‘Mad as hell’ journalist stokes huge petition drive
Fintan O'Toole's ‘Enough is Enough’ catches on
“The problem is our democracy has imploded and only citizens can rebuild that democracy themselves."
He added that his new book and the ten points that have been taken from it to form this petition are his way of taking action. "I’m just desperately trying to articulate some sense of what a way forward might be, but none of it is worth a barrel of spit if it’s not a part of a process of people getting engaged themselves.”
O'Toole's point number 2 suggests putting the parish pump back into the parish, meaning that more power should be invested in local government.
"One of the fundamental problems with our system is that we have very little real power at local level. What happens is everything gets pushed up the system so you get parish pump politics at national level and a whole attitude to national politics that has proved to be disastrous."
He stated that “there’s no point in having a new system of local government if it’s just a reproduction at a minor level of the decrepitude of national government. So this needs to be the place where you have to do your basic experiments in new ways of doing democracy."
“I think the key here is local government without local funding is meaningless, because then it will just be top-down stuff again. You have to re-establish a link between people’s taxation and the decisions that are being made at local level."
“In Ireland, at local level we’re very good at people getting involved and feeling part of the community. The key thing is to try and translate that into a way of doing politics. If you could get half the amount of energy around local politics as you have around local football teams we’d have a fantastic local democracy.”
However, O'Toole admits that the political structures that are holding us back are also a product of our own society.
“We invented machine politics,” O’Toole stated. “The first place in the world where you had mass democracy was Ireland. Daniel O’Connell invented mass democracy machine politics where you had every parish in Ireland organized.
“You had literally millions of people actively engaged in a political organization. There was no parallel for that anywhere else for at least another 50 years. Even people who were poor, relatively uneducated, in some cases barely literate, were able to ‘do’ politics, their system worked.
“But the problem is we’re stuck with machine politics; it’s in our social DNA. We know how to do it, we’re used to it; Fianna Fáil is arguably the most successful political machine in Western Europe in the 20th century. Once it took power it very seldom lost it. And we’ve endorsed that and given our blessing to it.
“So you have this machine that has stayed in place. It actually started out with a purpose but now it exists for no purpose other than power and we do have to decide whether we still feel that represents us politically.
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Thank you for reminding me that I have an Irish operation coming up soon: Colin O'Scopy. BYikes! Begorrah! Top o th' Marnin to ye.Pope Francis calls capitalism “new tyranny” calls on leaders to fight poverty
The world has a long way to go to create a situation where all people are protected and have the basic needs. Capitalism is not flawed when balancedIrish university suspends Legion of Mary for anti-gay literature
No Rod -- they do not have the right to promote their opinions when those denigrate the basic rights of peeople. It is called discrimination and itIrish university suspends Legion of Mary for anti-gay literature
I am impressed by the comments below. Yes, I believe in free speech. I believe people shouldn't only be what their orientation is; they should be part