[ILUG] Canvassing and politicians
mark.dennehy at gmail.com
Tue Nov 23 11:08:56 GMT 2010
On 23 November 2010 09:35, Cian Brennan <cian.brennan at redbrick.dcu.ie> wrote:
> Maybe. But making them aware that some people vote on things like this is still
> worth doing. Otherwise, when software patent issues come up in the Dáíl,
> they'll just assume that they don't understand it (and I think you may have
> underestimated many TDs, but anyway), so it's probably not a big deal.
I've spent the guts of the last decade dealing with TDs and Ministers
on firearms legislation, which is technical enough to be non-intuitive
but nowhere near as technically complex a topic as software patents.
And after that decade, I don't believe there is a single TD or
Minister - and I'm including the Ministers who passed firearms
legislation - who understood the resulting law; and the result has
been that a rough-running system has transformed into a
rougher-running-and-now-far-more-costly system; and about three
hundred lawsuits that the government has lost and paid costs for.
And software patents are *more* complex and *more* cerebral and
abstract a subject matter.
So I don't believe I'm underestimating any TD in the Dail at present.
And I *really* don't believe that enough people know that software
patents exist - let alone know enough about them to include them as a
factor in their voting - to make any odds in an election. Which means
no TD will care. We might hear about the "smart economy" and the
"knowledge economy" all the time, but [sarcasm] our job is to pay
taxes, not decide on policy... [/sarcasm]
> Even if the IMF decide to spend money on adult training, there's still a big
> question over what training they spend it on. From a Free Software PoV, we'd
> prefer they didn't spend their whole adult training budget turning out MCSEs,
> or builders, say.
Indeed, but no election promise is going to influence that. The
Deputy-From-Upper-Leitrim-West doesn't get a say in policy decisions
at the table, and his constituents even less so. He'll tell them
anything to be elected, but what he can actually *do* is exceptionally
small, if it exists at all. And even if that Deputy becomes the
Minister of the Department responsible for a particular policy, he's
now supposed to deliberately ignore his constituency and act in the
national interest anyway (and yes, I know the cute hoors don't, but
we're looking for better than that, aren't we? And besides, you can't
feather a constituency nest with a better policy on software
> That's fine, but making sure it's not (effectively or actually) a single party
> government is something you do in the polling booth, not on the doorstep.
Yup, and policy decisions aren't something you can choose between by
looking at individual TDs. Best you can do is look at the party level
and ignore the individual, if what you're looking at is a national
level matter. Whatever the Deputy-From-Upper-Leitrim-West for Labour
says or thinks doesn't matter; all that counts after election day is
that that's one more seat for Labour, and if it's enough, if Labour
form the government, then the Deputy-From-Upper-Leitrim-West still
doesn't matter; it's Pat's party and he'll do what he wants to.
You have to love representative democracy and the party whip system,
you really do. (Mainly because if you don't, you'll just get really
cynical about our government and come to the conclusion that we really
don't have any say in anything except in *monumentally* unusual
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