Put 99 of us in a room and together we will tackle the most difficult social and political problems of our time. If only it were that simple.
Mr. Government has been criticized for refusing to commit to the Citizens’ Council on drugs and drug use until at least 2023. But amid all the outrage it is being delayed further. , this is your friendly reminder that we don’t really need a Citizens Council.
Citizens’ Councils are not some magic bullet that will solve any problem we face. Besides, we’ve got a government that can do the management for them.
Citizens’ Councils, where ordinary people are entrusted to carefully consider the evidence on an issue and make policy recommendations, just continued to come in the past few years.
Since the “success” of our Citizens’ Council on abortion, we’ve decided that if you put about 99 people in a room and lock the door for a few days, they’ll show up with all all the answers to even the most intractable problems. .
They seem to have all the answers with Repeat. A randomly selected group of citizens has been locked down with a bunch of mostly liberal and emerging experts advising that we should hold an Eighth Amendment referendum.
Cheering. How we’ve progressed, we say, when we’ve given ourselves a collective pat on the back.
I can clearly see why our TD likes these types of assemblies. If you want to delay policy decisions, create a Citizens Council to make it look like you’re doing something when you’re not.
And if you have to do something that won’t please your constituency, then shift the responsibility to that constituency.
They have no future elections to win and don’t need to pretend they know the answers to tough questions. Combine them, put them in a four-star hotel and let them talk until the cows come home. Easy as pie.
Our Citizens Council model has been praised and emulated around the world. David Van Reybrouck, a Belgian intellectual, called us “the most innovative democracy in Europe”. “This is a country that trusts its citizens, instead of fearing them,” he said.
Reality is a bit more complicated. The Citizens Union Pill is not a simple panacea. They are a limited democratic tool that can be used for good or evil. And even if people do remind us to repeal Article Eight, it’s likely that the recommendations they make afterward will just sit on a desk somewhere collecting dust as the government comes up with ways to to push the can down the road.
The notion that we’re only holding an abortion referendum because the Citizens’ Assembly is also trash – it was in the Fine Gael manifesto in 2016 and the public desperately wants change.
The continued coverage of the media helped expand the Citizens’ Assembly proceedings into a national debate. But nonetheless, the referendum to repeal the Eighth is still going on, regardless of the outcome of the Assembly.
You see, when a Parliament makes recommendations that the Government does not want to implement, it is ignored. When they think of something they want to do, they do it right away.
Our Councils considered a portfolio of issues, including voting reform and climate change. Most of those suggestions don’t go too far.
The Citizens Council on Gender Equality recently made 45 priority recommendations related to issues such as wage equality, child care and upbringing. Don’t hold your breath as any of these are being worked on.
Then there are questions like Is the Citizens Council fair? Are they really representative? The “random” selection of the original Constitutional Convention on same-sex marriage was administered to select a wife, husband, and two next-door neighbours. It’s a shame.
Beyond these, can ordinary voters grasp the complexities and process that can be done objectively? How many of us watch the proceedings? And how many of us have time to devote to joining a Council?
The huge time commitment involves filtering out those of us who work sporadically or have caregiving duties at home. So are these associations really representative of the general public? Sure is not. And if the authorities ultimately decide whether to follow through on their recommendations, are they wasting their time?
Direct democracy raises more questions than it answers. Sure, you may want a Council set up to review our drug policy and how it can be improved. But is this really how a government should conduct its business?
I do not think so. Management is a messy business, full of mistakes, sometimes difficult and always available. Our politicians need to accept this.
Why doesn’t the government come up? and does its job when it comes to the pain and raging drug addiction problem?
We’ll save taxpayers money and maybe move it toward solving the problem instead. And there’s no time like the present to make that happen.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/government-must-show-leadership-and-stop-hiding-behind-citizens-assemblies-41392231.html Government must show leadership and stop hiding behind Citizens Gathering Conferences