Have We Learned Nothing From The Crisis?

Do you remember 2007? The economy was booming (or so we were told) and the government was swaggering. This was all due to their wisdom and excellent management they told us. Don’t throw it away, they told us, by electing that other crowd, or even worst still, those leftists who might try to regulate the property market. There is was no debate over whether the property boom was sustainable or if the banks were properly regulated. Those who questioned if all parts of society were benefiting or if the government really knew what it was doing were dismissed as moaners. Questions over whether giving tax cuts so that people could buy bigger houses was the best use of resources were ignored. The system was working so don’t question it. Continue reading “Have We Learned Nothing From The Crisis?”

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What Is The Best Electoral System?

In the aftermath of the UK general election, a lot of focus has shifted to the electoral system and questions have been raised over how fair and democratic it is. In particular, is it democratic for the Conservative party to win a majority of seats with only a third of the votes? Is it democratic for the 7.5 million people who voted for the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and Greens to have only 10 seats? Surely the fact that 25% of voters got only 1% of the seats is a sign of a serious problem with the electoral system? How can we make the electoral system better? Continue reading “What Is The Best Electoral System?”

Can The Labour Party Be Saved?

The Irish Labour Party is in dire straits. Its vote has collapsed from 19.7% in the 2011 general election to only 7% in last months local election, causing its leader Eamon Gilmore to resign. Now there is a leadership election ongoing between Joan Burton and Alex White, both of which are making bland statements about what they would do as leader (neither have mentioned any policies or anything concrete). But is this simply a case of rearranging chairs on the Titanic and finding someone to take the poisoned chalice and lead Labour into election meltdown? Continue reading “Can The Labour Party Be Saved?”

On The Road To Recovery Or The Road To Nowhere?

The government has been celebrating Ireland’s recent exit from the Troika bailout and have proclaimed that Ireland is now on the road to recovery. The Taoiseach addressed the nation to celebrate the regaining of Ireland’s economic sovereignty. But are we out of the woods yet? Is Ireland facing a new dawn that leaves the nightmare of the recession behind or is it only a mirage of false hope while we are still stuck in the mud? Continue reading “On The Road To Recovery Or The Road To Nowhere?”

Meath East And The Future Direction Of Irish Politics

Irish politics is in a great state of flux. Nothing is quite certain and the positions keep changing. After being fairly rigid and predictable since 1932, it was burst apart in the earthquake election of 2011 and things have yet to settle back into place. Every opinion poll shows the sudden rise or fall of another party, but failing to add much clarity to the situation. This is why the Meath East by-election is useful as it allows us to take stock of the situation and give us a rough idea of where things stand and what direction Irish politics is heading. Continue reading “Meath East And The Future Direction Of Irish Politics”

Crisis Of Consensus

Irish politics is in crisis. The economy has been severely damaged and recovery is still far off. Old political loyalties are breaking down. The nation is near bankruptcy. In this time of great trouble we need great leadership and new thinking. The old ways have failed us and we need new ideas. Instead we stuck with old fashioned mediocrity. Irish politics is not based on ideas or visions but on keeping the status quo. We have a crisis of consensus. Continue reading “Crisis Of Consensus”

New Dawn or More of the Same?

This time last year there was a political earthquake that changed the shape of Irish politics. Fianna Fail suffered the worst defeat in its history and lost its dominance over Irish politics. The political system in place since 1932 was destroyed. Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein made enormous and unprecedented gains, while the losses suffered by Fianna Fail and the Green Party were so great many commentators questioned if they would survive. A Fine-Gael-Labour coalition was formed with the largest majority in history. One year on, how has the new government fared? Has it redefined the way politics operate or is it simply a case of new faces, same old story? Continue reading “New Dawn or More of the Same?”