Posted on | May 2, 2012 | No Comments
Since the recent introduction of the property tax, and all the other stealth taxes imposed on us over the last couple of years along with the now proposed water charges, people are justifiably annoyed and are feeling helpless and voiceless. After all, the voters decided to punish Fianna Fáil in the last general election, they to vote for parties that had their own policies which did not include cuts but instead relied on growing the Economy. This was not just wishful thinking on behalf of a disillusioned electorate; it was a belief, built on the election promises of the two parties that are now in power.
Some people have decided to take action by marching to the Dáil or by protesting at the relevant party conferences, while this may make people feel better in themselves and lessen the feelings of helplessness, it will not, in my opinion have any effect on Government policy whatsoever. This Government is so self deluded that they actually interpret their last electorate success on people wanting a Fine Gael/Labour Government, and not, what it actually was, a protest vote aimed at punishing Fianna Fáil for the mess they got us into.
We have to realize we do not live in a real democracy, the citizens of this country, like most other countries in Europe and the Western World for that matter, have no real say in how our Country and by extension our Society is governed. All we get to do is to choose between carefully selected tweedledee’s and tweedledum’s once every five years or so. Coming up to each election, we the electorate, are made empty promises of what a new Government will do if elected, only to have these promises cynically ignored when in power. All the while the mantra “we have a mandate from the people” gets thrown in our faces, while they continue to impose more draconian measures on us that are doomed to fail. All the measures implemented over recent years are reactive rather than proactive measures, laws introduced under such pressures always turn out to be bad laws, but are laws that, none the less will shape our future lives and in place for many years to come.
If people want to effect real change and are genuinely against these new charges, then marches and demonstrations are not the way, we need to box clever, we need to use the system, however inadequate it may be, to fight the system. We need a way that is both simple and effective, one such way would be a campaign that we could call (to Para-phrase a slogan used by the Americans in their war of independence) “Not my vote without representation” , this would be a far more effective measure and in my opinion one that contains poetic justice on a Machiavellian scale.
Let me give some background insights, first, our Dáil has one hundred and sixty six seats (way too many for a country the size of Ireland). To form a Government a party or parties need to secure at least eighty three seats provided they elect a Ceann Comhairle from the ranks of the opposition benches, now the Government itself will be made up of between twenty to thirty people of the rank of Minister or Junior Minster, this in itself poses a problem for those ambitious individuals that crave a seat at the cabinet table, how do we get enough people elected to give us the majority needed to form a Government but at the same time not have an abundance of talented people that could be competition for the top jobs?; The solution? Simply fill the back benches with people able to get elected but not able enough to do a good enough job that would single them out for promotion, in other words those that can get pot holes filled in and street lights fixed but that have no real skills on how to run a modern state and then pay these individuals way above the market value for doing such menial tasks.
You may find this mildly amusing but remember, this is a system that we as tax payers pay for, in any sitting of the Dáil we have to assume that well over half are there simply to give the main three parties enough numbers to form a Government, but not make a nuisance of themselves by seeking a cabinet position. This could be the political Achilles Heel that we the voters could exploit to get out voices heard and our demands met, after all, those in the Dáil are there to deputize on our behalf, they work for us not the other way around. They are our representatives not our overlords.
To get back to the campaign itself how would this “Not my vote without representation” work”? Well if all those dissatisfied with policies suggested, were to draw up and sign a petition with the names of all the Government back benchers in their constituency on it, stating that if specific policies are not reversed, then the under signed will not be voting for any of the named candidates in the next General election. I can guarantee you this would be enough to make us heard, many of these backbenchers are only concerned with keeping their seats in the Dáil, they would then go to Government and demand that the people be listened to, or that they, in an effort to keep their seats will withdraw support from the Government. They will, no doubt, make some grand announcement that they are only doing it in the interest of democracy and of the people they represent, but it would in fact be for self preservation, either way “our will be done” it would be poetic justice in that it would be using this farce of the numbers game, against the very people that use it to gain power in the first place, to wrestle power from the cabinet back to the people, where, in a democracy, it rightfully belongs. Remember the taxpayers are being given the bill to clean up the mess our current political system created, while at the same time we are not been given the necessary structural changes to that system which could help prevent it from happening again.
I for one say enough is enough, if others out there feel the same way and are interested in trying to effect real change “then speak now or forever hold your peace”, let’s organize this “Not my vote without representation” campaign. If you are interested visit my website at www.aBetterIreland.com and let’s make our voices heard.
If you are interested in exploring this idea further please email me at email@example.com
Posted on | March 26, 2012 | No Comments
With the publication of the Mahon Report, in which he concluded, “that corruption was rife at every level of the political system.” Is it not then time to look at the political system itself. After all, if our system which was fashioned by these same individuals that have been exposed as having been self-serving, corrupt and for the wont of a better word, gangsters. Is it not fair to assume that the system that they would have been responsible for adapting is also corrupt? Designed to either aid themselves, by ensuring that they find themselves in positions to influence decisions for self gain or to aid the people whose pockets they were only too willing to occupy. It has to be concluded that when introducing new bills and if faced with a decision to either favour the citizens of this country or to feather their own nests then the latter options would have taken preference every time Is it not just common sense to think so? Therefore, what is the point of clearing out the corrupt politicians but to leave the system that they built, intact? A system that excludes not only the majority of people in the county but also by placing power exclusively in the hands of those that sit at the cabinet table excludes our elected representatives that sit on the back benches. Ireland is not a Democracy it is an Oligarchy, one built on corruption, and it’s time for change.
Posted on | November 14, 2011 | No Comments
Inspired by the following excerpt from Michael D. Higgins inauguration speech…
“it is necessary to move past the assumptions which have failed us and to work together for such a different set of values as will enable us to build a sustainable social economy and a society which is profoundly ethical and inclusive. A society and a state which will restore trust and confidence at home and act as a worthy symbol of Irishness abroad, inviting relationships of respect and co-operation across the world”
Coupled with a feeling of total disillusionment at the state of our society and of the institutional grouping that held power here, for, in my opinion, way too long. I want to open up this site to outside contributors to help us all build a better Ireland.
Over the last number of years we have seen the fall of many institutions that traditionally took on the role of leadership in this country and gave its people their sense of identity (the church, and Fianna Fáil just to name two) or that worked for that advancement of its members (trade unions), these organisation (and there are others) overtime became obsessed with power for powers sake and began concentrating on their own advancement rather than on that of their members or of society at large. In fact its member where dismissed and then simply ignored as an irrelevance in their pursuit of power, influence and wealth. Rather than they themselves changing they did their utmost to prevent change happening, a pointless task and one that is destined to fail give the fact, that life is change, while being a futile exercise it is one that will and has caused great suffering as a result of this refusal to acknowledge and embrace change, people that felt the need to change or to be different were shunned, and not necessarily because of what it was that they believed in or of their differences but because this state if allowed to go unchecked would pose a threat to the old order and as a result a threat to their rein of power.
It has occurred to me that if we are to change our values and out lives for the better then it will be up to us to do it for ourselves. So with this in mind I am looking for contributions from people with suggestions on what we can do as individuals to improve our own lives and by extension the lives of those we know and love and maybe to affect a positive change to society at large.
It is my belief that the blind pursuit of materials things that we saw during the celtic tiger years is not what’s going to make us happy. As social beings, to feel true happiness we need to feel that we belong, that we matter and that we are contributing to something much greater than ourselves and to something that is of genuine and lasting value.
The pursuit of material gains has brought this great Country of ours to its knees and its people to a depressed state of being. Our politicians seem to think that the solutions to this crisis is to punish us all so that they can return us to that same road to ruin as quickly as possible, they are being driven by blind panic and cannot see the opportunity that has presented itself to us all. The opportunity that I write of, is one that can allow us to rebuild our society, to make one that is better, kinder and happier, a society where all its people are valued for whatever contribution that they can make, a society that values and celebrates our differences and the unique gifts that we all possess rather than one that tries to make us all the same, that tries to make us all one dimensional plastic beings.
We are seeing elected Governments around the world being replaced by none elected committees, in an effort to satisfy the markets. These markets are driven by greed and greed by its nature can never be satisfied. We are being sold out and are being asked (not even asked, but forced) to fund the purchase and to feel grateful for it. Our freedoms are slowly being eroded and we are being driven towards a life of misery and despair, a life spend desperately trying to eke out a living, a life devoid of joy, of friendship, our fellow citizens will be seen as our competitors because they too will be desperately trying to keep themselves alive. It will be a world that will turn its back on the old, the sick and those with special needs; these people will be seen as a drain on what little resources that will be available to us and as such will be forgotten at best or at worst, well it does not bare thinking about it, but history has shown us what can happen. One little set back in life will be a personal disaster one that we may never recover from, if you do not believe me or you think that I’m being melodramatic, I ask you to look at the lives our parents lived and compare it to your own, would you say that your parents had a happier more fulfilling life (not materially but more fulfilling as humans), had they more friend, true friends that we have now? Did they have more interested outside of making money that you see today? Did they do things just for the sheer enjoyment of it or out of a sense of community duty rather that for some monitory gain? Now apply this slip in personal fulfilment over the last generation to the next generation and to the one after that and can you see where it will lead us. This will surely happen unless we as individuals come together and cry stop, it has already begun with the “Occupy” movements around the world I would like to contribute to this movement by opening up this site, if you think what I say makes sense, then I would urge you to contribute, to spread the word to get others to contribute and share. I look for any contributions that you feel will make our lives more meaningful, be it sharing skills that have been lost in the name of progress, to self sufficiency tips, tips on saving the Environment, tips on personal contentment to community belonging, how to do things for ourselves as both individuals and as communities or just visions of what can be. I want to include all people, regardless of nationality, race, personal, religious or political beliefs, our futures are all intertwined now, and therefore the solution be intertwined also.
I have not set up sections on the site yet, I will wait until I get some contributions (if any) to see if they lend themselves naturally to some kind of sectioning, before deciding on sections.
Well that’s it, over to you now, I will of course continue to make contributions but would love to hear from you, and remember together we can make it a Better Ireland.
If not you then who?
If not now then when?
email me your ideas to dave@aBetterIreland.com
PS, I plan on taking my photo and name of the site soon and replace them with something more generic and less egotistical, the site was originally a platform for the last general election, but I now want it to be more a community effort rather than about one individual. Any suggestions?
Posted on | October 27, 2011 | No Comments
After the latest EU summit, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said “EU leaders have acted in a decisive manner and the deal allows for a much improved environment within the eurozone, in which Ireland can focus on creating real opportunities for jobs and getting people back to work.” His main focus seems to be on job creation, but is that the answer to our problems?
What most people want is a life, and not just a job, just ask anyone that is still in a job, but for whom life has become a constant struggle, an ever ending juggling act in an effort to keep a roof over their families head and food on their table.
For most people, a job is a vital part of having a full and meaningful life, but not when the Government takes more and more of what you earn each month and most of what is left goes to service inflated debts that were entered into under different times, many people today that have jobs are finding themselves penniless before the next payday comes around and then the whole treadmill starts all over again for the following month. We are then told that the solution to our problems is to work longer and harder and for more years, but that will just lead to the Government taking even more of our money from us, this is in effect nothing more than slavery, we have allowed ourselves to become slaves.
So I say to this Government, jobs alone are not the answer, give us back out lives, give us a quality of life that has more than spending it working, we have but a short time between the cradle and the grave do we really want to spend all that time in work, to pay for the mistakes of others?
Posted on | July 19, 2011 | 1 Comment
Having reflected on my recent entry into politics and on a decision whether I should run again as an Independent or not, I have come to the realisation that the problem that we have with politics in Ireland is a systemic one and if it is ever to improve then the system has to change. Anyone doubting the truth of this statement needs only look at the kind of people that get elected to the Dáil under the current system to see that this is in fact the case.
Change can only take place in one of two ways, one is through a revolution, which may not be a bad thing, and it would allow the people to take back control of their destinies, rather than suffer the slow bleeding to debt (pun in intended) that we now suffer. The other is for people to use the limited power that they have in the Democracy and that is their vote.
It is my contention that the latter is the best approach initially and if that does not work then people will be left with no alternative but to revolt. But for the latter to succeed we need a new party, sadly independents will not do it, it has to be said that the independents that got elected the last time seemed to have quickly joined the status quo that is the Irish political system and that is of tending to their local constituents and issues so as to enhance their chances of getting re-elected. This is how politics in Ireland works and it needs to change, Ireland needs real leadership now, we do not need another 166 civil servants on top of the tens of thousands we already have. This ship is about to go down and we have people, systems and procedures in place to make sure that that all the deckchairs are position correctly.
One major problem is that at present we have no real choice in Ireland, no alternative and as the saying goes “if you keep doing what you’ve always done you will keep getting the same results you always got”. In their quest to get elected all the political parties have gelled in to one, in to this none entity that claims to stand for whatever people wants it to stand for before the election but then to change to something completely different after the election. This is no more obvious that with Labour, when people chose to join a particular parties why do they then try to change that party, why did they not simply join the party that they are changing to in the first place and leave people with real alternatives. Why didn’t the likes of Joan Bruton join either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael rather than drag the entire Labour party over to the right? People like them have robbed us of our choices just so that they will become more electable in the short term, we have to assume that they were initially attracted to these parties because of the party’s ideology but they then proceeded to ditch the party’s ideology for personal gain. Are these people really the best kind of people to be running our Country? Having already sold their souls to get into power will they now sell our souls to keep themselves there?
If like me you believe that change is needed then in the words of Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We need change, and for change to happen it will take us, the people of Ireland to make it happen. I want to start a movement for change, and I mean real change not just empty slogans, how this change is to happen, I do not know, all I do know is that it has to happen and I’m calling on all likeminded people to join me and together lets explore the options available to us. Please join me, follow this page, get others to do likewise and together let’s take our futures back.
Posted on | June 30, 2011 | No Comments
As many of you may know, I ran as an Independent candidate in the last general election, the Monday after the count I rang the office of the returning officer to enquire as to whether I need to submit my expenses or did any other documentation need taking care of. As I had not been elected and had not even come close to the quarter of a quota needed to claim back my election expenses I was told that there was nothing else needed doing.
Several days later I received two multi-paged documents that did in fact need filling out, detailing all expenses incurred. Though detailed in the extreme, most of the questions did not apply to me, as I had not raised any monies to run and my budget was tiny, my only real expense was the literature I handed out at the doors.
These documents needed my signature on them and my signature needed to be witnessed, but not just by “any old” witness, it had to be one of the following, a commissioner for Oaths, a Notary Public, a peace commissioner or a practicing solicitor.
Fortunately for me a commissioner for oaths happened to live quite close to me so I got her to do the deed at the cost of ten euro a signature. I posted the forms back happy in the knowledge that I had done my civic duty to the best of my ability. (I include my decision to run as part of that duty)
But that was not to be the end of it, oh no, I received the documents back yesterday, a full two months after they were first received in Dublin. Apparently the documents were not witnessed properly. The witness should have signed on the last page of each of the two documents, not on the second last page the page that actually had my signature on it.
Now does this not seem absolutely ridiculous to you or is my judgement clouded by the fact that it happen to me?, I mean to say, the country is going bankrupt, we have politicians that got elected on promises that they have no intention of keeping and we have a civil service that seems to have nothing better to be doing that split hairs over the position of a signature.
Any documents that I have signed in the past that required witnessing, the witnesses’ signature usually appears right under my own, at the very least on the same page as it. I can only assume that there is a very good reason for doing this, it is I assume, to prevent the page with the witness signature on it being removed from the original document and then appended to the back of another non witnessed document of the same kind. Now I know that our politicians are much too upright a bunch of people to even think up such a plan, let alone execute it, but shouldn’t we protect them from ever having such an allegation levelled towards one of them, after all, are they not too busy working on our behalf that they do not even have the time, to let’s say, make over 3600 phone calls to a premium phone number over a few days.
In my mind this episode raises two interesting points, the first being, how many civil servants up and down the country are employed to nitpick like this on a daily basis, does the country really need such diligence to get us out of the mess we’re in, where was this kind of adherence to detail when our bank were allowed conduct their business in the manner that led them to bankrupt and entire Country. The second point that comes to mind is did all the other candidates get people to witness their signature on a completely different piece of paper than that which held their signature and would such a document stand up in court as a properly witnesses document, if ever challenged?
What we have in this Country is bureaucracy gone mad, we have it in the Government, we have it in the Dáil and we have it throughout the civil service. It’s time that commonsense should prevail, we need real leadership, we need real action, it is time to get a shovel (or should that be a spade) and start digging ourselves out of this mess that we find ourselves in.
Posted on | March 21, 2011 | No Comments
In an Interview over the weekend Minister Simon Coveney when talking about the new Government said “We don’t think that it’s fair or equitable that Irish taxpayers should be required to take on all of the debts associated with the mistakes made by Irish banks and by banks who lent money to Irish banks. “ his use of the word ”all” implies that the Minister believes that it’s fair and equitable that Irish taxpayers should be required to take on (some) of the debts associated with the mistakes made by Irish banks and by banks who lent money to Irish banks.
I would like the Minister to explain to us, the taxpayers, why it is fair that we should take on any of the banks bad debts, how much of the bad debts we should take on and what public services we should forego to pay this debt?
Posted on | February 4, 2011 | No Comments
I have been calling for reform to our political system for many years now, I’ve even had several letters printed in the national press call for such reform, at the time I was a lonely voice in the wilderness. Over the years I have been joined by many like minded individuals and in recent weeks I have also been joined by all the major political parties.
So now that my ideas have seemed to become the accepted doctrine of all, is there a need for someone like me to enter the Dāil?
The short answer is yes, there is, the reason is that all political parties lie, they have lied in the past and will continue to lie in the future, they will promises the voters anything they think that people want , just to get elected, and once they get what they call a “mandate from the people” they quickly forget the promises they gave, the promises that got them this mandate in the first place.
By electing me, I assure you that I will not let them forget what it was that got them elected in the first place and I will use every avenue available to me to make sure that they too act differently by delivering on what it was they promised.
Posted on | January 31, 2011 | No Comments
Should political parties be legally obliged to follow through on their election manifestos if they find themselves in Government after the election? After all it is the manifesto that they bring to the people pre election that gets them elected, well at least is should be. In my opinion it makes a complete mockery of our democratic system as well as being an insult to the people of Ireland to tell such flagrant untruths in their desire to get into office.
Most parties never implement the majority of what they promise, and never had any intention of doing so to begin with and some even reverse pre election promises post election. Can this be called democracy? after all if a business was to make false claims about their product or service then the customer has recourse to legal redress, why not when it comes to the Government? Is it democracy to sell falsehoods to and unsuspecting people when the political parties themselves know full well that they have no intention of fulfilling their promises? Can they truly claim to have a mandate from the people when that mandate was gained under false pretences?
We need change to our political system, one of those changes needs to be full accountability, for actions while in office and for promises given to get into office. Our democracy is a precious thing, to precious a thing to be treated with contempt but those that claim to uphold it. Just look at the Arab world today, people there are dying on the streets to have democracy as did Irish people in the past. Do not treat us with contempt simply to further your own ambitions. Treat us with the respect that we deserve and our democracy will be all the stronger as a result.
Posted on | January 17, 2011 | 6 Comments
As an independent candidate, it is very difficult to get elected under our present political system. Most Independents are elected on single issue items, like getting a new road built or keeping a hospital open. Issues like these do even more damage to an already flawed political system. I want the system changed and as such face an uphill battle, however not a completely hopeless one, but to have any chance of success I need help, help with the campaign and help with getting my message out to the people of Cork South West.
I believe in the genius of the Irish people and as such am calling on anyone interested in what it is that I am trying to achieve to lend me a hand, moments like these come only a very few times in one’s lifetime, let’s grasp it, let’s make a difference, let’s fix the Country and let’s get us onto the right track.