Elections, Constituencies, and the Status Quo

While talking to my friend Lisa last night, we discussed our constituencies in upcoming General Election. Lisa felt the people on offer in her area did not represent her views. My constituency has too few running, most of which, do not represent my views. It angered me, and that’s why we need change.

For real change to happen, the system needs to change. Turkey’s won’t vote for Christmas. What would I do? Abolish geographical constituencies, they are so, Victorian at best, so  19th Century. I say replace them with panel constituencies. How would it work? every Irish citizen born here gets a PPSN. Link that to the electoral register. We lower voting age to 16. Everyone who is by law able to vote for the Dáil (i.e. not non Irish PPSN holders) is automatically linked to the electoral register based on Social Protection or Revenue databases. Just cos you are auto registered, means you don’t have to vote

Next create panel 8-10 seat constituencies – align them roughly to ministries. for example this could be, though not limited to:

  • Education Constituency
  • Agricultural Constituency
  • Environment Constituency
  • Health and Caring Constituency
  • Child Welfare Constituency
  • Rural Ireland Development Constituency
  • Self-Employed and SME constituency
  • Unemployed and Disability (cant think of a better word – those who can work as opposed to those who cant find work) constituency
  • Transport and Infrastructure Constituency
  • Hospitality and Tourism Constituency
  • Business, Innovation, and Enterprise Constituency
  • Minorities in Society Constituency
  • Justice and Defence Constituency

…and three additional constituencies – technically based on geography:

  • Offshore Islands constituency (say 3-5 seats)
  • Diaspora Constituency (8 seats)
  • Northern Ireland Constituency (6-10 seats)

The reason for this is the islands are an important part, and under represented in their own constituencies. Let’s make them all one. Diaspora – many citizens have to move abroad. How would you control how they vote, put them in one constituency, they vote at their local embassy, or by postal vote to that embassy. Northern Ireland, imho should have some voice in the Dail. They can claim citizenship, and if the Dáil has a say in what happens there, should they not have representation here? It may be contentious, but it would lead to cross border cooperation, and an all ireland economy, which can be argued is a very positive aspiration.

One question you may ask, is how do you decide who votes for what constituency? Again, tie it to revenue/Social welfare. What sector one works in? you are auto aligned to that, if you are too young to work, theres a constituency for that, in education, or an SME worker, you have people representing you! You could, then change constituency if you wished to one which you are more passionate about, or one that represents your core values, in the way we do now if we move house. Then each centre would have a ballot box for each constituency, and you’d vote accordingly.

Not only would take pressure off people having to travel home to vote, remove duplicate entries on the register (tied to PPSN – so when you die, you are taken off automatically). Each centre would have an electronic register, where you enter your PPSN (while showing ID to the clerk), and you are printed off a ballot, and then registers you as voted. All ballots should also include “none of the above” as an option. It would be the best way to register dissatisfaction.

This would nationalise politics based on policy, would eradicate the need for awful posters, and still allow for independent candidates, who are passionate about specific areas, create more enlightened debate, and help progress Ireland forward, without it devolving into a popularity contest, powered by awful parish pump personalities, rhetoric, and broken or unrealistic/unachievable promises.

I would love to hear what politicos think. Am I daft? do you think this could work? – (well it would work better than EirCode and Irish Water)

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