Reflecting on the recent elections here in Ireland and the resulting fragmented results. I have been thinking about the way we in Irish society now define politics and the common characteristics that we give politicans. In the main when we think of politics and ‘politicians’ we equate it and them with croynism, dishonesty and self serving behaviour. Such views about politics and politicians are not new and it may be fair to say that each generation has held simiiar feelings in the main although historically, political and social issues may vary throughout different periods and times. The truth of course is that not ALL politicans are corrupt or ‘self serving’ nor would it be fair to tar them all with the same brush. However, again and again we hear people when talking about ‘politicans’ say ‘they are all the same’.
The deep divide and disconnect between politics, government, it’s close associates and the majority of citizens, is never more apparent than when there are elections, and in particular a general election. This is reflected in the amount of peope who do not exercise their right to vote, but choose to stay away from the polling stations. This suggests that the development of the perceived and real divide and disconnect between citiizens and those who operate as politicans within political establishments, both within parties and none, is something that is a major issue in Irish society.
I consider that it is the middle ground and a ‘different perspective’ that is required to be reached between the conflicting views, agendas and experiences of elected representatives, both from within parties and Independent politicans, who may seek to form the next Irish governement. This continues to fuel the debate as to the urgent reform that is needed in the Dail and the Houses of the Oireachtas, in how the daily business is carried out. In my view at the outset, it desperately needs change to ensure that each elected representative has due time and opportunity to voice their views, ask their questions and so be able to adequately represent their constituents equitably and fairly, independently of having to belong to a party or group.
There are countless arguments that sustain the view that a root and branch reform of the Irish political system is urgently needed. The differences and reasons are apparent between those who want such change to occur and those who wish to maintain the status quo. Whether such conflicting views can find common ground, in real terms, or through some amalgamation of differing viewpoints into a new reformed system, remains the major quest ahead over the coming weeks. Parlimentary reform has been debated for decades, but no final conclusions have ever been drawn. All the while the social effects of social policies enacted by elitist dominant political parties seeped in civil war politics on all sides of the House, continues to widen the disconnect between the everyday life experiences of ordinary citizens and those who govern. Through such a disconnect the real issues of poverty, homelessness, long-term unemployment, a two tier health service, underfunded community and education services continue to be a reality for hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens.
We require a conscious approach to how we do politics in Ireland. We need an end to parish pump politics, politcal dynasties and the voting by heritage. Instead we need conscious insight, understanding, committment and leadership. We both as citizens and politicans, need to nurture and create a new conscious society. One basis, for this change is the legacy being handed on to the next generations who deserve not to be asked to carry the heavy burden of corrupt and unconscious decisions. We owe it to them to ensure that the country we leave them is one where equality of opportunity is real opportunity for all. Where social inclusion is not just an aspiration and where social justice means that every man, woman and child is at last truly and actively treated equally. A society built on the Conscious firm foundation of a just, equal and true democracy.
Bernadette Phillips is Founder of NEW INSIGHTS FOR CHANGE and an Intuitive Coach, Social Scientist, Motivational Speaker, Conscious Educator, Social Entrepreneur, Poet and Writer, with over thirty years experience working with and in, Community, Business, Leadership and Education.