At a recent Meet the Bloggers event, John Gormley spoke about a plan to reduce the influence of clientelism in Irish politics.
The Greens want a hybrid combining the single transferable vote with a list system, so that 150 or so TDs are directly elected, with the balance of seats going on a party basis to those candidates who don’t quite make it.
Since the additional TDs are still voted on the basis of a single transferable vote, Gormley believes the change would not need a referendum, though the attorney general has yet to comment.
The Greens think their reform would make TDs less likely to fret over every voter looking to get a pothole filled or a medical card sorted.
It won’t work.
First, how do we decide which of the varied independents gets the seat their 10% of first preferences merits? And how do we decide who the fastest loser is, when turnout and constituency size vary so much?
But leaving that decide, the premise doesn’t hold water. In Ireland’s hybrid list system, the fastest losers win. They would still have just as much incentive as every other political hopeful to chase the pothole and medical card vote.