Thursday, December 09, 2010

"There is a procedure": party leadership in Ireland and Canada

The spectacle in British Columbia politics -- in which destroying the party seems to be an integral aspect of any serious intraparty debate about policy and leadership (in both political parties) -- continues to contrast sharply with the situation in Ireland, in which cabinet ministers and backbenchers speculate openly about replacing Prime Minister Brian Cowen -- and yet government goes on, everyone remains in the party, and the leader calmly says:
I am the democratically elected leader of my party. There is a procedure if anybody has views about having another leader of the party."
In Ireland as in other functioning parliamentary democracies, debates within parties are recognized as healthy and inevitable, and accommodated within the political process.  If backbenchers come to believe a leadership review is necessary, they simply put forward a motion to that effect in caucus, and it either passes or fails.  The Irish Independent reports:
Rebel TDs who were sounding colleagues out about signing a motion of no confidence -- which requires 18 TDs -- now appear to have given up and say it is up to the "officer class" of senior ministers to act.

"I have no doubt there are well over 18 people there, but whether they sign a motion is another matter," a Cowen ally said.
Instead both BC parties will spend months and millions in one of those massive vote-buying sprees Canadians call a leadership race, only to produce another crew of dictatorial egomaniacs.  There are better ways -- indeed, they exist in pretty much every other parliamentary democracy in the world.
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