Government of cynical stunts is allergic to real democracy
‘Bring back Brian Cowen and Bertie!’
But would it not be a good idea now to give the Dáil independent powers to oversee what the government of the day was doing, either by way of curtailing the whip system (as in the German and even the UK parliaments), or by way of an initiative operating in the Danish parliament whereby a “decisive minority” (say, 25 per cent of TDs) can insist on a full, independent inquiry into any matter, with full powers to command witnesses (including ministers) and documents?
Fine Gael and Labour won’t have that because they do not want accountable government. Instead they propose, limply, the government “engaging more with the Oireachtas” (note: not being controlled by the Oireachtas), extending Dáil sittings (to what purpose?) and consulting citizens (note: not allowing the sovereign citizens the final say). They also propose “reducing the guillotine” – ie reducing (not ending) the practice whereby the government can force legislation through parliament.
There is now the preposterous situation whereby five TDs are to be denied by the Government the entitlement to represent in parliament the people who elected them. These are the TDs expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party for insisting on honouring a promise they, Enda Kenny and their party made before the last election (ie not to legislate for abortion) – who are denied Dáil speaking rights.
Initiative devised in cynicism
It gets worse.
The Fine Gael initiative to abolish the Seanad was devised in cynicism (a stunt to distract attention from Enda Kenny’s incompetent Dáil performances in 2009) and executed in cynicism (the refusal to offer the electorate the option to reform the Seanad and the timing of the referendum before yet another attack on the vulnerable in Budget 2014). But a further cynical dimension has been added.
The Government is promising that if the people vote to retain the Seanad it will refuse to reform an institution it says is redundant in its present form. Of course it has to say that, however cynical it seems, because were it to concede that it would reform the Seanad if the people voted to retain it the choice would no longer be between the abolition of the Seanad and its retention in its present form but between abolition and a reformed Seanad.
This Government is even more cynical than the previous one.
Bring back Brian Cowen and Bertie!
It’s that bad.