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 FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?

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PostSubject: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:52 pm

RTE has just reported that the Dail has been suspended twice this morning over clashes about downgrading of the Dail. On a number of occasions recently new legislation has been announced to press conferences rather than to the Dail. Bertie Aherne announced his resignation on the steps of the Dail rather than to the house.

It is just me, or does this make you feel distinctly uneasy. Replacing the democratic debating chamber of our elected representatives with PR schmooze is more that unhealthy, it is a diminution of democracy. Maybe because the EU situation has made me feel the value of democracy and the necessity to constantly reassert and defend it, I think that this is a disgrace, and that FF should apologise and in future give the Dail its proper role.

Thursday, 19
June 2008 12:38

The Dáil was suspended twice this morning amid continuing uproar over the
absence of the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern.
Fine Gael accused the Justice Minister of 'insulting the Dáil' by holding a
news conference to announce new legislation rather than doing so in the
House.
Charlie Flanagan claimed the only reason Minister Ahern was announcing
legislation on victims' rights was because Fine Gael was using its private
members time next week to debate the issue.Advertisement


He said the Bill announced today was not on the Government's list of proposed
legislation, nor was it in the Programme for Government.

Fine Gael Chief Whip Paul Kehoe then said he had not been informed that the
Minister would not be there, and demanded to know where he was.
After Alan Shatter of Fine Gael accused the Minister of pretending he was
meeting the needs of victims and of a cynical attempt to manipulate journalists,
the Dáil was suspended for a second time.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:58 pm

The Dail is a place for debating legislation. I don't see that it matters where it is announced as long as the provisions are debated in full in the chamber prior to any vote.

FG are annoyed because they have been announcing initiatives in areas where they know work is being done by the Government and reports are being carried out. I am guessing that the Government have outfoxed them this time and FG are sore after all the work they did trying to udercut the Government.

It's a big boys game. If people want to whine sure let them.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:26 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
The Dail is a place for debating legislation. I don't see that it matters where it is announced as long as the provisions are debated in full in the chamber prior to any vote.

FG are annoyed because they have been announcing initiatives in areas where they know work is being done by the Government and reports are being carried out. I am guessing that the Government have outfoxed them this time and FG are sore after all the work they did trying to udercut the Government.

It's a big boys game. If people want to whine sure let them.

On this occasion, the voluntary bodies who had worked for this legislation were also not informed that it was going to be announced. This is not a type of game playing that sits easy with me.

I am not carrying a FG brief here, I feel it is disrespectful to the Dail and to democratic process.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jun 19, 2008 3:37 pm

Is there any protocol which states that all legislation should be announced in the Dail? Considering how many review groups and interest groups have input before a Bill gets to the Dail does it not make sense to make a public announcement first?
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:50 am

I know I'm on my own here, but they're at it again. The "Building Ireland Smart Economy" National Plan was not presented to the Dail but "launched" at Dublin Castle.

Mad
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:51 am

It is a serious matter and it is one which has afflicted all parliamentary democracies over the last 10 years. Ahern and Blair were heavily into it.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:45 pm

A lot of anger about this in the Dail today - the Opposition saying that Government has been shut away for weeks in "Focus Groups" with the Partnership leaders, but still wont bring the Framework Document to the Dail for discussion (or any other policy).

The Guarantee and the Nationalisation of Anglo Irish were bumped through the Dail at such speed that there are questions over the legality of the Seanad procedures on AIB.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:39 pm

I was so incensed I wrote a limerick about it!

What is happening is less democratic than the Dail debating it. However, it is more effective and more likely to work than having a pow-wow in public prior to agreement. That is the whole idea of the social partnership model.

Personally, I think that the opposition should be represented in such talks if they so wish.

It was pointed out to me that most employees are not represented in these talks. That is a very valid point. There are hundreds of thousands of non-union workers who are taking a lot of pain at the moment and who are sick of the cribbing of other workers who have taken no pain yet but are insisting on the burden being shared Shocked . I hope the Government are sticking up for these unrepresented tax payers.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:51 pm

Nice one too, Zhou, you were on a roll...

"Building Ireland's Smart Economy" was launched like a damp squib on December 18th at Dublin Castle without the opportunity for the Opposition Parties to ask questions.

More than a month later, with things having moved on still further, Brian Cowen told the Dail today that they could talk about BISE (which was a flimsy joke) but couldn't debate the current discussion Framework (this is with the Social Partners), and that Government wouldn't answer questions on either.

Dempsey walked out waving and laughing at the opposition TD who was replying to his "Statement". I think it is a little rash and unwise to appear so contemptuous of accountability.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:35 am

cactus flower wrote:
Nice one too, Zhou, you were on a roll...

"Building Ireland's Smart Economy" was launched like a damp squib on December 18th at Dublin Castle without the opportunity for the Opposition Parties to ask questions.

More than a month later, with things having moved on still further, Brian Cowen told the Dail today that they could talk about BISE (which was a flimsy joke) but couldn't debate the current discussion Framework (this is with the Social Partners), and that Government wouldn't answer questions on either.

Dempsey walked out waving and laughing at the opposition TD who was replying to his "Statement". I think it is a little rash and unwise to appear so contemptuous of accountability.
Honestly CF, what did you expect the government to do today?, they are in the middle of negotiations, they were never going to go public with their proposals until agreement is reached or is not going to happen. The opposition know this, that's the only reason they asked for the details, because they knew they weren’t going to get them and if the tables were turned they know they wouldn’t give the details either, but they did hope that people like yourself would think it shocking altogether that the Government wouldn’t spill the beans yet. From your post it would appear they were right, they’re pulling your strings and you’re humming their tune.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Thu Jan 29, 2009 1:59 pm

Nobody expects the minutiae of Trade Union negotiations to be brought to the Dail. This is not at issue. This thread is about the sidelining of the Dail as the centre of government, and debate between our elected government. There has been no opportunity for real debate on Government's strategy, in part because there is not strategy, and partly because the ad hoc measures that they have come up with have not been made available for debate and scrutiny in the Dail.

This shows that the Dail is becoming an irrelevancy. It is quite likely that workers will decide that Partnership is an irrelevancy too.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:25 pm

I'm actually content with the development as it confirms my own belief that our democracy (as well as that of our partners in Europe) is really just a sham.
That the Dail would be sidelined by the 1990s is not suprising and could have been foreseen back in 1937 when we voted for Dev's constitution.

I think its time people woke up to the fact that the law, democracy and popular sovereignty are at times subserviant to the will of those in positions of power and privilege.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:22 pm

I disagree fundamentally with you there Respvblica.

Law, demcracy and popular sovereignty have largely become subserviant to economic necessity and advances in technology, methods and efficiencies. It is an international game of beggar-thy-neighbour. Once one nation adopts a more competitive or more efficient system then other nations must emulate or out do them to protect their wealth.

This phenomenon has long been forecasted and observed. The idea that "those in positions of power and privilege" are pulling the strings is misguided. Those pulling the strings are those with specialist knowledge and skills who bow to and serve the technical system.

Social Partnership is an example of an efficient and effective technical methodology being adopted. The NESC experts produce a result and the social partners debate and adopt it. Their involvement means the adopted plan can actually be implemented and tweaked if necessary. Their involvement also lends the plan credibility for the future which inspires international confidence in our economy.

And another thing, the public demand it. The public cry out for our politicians to make our country more wealthy, more effective, more efficient, more competitive, more innovative, more technologically savvy, more business friendly tax-wise, more regulated financially and more efficient in the administration of the law. The public decry the man who pits his dreamers ideology against technical progress because they know that man will be washed aside by economic realities. He who goes against the advisers, the experts and the more qualified than himself is branded a sham. Fine Gael's original plans of unilaterally attacking partnership agreements would have caused industrial unrest and consequently would have been derided for the bungle it would have been. Or more accurately, FG would never have followed through.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:10 pm

Economic realities are washing all of that away. The Partnership was founded on the lie that we would share the pain and share the gain. It turns out that a tiny percentage of the country have rooked the rest of us and bankrupted the country in the process. 5% of the population now own 50% of the wealth. Solution? pour billions in the Anglo Irish slush fund and cut school books grants for impoverished children.
Whose "economic necessities" are we talking about exactly?
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:32 pm

This isn't a peculiarly Irish phenomenon. The reality is that the social partners together witht he dept of finance and the national economic and social council (or whatever they are called) are accepted as the people best placed to address the problem. I don't accept that social partnership was a lie. It has proven effective. We have shared the gain. Read the Pope's Children and the creation of the massive middle class.

Just because we all like whining about "elites" and "cosy cartels" and "golden circles" doesn't mean that private individuals are responsible for everything form the weather to the corns on our feet. The downgrading of the Dail and the emasculation of democracy is as a result of technical progress.

Corruption/non-confirmity with regulations, which can subvert democracy, are amongst the few forces that block technical progress as they allow irrational and inefficient decisions to be made. That is why they are considered such heinous crimes in the most technically advanced states. That is why such crimes stir people up so much - the people want the technical systems to work. Similarly, the people are happy to see the Dail emasculated if that helps in forming effective economic policy.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:34 pm

BTE - I don't think this logic applies to all areas. The Dail and specialist Dail Committees can improve efficiency with oversight in other areas.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:44 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
This isn't a peculiarly Irish phenomenon. The reality is that the social partners together witht he dept of finance and the national economic and social council (or whatever they are called) are accepted as the people best placed to address the problem. I don't accept that social partnership was a lie. It has proven effective. We have shared the gain. Read the Pope's Children and the creation of the massive middle class.

Just because we all like whining about "elites" and "cosy cartels" and "golden circles" doesn't mean that private individuals are responsible for everything form the weather to the corns on our feet. The downgrading of the Dail and the emasculation of democracy is as a result of technical progress.

Corruption/non-confirmity with regulations, which can subvert democracy, are amongst the few forces that block technical progress as they allow irrational and inefficient decisions to be made. That is why they are considered such heinous crimes in the most technically advanced states. That is why such crimes stir people up so much - the people want the technical systems to work. Similarly, the people are happy to see the Dail emasculated if that helps in forming effective economic policy.

Please explain this. I don't understand what you mean. I also don't accept your "efficiency" premise. In the last ten years "Partnership" has overseen disastrous erosion of competitivity, and still left a substantial minority of the population in poverty.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 2:59 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
.... Once one nation adopts a more competitive or more efficient system then other nations must emulate or out do them to protect their wealth.
....
The public cry out for our politicians to make our country more wealthy, more effective, more efficient, more competitive, more innovative, more technologically savvy, more business friendly tax-wise, more regulated financially and more efficient in the administration of the law. The public decry the man who pits his dreamers ideology against technical progress because they know that man will be washed aside by economic realities. He who goes against the advisers, the experts and the more qualified than himself is branded a sham....

This is what I mean about how technical advancement emasculates democracy. People demand the most effective methods not the most ideologically sound methods. You may disagree but I think this thread proves that it is happening. The communists have had to revert to he market to a degree for the same reasons. People wanted food and productive systems, not ideology.

The reason the economic measures are not being debated in the Dail is not to protect Sean Quinn but rather because the Social Partners are carrygin on the real debate. Also, you may say social partnership is a sham that has done us no good. I disagree, but that is a whole different thread of itself and isn't one that stirs my blood.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:32 pm

You're making a good case for an efficient dictatorship there Zhou. The trains would after all run on time.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:42 pm

I'm not making a case for it. I am not a cheerleader for this process. I am just gving my explanation of what is actually happening. The process cannot be rationally investigated or halted or altered or accepted until people face up to what is happening. Blaming the powerful few is a kindergarten book compared to the horrible truth of just how powerful and unstoppable this emasculation of democracy is. Perhaps it is easier to designate bad guys and to think we can cure everything by beating them up. That is the way people talk in pubs. But then they go and vote for their pockets.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 3:58 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
People demand the most effective methods not the most ideologically sound methods. You may disagree but I think this thread proves that it is happening.
That's well expressed and I think you're right up to a point. I'm not 100% following the thread but I'll guess it could be partially encapsulated by the image of the replacement of pencil and ballot box with evotingmachines and buttons and instant results. An important topic. Privately I think that technology has raced ahead too much and many people either need time to catch up or technology needs to become more cultural (it will get sold better then)

In the abstract, the notion of the internet for me encapsulates this one fact: information feedback usually makes systems work better. But it's questionable as to how we're leveraging the availability of information.

I don't know where and how this should fit into our culture but I imagine it is a squarish peg at present though all races and cultures more or less adopted the telephone and TV without much adverse effecfts.

Information will out, controlled or not and I'd guess education mediates it well if not humour and Art.


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:00 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I'm not making a case for it. I am not a cheerleader for this process. I am just gving my explanation of what is actually happening. The process cannot be rationally investigated or halted or altered or accepted until people face up to what is happening. Blaming the powerful few is a kindergarten book compared to the horrible truth of just how powerful and unstoppable this emasculation of democracy is. Perhaps it is easier to designate bad guys and to think we can cure everything by beating them up. That is the way people talk in pubs. But then they go and vote for their pockets.

I agree that the problems we are having are not down to personalities, and that our current system has become profoundly dysfunctional, but not with your diagnosis of why its happening.
Will come back to it later.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Dysfunctional is your word. I would say functional at the expense of all else.
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PostSubject: Re: FF Downgrading the Dail - A Serious Matter ?   Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:04 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
I disagree fundamentally with you there Respvblica.

Law, demcracy and popular sovereignty have largely become subserviant to economic necessity and advances in technology, methods and efficiencies. It is an international game of beggar-thy-neighbour. Once one nation adopts a more competitive or more efficient system then other nations must emulate or out do them to protect their wealth.

This phenomenon has long been forecasted and observed. The idea that "those in positions of power and privilege" are pulling the strings is misguided. Those pulling the strings are those with specialist knowledge and skills who bow to and serve the technical system.

Social Partnership is an example of an efficient and effective technical methodology being adopted. The NESC experts produce a result and the social partners debate and adopt it. Their involvement means the adopted plan can actually be implemented and tweaked if necessary. Their involvement also lends the plan credibility for the future which inspires international confidence in our economy.

And another thing, the public demand it. The public cry out for our politicians to make our country more wealthy, more effective, more efficient, more competitive, more innovative, more technologically savvy, more business friendly tax-wise, more regulated financially and more efficient in the administration of the law. The public decry the man who pits his dreamers ideology against technical progress because they know that man will be washed aside by economic realities. He who goes against the advisers, the experts and the more qualified than himself is branded a sham. Fine Gael's original plans of unilaterally attacking partnership agreements would have caused industrial unrest and consequently would have been derided for the bungle it would have been. Or more accurately, FG would never have followed through.

My poor articulation again(no time) Zhou - what your saying seems to ring true to me.
When I mean those in power in privlege, of course I am referring to individuals and groups who have happened to be thrust into those positions by the system. I always thought that Bertie Ahern, to use an example, was perfectly "evolved" for "our" particular political system. I can blame him for ruining the future of our country(a personal viewpoint and very subjective), but I cannot disagree that he more than anyone else encapsulated what the Irish people wanted at the time. And the system works thus.
My interest, as a republican in the strict sense, is whether our system serves the people as efficiently as equally as possible. If not, why procratinate in changing?
And then its not just the nations who play, "begger thy neighbor", its the individual citizens as well! The goal of the republic is to ensure that individual freedom (including the freedom to compete) can coexist with social harmony, and the only real way that can be achieved is by making people respect the forms which have been laid down - law,democracy, equality before the law.
Social partnership may be the ends justifying the means but if it undermines the core concepts of our "common-wealth"/republic, then in the long term it can only be detrimental to our state.

My view would be to let private business take care of innovation, to let private persons take care of their own lives, and to let the government concentrate more on guarding the forms of the republic - ensuring that the people are treated equally and fairly. Politicians would be disassociated from economics as far as possible. Ideally we would make our decisions via direct dmeocracy and dispense with politcians entirely, but now I'm going too far for you I fear. Still thats a vista that at least should be on our horizon. We need to re-evlaute what the role of the state and the populous should be.
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