians and property developers .

    The truth is that we Irish are no more empathethic than the Brits or French or Germans or anybody else . We may be better at ‘acting’ the part . The Irish people btw did not share a common burden of British ‘evil’ for centuries . Many people and institutions on this island benefited from British ‘evil’ among whom you can include a priviliged elite and even the RC Church during the period 1780- 1922 .

    The seven principles of public life listed above appear at least in recent times to have been more observed in the breach than the observance . Like the 10 Commandments they are an ideal . You might as well expect a multinational corporation to run it’s business based on the ethics of the 10 commandments as to expect ‘elected ‘ politicians to adhere at all times to the seven principles above .

    Which is why mandatory jail sentences should be enacted for those in the public service or elected politicians should face ‘jail time’ if they break the law . This week saw another British MP being found to have ‘over expensed ‘ and former US Republican House Majority Leader Tom De Lay found guilty of misuse of funds . By the time De Lay finishes his appeals against his 3 year jail sentence he’ll probably be either dead or receive a pardon 🙁

    Now a common thief would already be in jail if found guilty of stealing ‘amounts’ equivalent to the politicians mentioned above ;(

    The Law favours the rich and those who make the law as one would expect from a system based on values that defer to money .

    Could it be otherwise ?.

  • Greenflag

    There is need for serious political reform in the Republic but getting rid of the Senate per se is not the solution and now is probably the worst time to undertake a major reform . Make haste slowly . We need to look at best practice elsewhere and see how other small size democracies operate effectively in the political sphere . We know that a FPTP system as in the present UK (outside NI) would probably have led to a virtual one party government in the Republic (as it did in NI 1920 -1972) .

    On a lighter note – Queenie better hurry up with her long expected visit to the Republic otherwise she may find herself being welcomed by our next President – David Norris a Protestant and gay afficionado of Jimmy Joyce 😉

    I can already see the headlines ‘The Queen meets the other one ‘ or some such. Only in Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected always occurs .

  • The Word

    Greenflag

    You can run down the people of this country, but using the name you use, it is clear that you have no idea about the nature of empathetic people.

    “… out of his mouth will come a sharp sword with which he will strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron sceptre…”

  • Greenflag

    @ the word ,

    What are you on about ? You have gone from the inane to the ridiculous and are now talking in tongues or would that be riddles ?

    We are ruled by the banks and anarchic capitalism not by iron sceptres or haven’t you noticed ? The ruling entity/ entities don’t care for people -empathetic or not . The bottom line is all that matters . If you want to believe otherwise then you are entitled to your opinion .

    As to running down the people of this country -quite the opposite , The Irish people have put up with too many shitehawks both clerical , political and among the banking fraternities for their own good 🙁

  • The Word

    You don’t get it, Greenflag. An empathetic person might describe the “civilised” man who defers to the nation as dead.

    You seem to want to honour a flag. Does that make you civilised or empathetic?

    The nation has always been a vehicle for pursuing profit. Despite your name you would have us believe that you’re different.

    The Irish people are honest enough to know that the pursuit of the ancient claim to nationhood, with its natural purpose being the expansion of money, lead to all these people doing their damnest for money. You don’t seem to understand that.

    But tomorrow is another day.

    Away, repent and change your name.

  • Greenflag

    ‘But tomorrow is another day.’

    brilliant deduction – any more obvious wit like that and you’ll be a half wit. The future is neither predictable nor guaranteed . And there’ll be no name change and no repentance 😉

  • The Word

    Learn to shut up when you have nothing good to say, Greenflag.

    The future will owe a debt to the good people of Ireland. It is just a matter of getting them to listen to the lesson they really ought to have learned in recent weeks. And I’m not pointing fingers at people, only ideologies.

  • Greenflag

    the word ,

    ‘It is just a matter of getting them to listen to the lesson they really ought to have learned in recent weeks.,

    Oh it is ? Is it ? And what lesson would that be then ?

    And which ideology ? Ideology does not provide ‘solutions’. It simply provides a context in which the ‘real problems’ of societies are evaporated onto a fancy linguistic framework where they ‘disappear’ along with those ‘people’ who eh cause the problems . Ask any Palestinian or Central European jew or Russian kulak .

    BTW .Speak your mind if you have one and stop writing in riddles . Mental telepathy doesn’t work or has yet to be scientifically verified.

  • The Word

    “lesson”

    You would know if you were meant to know.

    The ideology of Money, that originates with the entrepeneur (Adam) and finds fulfilment in the nation state (the basis of the Old Testament).

    This is probably a big enough “riddle” to confuse your ego.

  • Greenflag

    ‘and finds fulfillment in the nation state ‘

    ? Twenty years ago and during the age of colonial imperialism that might have been largely true .

    In todays globalised investment world ‘money’ moves so fast around the world that investment decisions are made by algorithms which can amass and compute more data in a millisecond than a Wall Street trader can do in a lifetime . Against that kind of financial power the ‘nation state ‘ is defenceless .

    Welcome to the high speed world of global international finance and how it operates . Of course admittance to the world where a couple of cents move on a share up or down can make millions for the investor is a privilige only extended to those who have several millions already and who have the stomach to indulge not in a share trading every day but several times per second .

    http://www.npr.org/2011/01/13/132629284/how-high-frequency-trading-is-changing-wall-street

    Adam as first entrepreuner ? Hardly . He reputedly started off living in Paradise and by the time he was finished his ‘rib’ turned wife took away his ‘eternal ‘ life having listened to a snake and one of his sons murdered his other son .

    First loser would be a more accurate description 😉

  • The Word

    Nation states are still in vogue, you accept?

    Don’t they compete on the basis of GNP?

    Yes, money is now bigger than the nation state but they don’t know what to do about it. Gordon Brown has some clever ideas.

    Pooled sovereignty is a good idea these days but that means giving up the God of Money in reality, and starting to have our young people live burdenable lives again. The age of competition is over. It dies with the collapse of capitalism (and state communism, a more devious form of money worshipping).

    Genesis suggests that Adam was the first man to have a work ethic, the first entrepeneur. “By the sweat of your brow, you will work all the days of your life”. This is the Biblical explanation for the origin of nations who have the god of Money.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Nation states are still in vogue, you accept?’

    Culturally and politically and in theory -yes . Economically what was called economic sovereignty never really existed .The largest ’empire ‘ made the rules (currency and free trade to it’s own advantage ) . That’s no longer possible and will be less possible in the future in a multi polar world .

    ‘They don’t know what to do about it ‘

    The smaller nation states have no control over currency movements and are at the mercy of international bond traders whenever the latter see opportunity for a quick in and out billion or so -best example being Soros’s gouging of the Bank of England during Major’s premiership . Ireland’s powerlessness in the face of same is but another example as was Greece and probably another half a dozen EU countries including even France . The USA and it’s dollar is in thrall to the Chinese, And other East Asian holders of USA T bills .

    The question today is not the collapse of capitalism but which form of capitalism will win out as the ‘model ‘ for the developing world .

    The choice for those countries without scarce natural resources will be either anarchic style capitalism American style with none or little social safety net for the economic casualties of the current displacement of the now downsized managerial and professional classes following the eleimation of the older lower middle and working /manufacturing classes in the 1980’s and later – or authoritarian capitalism in the one party Chinese model which seems to deliver ‘growth’ without too many questions being asked by those being trod upon . With PLA control the Chinese ‘system ‘ may yet develop into a near look alike of the Corporate Fascist State along the lines of WW2 Germany or Italy .

    On the other hand with ‘democracy ‘ dwindling in the USA and more and more power accumulating with the largest corporations the USA might yet beat China in the race to become or stay on top of the economic world pyramid . Both powers might under future economic duress upgrade their present ‘currency’ war to proxy trade wars for scarce resources . Last year was a bad one for USA/China relations and it’s not clear who really controls China but the PLA (People’s Liberation Army ) seem to run themselves without too much cap doffing to the politicians .

    As for the demise of ‘capitalism ‘ It’ll require a change in human nature and there is not a nation on earth that does not kneel to the money God either now or in history . The ‘new ‘ God has not put in an appearance as yet and there is no evidence yet that Mammon has been replaced anywhere on the globe .

    Anarchic capitalism does not defer to the nation state. Democratically elected politicians are discounted as being essentially powerless in a world where financial capital is easily exported but educated populations with votes are for all practical purposes immovable .

    Western middle classes all over the world are being gouged out of existence by a combination of several economic , trade and technological factors which have been underway for the past 20 years and have only recently come together in a synergetic burst of economic and currency and trade chaos . Whether the G-20 can actually agree to the reforms needed is another story.

  • The Word

    “The question today is not the collapse of capitalism but which form of capitalism will win out as the ‘model ‘ for the developing world .”

    Don’t rule out a change of heart. There are measures of the health of a society that do not defer to Money. Contentment is one measure.

    “As for the demise of ‘capitalism ‘ It’ll require a change in human nature and there is not a nation on earth that does not kneel to the money God either now or in history . The ‘new ‘ God has not put in an appearance as yet and there is no evidence yet that Mammon has been replaced anywhere on the globe .”

    If you agree that capitalism, empire-building, kills the natural empathy of human beings and replaces this with civility, needed to disregard others in reality, or death in Christianity, then you’ll realise that capitalism is actually contrary to human nature. All that is needed to change the world is the recognition that the true nature of mankind is empathetic, or based on love of his neighbour. There is already an infrastructure for the overthrow of capitalism. We might be just waiting for a definitive moment.

    And for the first time in history the western civilisations have an interest in changing the rules. China, with an average wage of $400 per year, India ($300) are all going to serve a new agenda, the repentance of the western capitalist.

    “Whether the G-20 can actually agree to the reforms needed is another story.”

    I think they will.

  • Greenflag

    The word ,

    ‘If you agree that capitalism, empire-building, kills the natural empathy of human beings’

    I don’t . I’ll agree that in the case of SOME human beings that has , can and will be the case -but even the world’s greatest ponzi thief Madoff made contributions to charitable institutions simultaneously as he stole from others. Capitalism has been the instrument which has increased the standard of living of most people in the world over the past couple of centuries from a subsistence standard of living . The fact that it’s currently in a crisis of it’s own making is not the issue -the issue is whether it can reform itself sufficiently to work in a globalised world economy without compromising ‘democracy’ as a form of political government .

    ‘All that is needed to change the world is the recognition that the true nature of mankind is empathetic, or based on love of his neighbour.’

    As long as his ‘neighbour ‘ is not taking his stuff or forcing his or her religion or national identity down his neighbour’s throat . In extremis the true nature of man is seen to be empathetic in some cases and it ranges to murderous violence and even genocide in others .

    ‘There is already an infrastructure for the overthrow of capitalism. ‘

    There is ? Where ?

    ‘We might be just waiting for a definitive moment.’

    I’m beginning to think your ‘religious ‘ side is still in mode . Sorry I’m not banking on any second coming .

    ‘China, with an average wage of $400 per year, India ($300) are all going to serve a new agenda, the repentance of the western capitalist.’

    China and India are going to serve not a new agenda but their own interests just like the UK, USA , Germany, France , Japan etc etc did -in any way they can . Whether the world can ‘resource ‘ another couple of billion people using energy and scarce resources at the current USA or European levels is at least debateable .

    ‘I think they will.’ (G-20 monetary, trade and currency reform)

    Hopefully but they better get on with it before it’s too late . The time to stop World War 1 ran out in August 1914 . The world powers of the time could have stopped it in July 1914 but the european monarchies were more interested in enjoying their summers in the sun.

  • The Word

    Greenflag

    “SOME” – a principle that works for some is just a lack of wisdom on your part. Death doesn’t come overnight, but over generations.

    “As long as his ‘neighbour ‘ is not taking his stuff ” – that is an egoic position. The ego denies the true nature of man because it does not defer to him.

    The natural opponent of Christianity is capitalism. An infrastructure exists. A definitive moment has already arisen with the collapse of capitalism in the last number of years. We’re striving at this moment to assert the natural way.

    You’re missing the point about China and India. So low is their cost base and so large are their populations that they will dominate all that is made and eventually all that is serviced such that the west can only be regarded as in perpetual decline in trading terms until an equilibrium can be reached. This is to me either a willing or unwilling repentance for the west. A time to say sorry for putting themselves first in all, and sure as God, a time when the heartfelt cry of repentance will build a new order, based on the natural order.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The natural opponent of Christianity is capitalism. ‘

    Christianity tolerated the ‘slave ‘ trade -Spain , Portugal , England and Belgium . Christianity kow towed to Nazism and Christianity kow tows to ‘capitalism ‘

    Two words – Vatican Bank – I’ll not mention the hanging Cardinal under a London Bridge or Bishop Casey’s rifling of 80,000 thousand euros from his Galway parishioners donations in order to pay for the upkeep of his American mistress and their child .

    As for ‘sure as God ‘ . I’d stick to as sure as death and taxes.

    But I would’nt bet on repentance nor would I bet that any new order will be much different from the old order other than some new faces on top of the global political power pyramid who will get there based on the power of ‘mammon’ behind them .

  • The Word

    Greenflag

    “Christianity tolerated the ‘slave ‘ trade”

    Imperialism created the slave trade, especially USA imperialism, which you seem to be afflicted with.

    “tolerated” – Christianity tolerated a lot of evil in order to get its message across. If it hadn’t been for all those sucker nations swallowing the Old Testament evil, the New Testament would have been killed off by the first Christmas.

    “But I would’nt bet on repentance nor would I bet that any new order will be much different from the old order other than some new faces on top of the global political power pyramid who will get there based on the power of ‘mammon’ behind them .”

    What you’re selling is not wisdom, but cynicism. A few decades of decline in earnings will knock that out of you.

  • Greenflag

    @ the word ,

    ‘Christianity tolerated a lot of evil in order to get its message across.’

    We Irish eventually got that message loud and clear . Look around at empty churches and the flight of the young from an RC Church which is out of touch with social and political reality. And it’s not just in Ireland .

    The RC did indeed tolerate a lot of evil in it’s institutional administration and practice and especially in regard to the abuse of the children of the poor and women .

    I’m a skeptic not a cynic and I’m not selling anything other than what I believe is a rational view of the material world as it is and as it may be . The future is not guaranteed no matter one’s political or religious outlook . As I’m independent financially I’ll alas miss out on the few decades of ‘decline’ . I’ll be lying on a sunny beach or hiking a trail or reading a good book -not the Old or New Testament while you kneel repenting in your pew . Good luck with that.
    You can buy a set of knee pads if the knee joint muscles ache too much or you can offer up your aching knees as a form of penance and maybe get th’oul priest to sell you a few plenary indulgences to shorten your stay in purgatory .

    Now I’m off Mr Word -I’d rather not be any more offensive to your ‘beliefs ‘ and ‘religion’ than I already have been . Don’t take it personal . I’m a disbelieving skeptic as regards all religions while accepting the ‘contributions ‘ they have all made historically to the advance of general civilisation and some more than others .

    But their time is passing despite the resurgence of ‘irrationality’ among the ayatollahs of the middle east and the ‘born agains ‘ of the USA 🙁

  • The Word

    That’s right, Greenflag. Bow out with a few lies.

    “We Irish eventually got that message loud and clear . Look around at empty churches and the flight of the young from an RC Church which is out of touch with social and political reality. And it’s not just in Ireland .”

    Full churches wherever I go. About 50% of Catholics attend mass.

    “As I’m independent financially ”

    I’m sure we can arrange something for your ego.

    Rich man knocking the Church is hardly new. You must have got rich by being so, caring about the poor and women. Harder for a camel and all that. Good luck wherever you’re going. I’m sure it will be hot.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Full churches wherever I go.’

    Well they have to get out of the sun in Guatemala or Nigeria or wherever you live .

    ‘About 50% of Catholics attend mass.’

    In Ireland 90% of them are in the 65 + age group and predominantly women . A demographic going only one way .

    Rich ? I said ‘independent ‘ Rich now would be like your man in the Vatican or the Bishop over in Drumcondra or David Drumm or Seanie Fitzpatrick etc.

    Yes I must indeed be a complete bastard never having to go to court to answer to charges of theft , money laundering , stealing from parishoners or molesting children and abusing women .

    Ah yes I’m sure there’s a place in your heaven for those thieving and paedophile bastards eh ” Just as long as they say they are ‘sorry’ you can wave your little magic crucifix and all will be forgiven .

    I’ll bow out then with a few truths . My sympathies on your inabilty to get past the brain washing . Unlearning is difficult if not impossible for ‘hard cases ‘ like yerself .

  • The Word

    I thought you had finished last time, Greenflag.

    Full Churches in Ireland still. Yes, many women just nurturing their children. I don’t justify evil but I note your cynicism to these problems of the Church.

    Of course, you have never sinned yourself?