Independent Ministers… May 25, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Now we’ve the full set of Ministers and Junior Ministers and Super-Juniors it’s time to reflect upon the problems those from the Independent side of the field are facing from the off.
It is almost absurdly obvious, but most significant is the fact that they are independent. Bar one or two of them they have no reference group or structure around them on which to draw resources or even information as regards their Departmental responsibilities. Policy formation for independents is limited – how could it be otherwise, given that they are political sole traders. This becomes even more important in regard to how they interact both at Cabinet, surrounded by members of a long established and well resourced party and in the Departments themselves. What particular vision or expertise can they bring to the latter, or the former? How do they prevent themselves becoming captive to Fine Gael or the civil service or advisors, or whatever?
That may seem like a bleak outline, but it is one of the most fundamental challenges they face. It’s not absolutely insurmountable, but it is a difficulty. Smaller parties, one thinks of the GP, have always found it difficult when entering government, but they have had the advantage of a cohesive ideology, a broad range of contacts and resources to call upon and so on. In political terms it may have made little electoral difference, but in terms of getting even a sliver of their policies implemented it hasn’t been unuseful.
Then there’s the possibility that there will be a switch-over of Junior Ministers during the lifetime of the government. That’s well and good, but most with any experience of Departments will say that it takes about two years to get up to speed in that context. Granted this is a problem that we see whether Ministers or Junior Ministers are party or none party, but nonetheless continuity of approach, experience and so forth are not unimportant.
Note how the economic areas have been kept well away from the Independents. There was no way that FG would allow them to have those Departments.