Lo­cal pol­i­tics is of real value

Irish Independent - - LETTERS & EDITORIAL COMMENT -

In re­la­tion to Dan O’Brien’s ar­ti­cle, un­der the head­line ‘Way we elect our TDs must change if we want an end to weak, slug­gish gov­ern­ment’

(Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent, Septem­ber 14), I find it dif­fi­cult to com­pre­hend how an in­vig­o­ra­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties will en­hance Ir­ish gov­ern­ment: the par­ties are all on the soft cen­tre and those that are not are mov­ing in that di­rec­tion.

There is a sullen an­tipa­thy to po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Ire­land, all over Europe and in the United States.

I can­vassed for some years and am un­com­fort­ably aware that or­di­nary elec­tors have lit­tle in­ter­est in na­tional and in­ter­na­tional af­fairs. The in­tractabil­ity of this ten­dency would defy con­sti­tu­tional changes to the elec­toral sys­tem.

The lo­cal­ism that is so de­rided nowa­days may be the only ce­ment hold­ing the Ir­ish po­lit­i­cal sys­tem to­gether as a rel­a­tively co­her­ent and sta­ble en­tity as it af­fords a de­gree of nat­u­ral po­lit­i­cal le­git­i­macy.

It is dif­fi­cult to grasp that one half of the pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives of a po­lit­i­cal party would un­der­take ar­du­ous and te­dious con­stituency work, while the other half would not have to do so, nor would they have to se­cure elec­tion and they would have much bet­ter ac­cess to min­is­te­rial pro­mo­tion.

I am nigh on dis­mayed at the prospect of the lead­er­ship of po­lit­i­cal par­ties se­lect­ing half of their pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

We have been told many things, such as that wa­ter charges and taxes on house­holds would cre­ate won­der­ful re­sults.

New ideas, im­ported ones and glossy ones – ever the ba­sis of re­form – of­ten de­liver lit­tle but new sources of con­fu­sion and may­hem. Tom Mc­Don­ald En­nis­cor­thy, Co Wex­ford

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