Ifedinma, Tony, Ake and myself were out canvassing again last Saturday – this time in Donabate. With about 3000 doors knocked we still have a long way to go, but it is really heartening to hear so many people agreeing with my views on digital democracy. The cynics are wrong – people do want to have a voice and are a lot more informed politically than the main parties give them credit for.
A core part of my platform is introducing direct digital democracy (see here and here. For this reason, I can only give information on what I will do in the event that we do not hold a poll on the issue in Fingal and my wishes are not countermanded by my constituents. Everything is always subject to that caveat.
Although the State is technically responsible for education, in that there is a Ministry that nominally oversees it and the State provides a large chunk of educational funding, the entire Irish school system lacks central coordination. That means that schools set their own admissions policies, and in doing so they are explicitly allowed to make certain discriminations, eg. in favour of children confirmed in a certain religion or in favour of children of past pupils, etc.
Once again, because I am committed to digital democracy I cannot make pre-election commitments that may conflict with implementing participatory voting (even if they are unlikely to). Nonetheless, while I cannot put my signature to anything, I make an effort to lay out my personal views on each issue, so that voters are aware of how I intend to set my priorities in the event that they do not directly choose to vote on the issue themselves.
I recently received an e-mail from Arthritis Ireland asking me to become an ‘Arthritis Champion’ and commit to appointing 6 consultant rheumatologists, 29 clinical nurse specialists, 12 advanced nurse practitioners, 21 physiotherapists and 32 occupational therapists within 100 days of assuming office.
As always, I’ll preface these remarks by noting that with digital, participatory democracy, my constituents will always have a binding say in my voting behavior. This means that I cannot commit to policy pledges, as everything I do is ultimately subject to my constituents’ approval. However, I will go through these various pledges on my blog and outline where I stand on them and how I intend to vote in the event that we do not run a participatory process on these points in Fingal.
As a candidate in the next Irish general election, I am often asked to sign up to pledges, binding me to support certain laws as a TD. However, as I will allow my constituents to have a binding say in my votes in the Dail and potentially to over-ride my positions, I cannot commit to pledges that may conflict with my obligation to implement digital, participatory democracy. This stands regardless of how much I may personally agree with the policy in question.
I unequivocally condemn the charges being laid against the Jobstown protesters in regards to the ‘false imprisonment’ of Joan Burton during a protest against water charges last year. Investigating and prosecuting crime is, of course, important, but it cannot be used as an excuse to harass people over non-events and prevent them from making their views known to their alleged ‘representatives’.
Yes, we all know the infamous Irish road and the profound effects that the fixing thereof can have on one’s political career. Indeed, road-fixing has become symbolic of nepotistic parish pump politics. If a politician looking for a vote knocks on your door, congratulations, it’s your lucky day. Depending on how desperate they are, your road might just get fixed. In fact, as we approach election time, I seem to discern a significant increase in road repairs in our area.