Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I will not be voting for Direct Democracy Ireland.


In a recent radio interview Ben Gilroy of Direct Democracy Ireland claimed the new party has over 40,000 members and 11 offices country wide. I never heard of the group before so I visited their [web page].

These are their main policies :-

DDI intends, if elected, to do the following:-
1 Call a referendum on a constitutional amendment to Bunreacht na hEireann to re-introduce provisions for direct democracy.
2 Launch a full independent, international legal review of the bailout, which we hold to be an odious debt and illegal under international law.
3 Suspend all payments relating to the bailout, capital and interest, pending the results of the legal review.
4 Halt the sale of state assets.   Any contracts signed or sales completed in relation to state assets since the bailout will be treated as part of the original odious debt and fully investigated.
5 Launch a legal review of the transfer of €1 billion of assets from AIB balance sheets to the private pension fund of AIB staff.
6 Launch a legal review of the use of state assets where irregularities or corruption are suspected.
7 Halt all repossessions and evictions in Ireland pending personal debt renegotiations between lending institutions and citizens.
8 Support and assist in the development of a collaborative consultation process in communities nationwide to examine and discuss issues facing communities, regions and the state.  Work with groups engaged in this process to create a nationwide mechanism of proposal generation via which the wishes of the people of Ireland will be determined and communicated directly to government to be implemented via direct democracy.
9 Review all sectors of local and national government via the national consultative process and Implement any and all necessary reform determined by the review process.
10 Review all sectors of the economy, local and national, via the national consultative process and implement any and all necessary reforms determined by the review process.

In summary: make unpopular yet necessary reforms impossible to achieve through the threat of recalling elected TDs; massive transfers of taxpayer money to auditors and lawyers through the creation of tribunals and 'legal reviews'; create more uncertainty and destroy international good-will
by launching an "independent, international legal review of the bailout" (whatever that is) at a time when we are starting to stabilize; halt all repossessions and evictions because people who agreed to pay the massive overpriced 100% mortgage's for trophy houses cannot be blamed for their decision.

More worrying is their solution to Ireland's current problems. Something must change we are told. Unfortunately it seems the problem is our current Government not "taking the necessary steps" so the solution must be to change the government :

Rather there is the guaranteed acceleration of the recession and the levels of unemployment, emigration, business closures, mortgage defaults, repossessions, evictions, depression and suicides. Ireland is heading for complete economic and societal collapse unless something changes. This eventuality must be avoided. Those in government must take the necessary steps to reverse the conditions crippling the country. Are they doing this? No. Do the people want them to? Yes. So the most pressing issue, the most important one at the top of the priority list which must be dealt with first is the situation which allows the government to ignore the wishes of the people.
This can be dealt with by re-introducing direct democracy provisions which make the government accountable to the people and allow the people to instruct the government on what to do.
With an accountable government in place the second priority becomes the economy and the debt.

Direct democracy is presented as a panacea for all that ills the land for reasons which are never explained.  What are these "necessary steps" the government are refusing to take because they are not accountable to the people? The web site does not say.  How can direct democracy halt emigration, suicide, depression or business closures?  A clue can be gleamed elsewhere from the website :-

We believe that politically empowering and engaging people will improve the psychological, physical, spiritual and emotional health of the nation, which as a consequence 'will'  improve the economic health of our nation. 
Reducing a 'people' to an economy and putting money before the emotional, psychological,  spiritual and physical health of a nation robs us of our soul, our dignity, and our capacity to live a creative productive and happy life. 
A miserable and unhealthy people are not a creative productive people. [link]

A pseudo religious creed if I ever heard one.  Politically empowering people will not ensure spiritual health is put before money because there will always be limited funds and there will always be disagreements over how those funds should be spent. Nor will politically empowering people through direct democracy improve their emotional health; quite the opposite I suspect.

We are simultaneously told that improving emotional health through political empowerment will improve economic health, but reducing people to an economy will harm economic health.  The problem is not that people are miserable and unhappy; the problem is they are not creative and productive.  This is the same nonsense HR departments around the world believe: a happy resource is a productive resource.  We can only hope for people to become so distracted by the inevitable infighting that they fail to notice the entire goal is to improve the national economy.  Once they realize they are being reduced to an economy, then the game is up - they become spiritually unhappy and therefore unproductive.

And it gets better.  Our school system should be revitalized so students can "tap into their God given creative energy". Representative democracy is an "outdated patriarchal system, is competitive, macho  based on secrecy, power and control" while direct democracy is "matriarchal in nature based on openness, cooperation and communication and a sense of empowerment".  My spiritual health, let alone my blood pressure, was not improved by reading this web site.

But how will this all this work?  It  seems we will need a quango for a national "collaborative consultation process" to discover what people truly want.  This process is "solutions focussed" (their spelling), assisted by facilitators using "a range of dynamic facilitation techniques including ‘Appreciative Enquiry’ and ‘Open Space’" (again, their spelling) :-

Appreciative Inquiry utilises a cycle of 4 processes, which focuses on what it calls:
DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.
Once again we are in the realms of wishful thinking where people have a magical right to get everything they desire.  But with dynamic facilitation techniques and a solutions focused appreciative inquiry approach that includes DREAMING and DESTINY, how can they not succeed?

I have sat through too many of these pathetic and faddish and gibberish management consulting meetings at my office to have any faith in this process.  The first few meetings will be well attended. Notes will be taken; items auctioned and converted into deliverables and tea will be drank, but nothing will happen. The attendances will then drop to the current level of local council meetings: one reporter for the local newspaper and a pensioner angry about the faulty street light outside his house.

It's a cross over comedy about modern Jacobins written The Office script writers. Thanks but no thanks.

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