Sir, – Brian O’Brien of Templeogue (Letters, February 6th) astutely suggests that we have elections every year as, when faced with the prospect of the polls, politicians appear to “promise immediate solutions“ to all our difficulties. While this is true, it brought to mind the insightful observation of Jean-Claude Juncker that, “we all know what to do – we just don’t know how to get re-elected after we’ve done it”.
Clearly, campaign promises illustrate that political leaders know what the public wants to hear. Whether they actually want it done, however, is debatable. Perhaps our politicians know that too. For instance, affordable housing is the major focus of this campaign but the last government to oversee a major fall in house prices didn’t benefit from that legacy, to put it mildly.
It’s worth considering that if we banned serving sequential terms of office, we might see a different approach. No one would want to collapse the ruling administration, and implementing real change would be seen as time-critical. There would be an urgent imperative for all representatives to cooperate to get as much done before their time expired. I wonder if our politicians might vote to implement this change? Turkeys and Christmas come to mind. – Yours, etc,