Real Democracy: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Cunning Hired Knaves

This is an extended version of a comment I left on the Irish Times website in response to an article by Fintan O’Toole, which is titled What’s the Big Idea? It’s time for the State to consider a real democracy.


It’s timely that Fintan O’Toole should be writing about the idea of real democracy on exactly the same day that Fine Gael Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan conjures up the image of a “vast majority” of anti-water charges protesters “led by forces who have no regard for democracy”.

What Flanagan’s perspective illustrates is the prevailing attitude towards democracy on the part of Ireland’s political elites. The mass public opposition to water charges does not emerge from a sense of injustice or from a sense of anger at being made to pay once again for the corruption and greed of Ireland’s political and economic elites. No: it is because protesters and…

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