Electioneering is like a developing courtship.
Impossible promises are made — “of course I’ll sell the fishing boat, yep, the Corrib caravan too, ’shure I’ll be very happy to stay at home with you cutting the grass” — but neither party, if they have the wit of a flea, gives much credibility to most pronouncements. They are the puffed-up feathers of a courting cockatoo focussed on a primal objective.
The terribly earnest but slightly bonkers party — People Before Profit — said yesterday that, if in power, Dáil deputies would be paid the the national industrial wage. What a wonderful idea! What a gamechanger! What a way to motivate and attract the kind of talented people we need to take on a life-changing, family-isolating, free-time-ending political career. Their manifesto also suggests that ministers would not get extra pay for holding a cabinet seat. We’d have MacMinisters! What a revealing expression of utter incomprehension around the simple idea of human motivation.
One of the common themes of election discussions is how many constituencies seem to offer pretty mundane, uninspiring candidates. Disengagement from politics is a problem for all democracies. A TD earns just under €90,000 a year and, even if expenses are generous, that figure is pretty moderate when matched to the challenge it entails. This proposal, advanced with a straight face by Richard Boyd-Barrett, is preposterous and would further undermine a tottering system.
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