Cancel the election
I fired my opening salvo in the election campaign yesterday.
Most commenters suggested I run for the election myself. I suspect that was tounge-in-cheek [or I hope it was]. Except for MacDara who seems to be taking the line of ‘piss or get off the pot’.
Well, MacDara, I would only there are a few obstacles.
Firstly, I don’t have the health or the finances.
Secondly, I don’t consider myself qualified to run.
Which brings me to an interesting point. What are the qualifications to be a candidate? Let’s take an example.
Yesterday, it was announced that Frank McNamara is to run for the PDs. Now most of you will probably never have heard of Frank McNamara so here is what I gleaned from memory and from the radio yesterday, when he was interviewed.
- Occupation: musician
- Claim to fame: used to be Musical Director of the Late Late Show
- Political views: none
- Knowledge of politics: none
- When asked what the Old Age Penion is: don’t know
- Reason for standing: because Mary Harney asked him to
- Political Party: Progressive Democrats
- How long in the party: one day [joined when he was asked to become a candidate]
So why did Harney ask him to run? Was it because of his refreshing political ideas? Obviously not. Or was it because he was a reasonably well known name, and probably a friend of Harney? Much more likely.
So here we have a candidate who is blatantly unsuitable for the job. And by the laws of logic he should get about 20 votes – I will allow that number for friends and family. But he will get a lot more. Why? Because people know his name. Because he’s a nice lad. Because the PDs tell them to. Because his face will be splashed over a thousand lampposts. But no-one will be voting for his policies, because he doesn’t have any. Presumably, before the election, he will be told what his policies are by Harney?
If ever there was an example of how the current set-up is a farce, then this is it.
I wrote a while ago about how I had a new idea for the electoral system. That was, as they say, half joking; half in earnest. for the first time in the history of mankind we have access to instant computing power throughout the land. There is no longer a necessity to elect one person to represent us. We can represent ourselves. In the coming election, candidates will be elected because they have promised to get a voter housed, or because they promise to fix the pot-holes in the road. For all the votor knows [or cares] that candidate may have disastrous policies on health care or foreign policy.
Once a candidate is elected, they have free reign to do and say what they like, for the term of the government. The Electorate [us] have no say whatsoever. The chances are, they won’t even fulfill the promises made on the doorstep.
The new system would take years, even decades of planning. But it could work. We could have a system where each and every individual could have their say on each and every matter.
We would, for the first time have government for the people, by the people.
“You’re a politician” hosted by Louis Walsh and Bertie Aheron. That’ll be next. Wait you see.
Not a bad idea! It could catch on.
You are an evil evil person for even suggesting such a thing! You will be held to account when RTE sees the suggestion and implements it!
Well Grandad I’ll except that you may not have the finances but you
would be qualified.
You care about things, You have an opinion on them ,and you have
ideas about how they could be improved.
That makes you qualified, now you only problem is getting others to agree.
There is a big problem with how and why candidates are selected ,
but we do need them and so if people are willing to run they should
not be condemed the voters will do that quick enough.
My only problem is with single issue candidates because if they do
get elected they may not be too bothered with the thousands of
other issues that they now need to have an opinion on.Of course
better to have a single issue candidate than no a issue candidate.
“That makes you qualified, now you only problem is getting others to agree.”
Ah! There’s the rub. No one is going to vote for an old fart who just rambles on about the state of the country. We have enough of them in the Dáil as it is.
I actually disagree about voters weeding out the dross. People do vote for the strangest reasons. I know of one family who have voted Fianna Fáil for three generations. Why? Because an FFer once got their front door mended! People will vote because the candidate bought them a drink, or because the Party Car brought them to the booth. They will vote for a party because it is a family tradition. They will vote for a candidate because his/her father was a ‘grand fella’.
As I said above, McNamara will get a lot of votes. And he will get them because people remember him from the Late Late, not because he is a good politician.
What is sadly lacking in this country is not quality candidates, but rather an informed electorate. People are too quick to forget the appalling hash-ups the candidate has made in the past and to remember only the last [false] promise.