Friday, May 25, 2007
The joys of Proportional Representation; one of the great things about the Irish electoral system is PR. I could say this is so because of the lofty principle of comprehensive democratic representation being guaranteed, with smaller parties having the chance of parliamentary participation, providing a check on political monopolies (though it must be pointed out that Ireland does not suffer from the far-right whose political successes led to the end of PR in France). But the real reason for liking PR is because it livens up the election, stretching it out for a couple of days (unlike in France and Britain where the results are known almost as soon as the polling booths close), and sometimes weeks, as in the titanic struggle between John Gormley and Michael McDowell in 1997, one of the few cheerful results in that election. To spice up an election where a right-wing-dominated government is always guaranteed is no small mercy. And then there are all those labyrinthine statistical permutations that tell their own tales, many tales in fact. Sad, I know, but politics is not interesting per se is it?