“It’s all a bit hasty and half-cock…”

The Guardian‘s Michael White attempts to get to grips with the various parties’ sudden positioning on the need for political reform ahead of the Irish general election.

Why are all the parties thrashing around for reform? You must have guessed. Because after 20 years of purring happily as the Celtic Tiger economy, the Republic of Ireland has suffered a double smash since the crash of 2007, its cronyist politics – obsessed with permanent pork-barrel electioneering – widely blamed for not challenging the banking and corporate sector’s unsustainable dash for growth on borrowed money, now having to be paid back.

So it’s a political and economic crisis – moral, too, if you count the shockwaves of the Catholic church’s cover-up of systemic child abuse in Ireland. Of course, few western countries, including Britain, are not touched by one, two or all of those scandals. But Ireland is small, and I think the shock here has been greater and the options fewer.

Most of the ideas floated above have been around for ages. FG will lead the next government, but it will be busy with trying to manage the debt problem.

Few voters expect too much political reform. Thus FF’s Micheál Martin wants single-seat constituencies because – he says now that he’s long thought this – he’s noticed too much point-scoring, not only between parties but within them. STV requires colleagues to fight for popularity to get more first preference votes.

It’s all a bit hasty and half-cock, but it’s useful to be reminded that other countries have problems too, similar as well as different from our own.

Read the whole thing.