So today the election is upon us. Commentators say our crap governance is the fault of our tired old electoral system and not, strangely, the fault of our crap politicians. Let’s try a new system, then.
This election should follow the X-Factor format, complete with the existing panel of four judges. This may appear as if we‘re handing our democracy to them, but bear with me.
While the current system offers us only party hacks and the offspring of retiring politicians, there’ll be no shortage of fame seekers willing to stand under my plan. And absolutely every one of these will get the chance to perform in front of Simon and the gang. The early weeks would feature some of the worst of them. People will say daft things like “bigger people breathe in more air, so there should be a tax on lung capacity”. Others will say dafter things like “sure, let’s stick with the current lot, the others might be worse”. Some will forget their lines and ask to start again. Some would forget their own arse if it wasn’t attached to their legs.
Every now and again some middle-aged woman will captivate the audience with an astonishing, fiery oration. Cheryl will cry, the audience will go wild and the woman will embark upon a career which will eventually see her embark upon cruise ships, performing the “I have a dream” speech in the nightly cabaret.
The ones who make the knock-out stages will perform upon a specified theme each week, the health service first, then the economy, etc. We all get to vote (that’s the ‘X’ Factor) and on Sunday nights the candidates will stand nervously side by side. Some will tremble, some will cry, some will link arms (it’ll be a bit like the end of the night in my local, in other words). Eventually Dermot will speak.
“The first person through to the next round is……………………….. (there are not enough dots in my laptop to illustrate how long this pause is) ………………… (meanwhile girly screams of “Pete!” or “Mikey!” will issue from the crowd)……
………………”Mikey!” The screams will be deafening. Mikey will punch the air, all the others will link arms closer, like a wall in front of Cristiano Ronaldo. Eventually Dermot will deign to speak again. “The next person..”
And so on, until there are just two left. These will each perform again, giving thirty seconds of powerful rhetoric, then wait upon the judges. Simon will call one of them poor. The crowd will boo. Louis will praise whichever one Simon slags off. The crowd will cheer. Dannii will look like Kylie. Cheryl will say they “ah booth winnas”. The men watching on TV will fall even deeper in love with her. Then all four will vote. It will be a tie, and they will go back to the audience vote (see, we haven’t lost our democracy at all). The loser will go home to apply for whatever reality show is on next. The winner will go forward to the next week, and so on, until we have a winner.
Let’s face it, it’s not that radical a change. The standard of debate in our Dáil has always boiled down to a bunch of dull nobodies sitting in a big house talking shite at each other. If they can copy Big Brother, surely I can use the X-Factor. And in my programme the winner is decided by phone vote.
In other words, the more you spend, the more power you have.
You might say that I am mocking Irish democracy. I say I am continuing it.