Post by David Farrell, November 8, 2010
Fine Gael’s latest policy document — in part a rehash of existing policies, in part some new ideas — is to be welcomed not least because it helps to keep reform on the policy agenda. While it’s launch may not have gone as smoothly as the leadership would have liked, the document does deserve close reading. It makes useful proposals in a range of areas, most notably:
- Making governmental processes more open and transparent
- Regulating lobbying
- Reducing the costs of government (again, Seanad abolition makes a showing)
- Civil service reform
- Reform of the budgetary process
This is a start: we can only hope that much more is to follow. Will the other parties follow suit and publish their plans for political reform?
3 thoughts on “Fine Gael dusts off some old policy documents to propose a reinvention of government”
FG deserve congrats for putting together such a detailed document, it’s very much welcomed.
On Sunday, Labour released a list of changes they would like to see to government and public administration
I’m looking forward to this coalition!
Both efforts, FG’s and Labour’s, are obviously welcome. FG seems to have put in the time and effort; Labour’s looks like a rushed, ‘me too’ effort. But both are curate’s eggs and might not taste very good in the omelette of coalition.
And both are lengthy wish-lists that fail to tackle seriously the elephant in the room that has done so much damage – the extent of executive dominance. A clearer focus on relatively few substantive reforms of the Oireachtas and governance is what is required, but this might reduce the executive dominance the leadership in both parties is itching to exercise.
For example, giving the Oireachtas the primary power to initiate legislation, forcing governments to advance policy proposals in hearings before empowered and resourced Oireachtas Cttees that can call rebuttal and counter-rebuttal testimony and evidence and electing Cttee chairs and deputy chairs by secret ballot would help to reduce executive dominance and the tyranny of faction. It wouldn’t prevent stupid decisions, but it might reduce their incidence and severity. Many of the other ‘good things’ on the wish lists could follow from these reforms.
I’m afraid I don’t have much hope.
The New Politics document address reform of the Executive.
I’m disappointed that the document still doesn’t get the scale of reform needed in the political system. No one in the public sector should be paid more €150k, when you see the incomes given up by people to work in The White House, you then look at salaries people in Ireland think they are worth – there isn’t one area in the entire public sector that would pass a fit for purpose test – so the evidence seems to indicate the people getting huge salaries are simply not worth it.
FG should also have said it will accept the resignations of the entire top level of public sector management as their contracts end – none of them will be renewed.
However, what is most diappointing is the complete silence on reform of political expenses and fundraising because I think until the public can see that politics is being reformed, why should everyone else accept the changes and hard times coming down the track?
You would have to wonder too, who did Richard Bruton consult and listen to when he made this policy because it is hard to argue against him being part of the problem too, for different reasons to why FF/G are part of the problem.
FG has failed for the last 25+ years to get Irish to face their responsibility for the low calibre of people they elect to all parts of government at local and national level.
Where are the plans to cut pensions to TDs and former office holders and to end the golden goodbyes etc.