Posted by: gaiusc | 31 March, 2010

Reverse Democracy – An Irish Solution to an Irish Problem?

Back in July, I looked at the curious case of Ned O’Keeffe who has come up with a new and novel approach to winning elections.

Under our current proportional representation system, we vote the people we most want in a dail seat in order of preference. We then get a situation where (in theory) 51% of voters can disenfranchise the other 49%. For instance, Ned O’Keeffe (who got 12% of the poll) stated that he will work against the interests of those impertinent voters who failed to prostrate themselves at his feet (presumably the remaining 88% of the constituents).

How about doing it in a different way that would inject some humility into our public representatives?

Instead of voting for whom we want to take a seat, we instead vote those who we absolutely do not want to represent us. Last candidates standing get in.

The Greeks were onto something with their notion of ostrakon.
Divisive polarising politicians would be out the door before you know it. It would mean that gombeens like John O’Donoghue would have to watch their step because if they alienate enough people, they lose their seat. Currently corrupt politicians rarely worry about losing their seats because they only need a relatively small number of votes to retain their seat. The Beverly Cooper-Flynn’s and Michael Lowery’s of the world retain their seats because they cultivate enough numbskulls who continue to vote for them and not worry about anybody else.

Of course, the other simpler (but much less exciting) option would be to have less TD’s.



  1. Unfortunately, numbskulls could similarly vote out sensible politicians.

    While I have no reference to back up my suspicion, I suspect you’d end up with a kind of Theory of Gombeen Equivalence.

  2. True I suppose. We’d find a way to bugger up any system through gombeenism.

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