Monday, November 16, 2009

Beyond Diabolic Governance in Hyperbolic Ireland

An incisive article in the SBP by Prof. Ed Walsh that tackles head-on one of the biggest and most blatant problems in the country - effective governance. The current dismal economic situation is expressed as a result of mismanagement and it is made clear that without constitutional reform we're unlikely to be headed anywhere better.

The specific reform proposed is changing the electoral process to a List System:

"whereby members of parliament are elected partially from local constituencies and partially from party lists of individuals who have proven records of distinguished national and international achievement: many from business and the professions"

Such a system would increase the pool of management talent and their ability to govern by quelling incentives for the all too common and clearly retrogressive process of myopic pandering to local constituents for re-election. I fully agree that Ministers need to focus on the major national issues and plan strategically for a better future - difficult and unpalatable decisions need to be made in the next few months and years to steady the county and secure prosperity for the future. Walsh essentially makes the point that if our constitution is preventing this, we need to change it.

Some interesting points in the article:

"Our system ... deters the government from moving swiftly and taking difficult decisions.... the pool from which a Taoiseach draws when forming a government is limited indeed, because in effect it bypasses leaders of enterprise and the professions with the necessary strategic management skills and experience...”

“Our system … draws over 80 per cent of the Oireachtas from a group of some 1,000 people: the members of local authorities. While a county or city council would certainly be a source of pleasant and well-intentioned people it would be an unlikely source of the experienced talent required to strategically guide national policy and effectively manage a multibillion budget"

"The Oireachtas has not risen to the occasion by conveying a new seriousness appropriate to these dangerous times; rather it has continued the pursuit of trivia and political bloodsports in a raucous way that has not enhanced its standing."

".... the quality of national governance can not exceed the quality of those who govern."

1 comment:

Peter Carney said...

The title should read "Beyond.."

I’m gonna further upset this by claiming it as a typobolic! error.

sincere apologies.