Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Single Issue Candidates.

Back in the day of Dev he tried to get rid of the P.R system of voting in favour of the British First past the post system. He was convinced that is was the source of all the weak governments of the 50s. To make sure that he would get a Yes vote he ran the referendum on the same day as the presidential election hoping that his popularity would result in yes vote. But P.R is widely loved in Ireland. It gives minority parties a voice they would not have in a first past. Considering that they are the only ones that deviate from the centre it is a good thing. But one aspect of the P.R system that is not good for the overall political environment of Ireland is the rise of single issue independents. In 1997 neither coalition had the ability to form a government. So the independents had to be courted. 5 out of the 6 independents (Michael Lowery voted for his old party) were bought by Bertie. He promised them roads and hospitals and loads of investment. The rest of the country saw this. They saw Jakie Healy Rae getting a disproportionate slice of the states cake. So what happen at the next election. 13 independents were elected to the Dail. This was mainly out of greed. They wanted their area to get something that they wanted. They no longer thought that the government should be allowed to make decisions based on the greatest good. They thought they deserved the services more then anyone else. However it backfired and Bertie got loads of seats and no longer needed the independents. They had no power. No speaking rights no way of solving the problems they were elected to fix. So what did they do. They went on reality T.V shows. The funny things is if you look at decentralisation it is quiet clear that parties themselves are not unwilling to give disproportional slices to their own patches. But we still have talk of more single issue candidates. The Rossport 5 were rumoured to be running in the next election and now the relatives of the victims of the stardust tragedy are running. While these peoples issue are the most important to them. Unless we have a hung Dail. They will have absolutely no power to do anything for their people. And the country will have less representatives that will have and support a broad range of ideas that effect us all.

1 comment:

planetpotato said...

Because of the parochial nature of politics in this country, it would make sense for voters to elect one independent in their constituency, "just in case"