The Peoples Convention would like to thank all those who supported our candidates and our programme for democratic renewal in this election. We knew we were unprepared and under-resourced for this campaign, having only initiated our movement late in November, nonetheless we felt compelled to take a stand for what is right and are happy to have done so.
The people have not been empowered in this election, the vested interests and their parties continue as the decision makers in our state … however, some change has taken place in the outlook of the people and this has been voiced.
From the outset we said that the main problem in our state was the lack of democracy, that the people had no say in deciding state policy. We stated that the people had no effective way of participating in the decision making process, primarily because of its domination by the political parties backed by vested interests, who effectively exclude the people. Our say as decision makers was limited to the few minutes we would spend completing the ballot paper.
The discussions were restricted
Virtually the only discussions that people could participate in during the campaign were in ‘persuading’ the politicians to act in our interests, if they got elected – there were very few public forums or debates – where people could discuss together their concerns and needs and what they wanted going forward.
Did the media assist fair discussion?
In the TV, radio and print media, official bias was given to the ‘main’ parties – limiting alternative ideas or analysis. The consequence of limiting the bulk of media time to these parties is to set the agenda for the people – the media has no right to do that – a broad discussion was needed.
The press statements of the parties were carried faithfully, their every twist and turn was reported. It seemed at times that statements were coordinated on the different issues – all would address the jobs crisis on a particular day, next day they would all comment on the issue of banking and the credit crisis etc. Each day we were told how well each of the parties performed on a particular issue – when they had actually done nothing – the picture of a struggle of ideas and policy was painted, but it never existed.
One could easily consider that RTÉ in particular were co-ordinating the debate within pre-defined limits, there was almost no serious challenge of the spokespeople interviewed – all their basic assumptions were accepted as given. It seemed like the debating charade was even rehearsed in advance – no one was to be caught out! Everything was nice and cordial, no really difficult questions, it is only the lives of you and me and our children that was at stake, it only involved the future of our state!
Journalism is in a sad state in our country – when virtual criminals go unchecked and are allowed to repeat their same old lies without challenge.
One choice was easily made …
Fianna Fáil and their Green partners got the answer they should have accepted long ago, the people wanted neither their corruption nor their anti-people budgets nor the sell-off of our sovereignty. People have voted them out of power and almost out of existence in the hope that some stability will bring a change in the fortunes of our nation and that improvement in our condition will result. At the same time significant support was given to some independents and emerging parties, showing that the people are looking for different solutions – this is good.
The new government will be more of the same!
We have a new Dáil Éireann now, but it is not controlled by the people, the parties have once again taken power from the people and will continue the same policies of the last government. There are no plans to reverse the worst cuts made by the old government and there is a promise of even more cuts to come.
All last week the Fine Gael and Labour Party were “in negotiations”, discussing whether there will be 30,000 lay-offs in the public service or whether it will be just 18,000 – is this what they meant by “Getting Ireland back to work”?
Meanwhile the mortgage crisis deepens and increased interest rates are promised; meanwhile Bank of Ireland reveals their €60 million bonus payments to senior managers that they had previously lied about to government; meanwhile in a last minute act outgoing Minister Pat Carey signed-off on the Corrib Gas pipeline for Shell. Oh sad sad the manoeuvrings and deeds of these parties!
What shines clear from the current situation is the continued exclusion of the people from the decision making in our own state. This, therefore, tells us what we must do as a people – we must empower ourselves, we must work to dethrone the political parties and the vested interests they serve! The work of building The Peoples Convention must continue, we must create new ways of reaching people, of spreading and developing the ideas, we must build the networking between people so that we can all learn on this journey into the future!