Thirtysomethings do not relate to ruling generation writes Elaine Byrne in the Irish Times. (Tuesday, May 5, 2009)
Some 2.8 million of us, two thirds of the Irish population, are younger than 44 years of age. Our politicians, civil servants, bankers, business men and women, decision makers and media commentators are predominantly over 40. As Prof Ray Kinsella said on these pages last week: “We have screwed up – that’s the truth of it.” My generation of 20 and 30-somethings do not identify with the tired voices that have failed us and endowed us with a future choked with their mistakes: mistakes fuelled by mediocrity and downright incompetence without consequences; mistakes that are homeless, absent of acknowledgment or apology.
I may be wrong, but I think it may well have been the generation of 20 and 30-somethings which predominantly voted for the present and last governments. But the past is past. If the younger generation of voters does not in fact relate to the current politics and political practitioners, what is to be done?
Perhaps radical new policies should be discussed. In the words of Paul Sweeney (again the Irish Times, May 7) We cannot go back to cosy Irish capitalism after this recession
And now Village is talking about a new departure.
Well, this website, alternativeparty.org, has been dropping hints for years, but it’s nice to see the need has entered the zeitgeist, and people are actually saying it out loud.
I’m going to muse about a mythical radical new party and give it some policies. Alternative Party of Ireland, or API, with an url of www.alternativeparty.ie
Note: it isn’t a simple thing to form a political party for national elections. Scroll down the discussion Anyone interested in putting together a ‘political party’??? at face.boards.ie to get the details.
It could be called anything, so long as the party itself is radical in the sense that its members and voters think outside the box. Indeed, it could be a current party for all I care.
The first thing it should do is think big. Voters are tired of small parties who only stand in a few constituencies. What’s the point? Even if several TDs are elected, they will only ever be the rump of either of the conservative parties. API should have at least two candidates in every constituency, even three seaters. It’s the pre-requisite to being taken seriously.
It would have to be done on a shoestring, of course, but that’s where technology comes in, as Elaine Bynre realizes. Okay, here’s a skeleton outline, which can of course be improved on.
Purchase the domain alternativeparty.ie. Make sure you do it with my excellent host, Letshost.ie, as you can have 999 sub-domains and MySql databases for the price of one account, ie for less than €100. There are 43 constituencies, so we probably won’t require all 99!
So, for example, http://galway-west.alternativeparty.ie, http://clare.alternativeparty.ie, http://kerry-north.alternativeparty.ie etc.
We’ll use a reliable, democratic and opensource software like WordPress (which runs this site).
I don’t know about other providers, but O2 offers 250 free webtexts per month. Texting via the web isn’t everyone’s preferred method, but it’s easy to type and 250 is a literally powerful amount of texts, if you have ten volunteers in each constituency texting everyone they and their friends and family know about the alternative party website and its consituency subdomains. If you ask those who are interested to text their friends who might be interested, suddenly its viral. As a new way forward is very much in the zeitgeist, perhaps this is an optimum time to intrigue people about such a party.
Each constituency discusses its own problems on its own website and arrives at solutions. These solutions are fed to the main site. www.alternativeparty.ie, and become the bedrock of national policy.
Okay, so that’s the bones of structure, to be fleshed out by those who are interested.
Where will the candidates come from? My guess is that many will come from community groups. Affiliations with groups like The Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament might prove fruitful.
And what about policies? Several will be suggested in the next post.