Post by David Farrell (July 11 2011)
A re-reading of the Coalition Government’s Programme for Government is timely. It’s worth taking stock of the political reform proposals that have been implemented, those that are on going, and those that are (firmly) promised. There has been some undoubted progress, but a lot – a lot – still needs to be done. Continue reading
post by David Farrell (July 11, 2011)
It’s a pity that the media gave scant if any coverage to an important speech by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform at a Labour party meeting on July 2. The full text of Brendan Howlin’s speech is here. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (May 3, 2011)
The on-going British referendum debate on whether to change their electoral system from ‘first past the post’ to the alternative vote (the system we use to elect our President) should provide some salutary lessons. Almost regardless of the outcome – which most now expect to be a safe majority against reform – the tone of the debate reveals a lot about the dangers of leaping into a reform agenda that has not been properly thought through, and also one that had little if any popular buy-in from citizens at large. The reason for the British referendum was nothing more than a sop by the Conservatives to tie the Liberal Democrats into coalition. There was no consultation with the wider public in advance: the proposal was foisted on the electorate without as much as a by your leave – the ultimate in top-down decision-making. Continue reading
Posted by David Farrell (March 4, 2011)
In an earlier post, Liam Weeks extolled the virtues of transfers in STV. Data supplied by RTE’s election results service provide interesting insights into how Irish voters made strategic use of transfers in this election. As ever there is much to pore over, but here are two interesting trends that I would draw attention to. Continue reading
NOTES ON PROPOSALS FOR POLITICAL REFORM MADE AT SEMINAR OF THE IRISH PARLIAMENTARY (FORMER MEMBERS) SOCIETY HELD IN THE DAIL CHAMBER ON FRIDAY JANUARY 21ST 2011.
Posted on behalf of Gemma Hussey by David Farrell (March 2, 2011)
1. A draft of expenditure proposals in the Budget should be published six weeks in advance with a view to an open debate on the Government’s proposals.
2. The powers of the Public Accounts Committee should be extended to enable it to check for effectiveness, viz performance versus promise. The Committee should be empowered to require the attendance of Ministers. Continue reading
Guest post by Peter Mair (posted by David Farrell, Feb 28, 2011)
This election goes down not only as the most volatile in Irish democratic history, but also as one of the most volatile elections in postwar Europe. Aggregate electoral volatility is conventionally measured with the simple Pedersen index, which adds the absolute values of the aggregate gains of all winning parties to the aggregate losses of all losing parties, and divides by two. This measure of net volatility obviously underestimates the total amount of change, since party A’s losses to party B can be offset by its gains from party C. But we need individual level panel data to measure this type of gross volatility, and these data are not always easily or quickly collected. Measuring aggregate (net) volatility with the Pedersen index has the advantage of allowing for a more or less instant assessment, and of being able to compare levels of change in contemporary elections with those in the more distant past. Continue reading
Guest post by Kevin Cunningham, TCD (posted by David Farrell, February 22, 2011)
This article explains some of the problems of common polling interpretation and applies the leading solution to the general election campaign of 2011. It also offers a more accurate interpretation of trends and generates a current poll of polls as at Monday February 21st. Continue reading
David Farrell (February 20, 2011)
Early in the campaign I happened on a radio story in which the intrepid reporter was following a sitting TD on his election canvass. Everywhere the politician went he met with a positive reaction from his constituents. The basis of the whole story was that this was a politician in tune with his electorate, a popular constituency worker. As I switched off he was visiting a farm and kissing a chicken. No, this is not a typo; it wasn’t the proverbial child being kissed – the candidate kissed a chicken. Continue reading
David Farrell (February 12 2011)
In today’s Irish Times, Dermot Desmond has published a manifesto for political reform. A full (27-page) version of the document is available here. Whatever views one may have about the messenger, there is no doubt about the significance of the proposals, some of which are pretty radical. It is interesting to see the overlap with the political reform proposals we’ve already seen from some of the parties – notably the similarity with Fianna Fáil’s proposal to force government ministers to give up their Dáil seats. Continue reading
Guest post by Johnny Fallon (loaded by David Farrell, February 8 2011)
With the reform debate now all thrashed out by the parties I don’t think any of them has hit the spot for me. But rather than sit on the fence I will, as usual, pop my head up for some abuse. If I was asked to reform politics this is where I would have started.
• One of the main problems within the Irish system is that we do not have a properly functioning local government system.
• There is a lack of trust on the part of national government when it comes to delegating responsibility to councils
• There is a lack of responsibility among local councils and a lack of accountability.
• The number of councils for such a small population is far too expensive.
• There is a lack of co-ordinated planning and economies of scale
• Regional Authorities have no function in the public mind
• TD’s are seen as more powerful than a Council and therefore approached. Continue reading