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 firstname.lastname@example.org