In this election, as always, ‘policies’ on issues are being auctioned off – in a competition to win votes on the basis of promises.
Some candidates are emphasising hospitals and cutbacks, others jobs, strategic investments and others the need for more Gardaí. Some are promising better school facilities, assistance for special needs and care for the elderly. All seem concerned about low wages, those with mortgage troubles, unemployment, immigration and so on.
In the mix also are those proposing ‘reforms’, ‘constitutional conventions’, ‘better ways’, ‘left alternatives’ and even those seeking to strengthen the current FG/Labour coalition. Even the so-called ‘independent’ candidates are tied up in this policy auction, trading promises to get into power.
Voters are invited to pick the best set of policies and vote accordingly, then go home a be quiet and let the ‘politicians’ do the business, acting for them. This auction is how such politicians and parties expect citizens to exercise their democratic right to direct the affairs of our state – by handing over our rights to them, by ignoring their false promises.
We have Lots of Choices, but they are All the Same. Vote, then be Ignored! Except for one.
The Issue is this: Who will be Empowered, the Citizens or the Elected Representative?
Unless the citizens of Dublin West retain their power they will be left with no say at all once the ballot is cast. Citizens will neither be able to initiate policies themselves, nor be able to decide on how the TD’s should vote on each issue before the Dáil.
One specific measure Brendan has committed to, if elected, is:
“If the citizens of Dublin West gather a petition of 3000 signatures for my recall, I will organise an independent constituency referendum and will resign if it is passed.”
Just as citizens have the right to select and elect their own candidates, it is also their right to recall them if they are not happy for any reason. Brendan is committed to building The Peoples Convention – as the organisation of all voters in the constituency – through which the voters can supervise their elected TD’s, even after the election.
We don’t need a policy auction in politics. People already have their own basic policies which simple stated are for schools, hospitals, child care, infrastructure, care of our aged, business supports and a sustainable economy that engages the skills of all our people and provides for our needs.
It is not policies we are lacking but the measures to make a reality of them.
The reason these basic policies have not been implemented is that the people are ruled over by a system of collaborating political parties who represent powerful vested interests. The people are not empowered themselves, Brendan Doris is the only candidate in Dublin West proposing the way in which the citizens can be empowered.
Our Constitution says that we should elect people to “represent constituencies”, it doesn’t say that these people should represent a ‘political party’ or represent ‘themselves’. In fact, there is no mention at all of parties in Bunreacht na hÉireann.
Yet, the electoral system is designed around political parties, they have unfair advantage on ballot papers, in registration of candidates, in state funding, media support etc. This has left our state ruled by vested interests since its foundation, and this is how ordinary citizens are effectively excluded.