A New Operating System

at

constitution

The 1937 constitution is outdated and beyond repair. It s not a template that will serve us going forward nor achieve national reintegration. It is corrupt and flawed. And you know it.

Antoine D’Alton writes:

As most people know a hardware device cannot work without software. Take for example your laptop, tablet or mobile phone, all of which require software to function. Put simply without the software, the device is useless. To make your device work, you need an operating system

The operating system is made up of code which enables the device to work. This working device then allows you to run programmes and applications.

Pretty simple – but as you know, every now and then your operating system needs an upgrade to function properly.

We’ve all had some experience where a device doesn’t work as well as it should. Sometimes, its due to a flaw in the operating system, and consequently the programmes and applications we rely on cease to function or work properly.

I need not remind you how infuriating it is when your device doesn’t work as well as it should. Periodically, you get a notification of a system patch or upgrade which you need to install to ensure the device functions. It’s anecessary evil, but something you’re used to.

You rely on these patches and updates to fix the code and thus enable the operating system, the programmes and applications to function. As a paying customers you expect no less.

The sad reality is that the system will work for a while before it has to be ‘fixed’ again.

Now imagine for a moment that your hardware device is Ireland, and our operating system is the constitution. Now consider for a moment that your applications are government departments that are supposed to provide you with the services you pay for. As an end user you expect the device to work.

But does it?

Remember, you are paying good money for this device, some of you are paying a lot more than others and the truth is you’re getting very little in return. Basic services aren’t quite what they should be, and yet no matter how many times the system is updated or you install anew patch (constitutional referendums) the operating system doesn’t quite deliver in the manner it should.

Which of course is infuriating!

In order to get the services you pay for, you have to go to the system administrators whose job it is to ensure the system functions. Occasionally, after leaving you on hold for a while they sort the problem out for you, but quite often they don’t. Instead you are left confused and not a little short-changed.

Looking objectively at the device, you know there is a problem, you know it’s not working. Some of you seek out an alternative but most of you put up with a device that should work but it doesn’t because the operating system is essentially flawed

You see the underlying code (law, custom and tradition) is fine and the hardware (Ireland) too. The problem is, the system architecture is not fit for purpose having been designed to meet the needs of Ireland in 1937.

To put it simply, it was poorly programmed to begin with, by limited people with a limited knowledge of how the device should operate. Some of them for ideological reasons inserted code that was nonsensical at the time, the problem is we are still stuck with this malware today.

If you as the enduser look at Ireland objectively, you know instinctively no amount of patches are going to ‘fix the problem’. Our operating system shows all the fault signs of age and system fatigue.

It has become ‘infected’ and some of our programmes are clearly outdated and corrupt. The antivirus software doesn’t work, and the device consequently is clunky and certainly not user friendly for the majority of endusers.

It sometimes feels that the only people the device actually works for are those who ‘work the system’, namely the insiders. The insiders consists of public representatives, bureaucrats and the suppliers who live off the system.

These are the people we pay to administer our operating system which was supposedly designed for our benefit. Unfortunately, those insiders have confused our needs with theirs. Remember, they know how to ‘work the system’ and the rest of us just have to make do. It seems that they are self-perpetuating, and that whatever benefits should come from the system, seems to go their family, friends and favoured clients.

But there is something they forgot….

They don’t own the system. We do.

Without us, the system has no power and therefore cannot be turned on to their advantage

The question is when are we going to turn the power off? Remember every insider lives in fear of being on the outside, and every five years we get the opportunity to kick them out.

The problem is, a very significant proportion of the population are quite content to do nothing, namely stay at home, particularly the young end users. This suits the insiders who know they can always rely on their ‘clients’ to keep them in power.

Now we all know, we need a working system. We all know we need system administrators (civil servants) and programme managers (Ministers). What we need is a new operating system, and one that works for 2021 and beyond.

As all good system architects know, the underlying code is largely the same for all devices (democracies) the operating system (separation of powers) should have checks and balances to ensure no overlaps and also to make sure that the executive branch doesn’t monopolise the centralpower unit as has been the case for too long in this country.

Indeed, in this new system, the architects would identify that one of the old system failures arose because of overcentralisation. Thus, they come up with a model whereby power is given to certain regions enabling them to ensure programmes and services are delivered locally in a timely and cost-efficient fashion.

This is designed to ensure that peripheral users are not disproportionately represented and thus clog-up the operating system with matters that could be and should be dealt with locally.

Remember, all the expertise to create a new system exists. We have the code, we have identified the problems, and we have the system architects who if left to get on with the job can deliver a system that works. The only problem is inertia and the reluctance of the insiders from doing what is expected of them.

Steve Jobs famously said ‘People don’t know what they want until you show them‘.

The insiders and their supporters will give you a thousand reasons not to change the system. But never forget, they are creatures of the system and in that regard it’s your duty to disrupt them out of their complacency and demand they give you what you are paying for.

We need a new constitution to make our system of government fit for the 21st century. A system that is fit for purpose and one which will work for you.

The 1937 constitution is outdated and beyond repair. It s not a template that will serve us going forward nor achieve national reintegration. It is corrupt and flawed. And you know it.

You deserve a new constitution that works and you deserve it now.

Image via Antoine

52 thoughts on “A New Operating System

  1. scottser

    we don’t need new software, we need a factory reset back to the 30’s – farming, christian brothers and good old protectionism is what we need.

    1. Devine

      I like the analogy used here. It gets to the root of the problem with modern Ireland, which still seems to be operating under De Valera’s Cookbook from 1937.

      Many Irish people love to moan, but frankly are too lazy, too ignorant and too complacent to do anything about it. I put this down to the absence of civic education in Ireland which is truly appalling.

      1. AlisonT

        This is one of the worst analogies possible – a large amount of new software is installed primarily to make money for its creators, they then spend its lifetime fixing it up and replace it once it is stable so they can make more money. There have been 9 versions of MS Office since Office 97 and 99% of users would be better off with the 97 version. The new versions have only served the IT industry.
        Sometime companies get a product right and just need to stick with it and fix the little bugs.

    1. classter

      The analogy is fine, except that he didn’t flesh it out or even give any example of what is wrong with the current operating system.

      For my money, the basic operating system is excellent and has stood the test of time so far.

  2. Declan

    That was one of the painful metaphors I’ve ever read – seriously.

    If you’re a nutty right ringer it’ll appeal to you as you talk about those who stay at home and those who pay (how about votes for propertied people only).

    If you’re a nobby left winger then you’ll probably be for it as utopia is always over the horizon.

    At no point did you mention any ideas – apparently we all just know. Try putting Leo Varadkar and Paul Murphy in a room and see how that works out.

    Finally, I’m now fan of Dev but t think he didn’t have some idea of what he was doing and s frankly mad

  3. Clampers Outside!

    Will it be a closed system like Trump / Apple or will it be open like…. Nobody / Linux ….or partially open like Ireland / Microsoft.

    [ Plse feel free to obliterate this comment with your superior tech-knowledgy, mines admittedly poor. Call this, a lay-person’s effort ]

  4. rotide

    God this article is awful.

    Terrible analogy that doesn’t work and zero actual meat as to why the constition isn’t fit for purpose apart from vague references to the ‘elite’ and the ‘insiders’

    Go away and learn to write.

    1. Happy Molloy

      That’s what’s missing alright, in what way is our constitution obsolete?

      There’s a lot to be said for our constitution as well, for example our unenumerated rights and our right to amendment on referendum which make it an organic and wholly changeable document.

      There’s no point saying something is broken without explaining how.

  5. Rob_G

    I told the Provost that he shouldn’t include an ‘Introduction to Information Technology’ module as part of the constitutional law programme, but he wouldn’t listen to me…

    1. Legal Coffee Drinker

      I’d need something stronger than a cup of coffee if I were to embark on the Herculean task of trying to rejig the Constitution, Eamonn.

      But I agree with the writer of this article that, as a country generally, we need to move on from the post-Treaty era. Not just our Constitution, but also our civil service, education system, the pedigree of many of our elected representatives, requires updating from this era.

      1. Legal Coffee Drinker

        I’d need something stronger than a cup of coffee if I were to embark on the Herculean task of trying to rejig the Constitution.

        But I agree with the writer of this article that, as a country generally, we need to move on from the post-Treaty era. Not just our Constitution, but also our civil service, education system, the pedigree of many of our elected representatives, requires updating

        1. classter

          Interested LCD, what would you do with the Education system. I actually think that there is a lot to be said for it and very little wrong with it we couldn’t fix as a patch to the existing system?

          I agree that the Civil Sevice needs a complete overhaul

  6. Listrade

    Did you use Vista? Windows 8? Mac 10.7 and 10.10 are dogs too.

    It’s hard to get anything right, even in the world of updates, patches and annual revisions.

    OSs are filled with old redundant code copy and pasted from generation to generation just because.

    It doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for reform of the civil service (btw you give more power and influence to the Minister than the senior civil servant, that’s not the case), but actual details of what needs to be reformed would be better than stretching out the analogy as far as you did.

    The Constitution’s actually alright if you give it a chance, sure some parts are outdated, but it wasn’t just drawn up on the back of a fag packet, some actual thought went into it.

      1. Listrade

        Elites always sounds like a brand of condoms, which then reminds me of the ring of shame imprint in my wallet born from a solitary unused condom remaining place year after year.

  7. Devine

    The constitution is out of date. That seems to be the point. But the lazy-ones just don’t get it. In other words if it is not summarised in 140 text characters their brains cannot get their heads around why change is necessary.

    1. Listrade

      Apart from the obvious reforms that are in the public debate, what specific issues are out of date?

      A rant against the civil service has little relevance.

    2. classter

      ‘The constitution is out of date. That seems to be the point.’

      Perhaps it is (although I don’t agree) bu I am not the wiser after reading this.

  8. bisted

    …somebody has mixed up Antoine’s ‘Ladybird’ and ‘…for Dummies’ collection of books again…

  9. Talismania!

    Let’s hope the USA doesn’t use this opportunity to update their over 200 year old constitution, which Trump clearly feels is limiting in many ways.

    The Irish constitution is not ideal. Neither is radical change – be careful what you wish for.

  10. gringo

    The Irish constitution is not corrupt and flawed, and that is the most stupid post I have ever read.

    1. Tony

      Yeah. Poor Antoine let himself down with the word ‘corrupt’. Too intoxicated by his own operating system analogy.

  11. Nigel

    Analogies are supposed to be illustrative. They’re supposed to provide a framework for an argument, or a series of arguments. You are supposed to get to the specifics of the actual thing you’re talking about, or your conclusions will end up being about the analogy, not the subject being discussed. You simply have not shown that the constitution is outdated and beyond repair. Your metaphor is.

  12. Louis Lefronde

    Political parasites never like change. As the author notes and he is correct ‘they work the system’. One could also say they know how to ‘milk it’ for everything it’s worth?

    Conservatives and Socialists are the biggest system parasites of them all, and what is interesting is that Liberal Democracy and the advances which have been born such as constitutionalism, universal suffrage, devolution, and the advancement of rights owe nothing to Conservatives and nothing to Socialists. It is ‘Liberalism’ or the Liberal Democratic movement which has always been in the vanguard of reform. Anyone who has ever read the Oxford Manifesto of 1947 and the update from the 1990’s would know this.

    To Anton I say well done, Ireland needs liberal progressive reformers and not ignorant system jockeys ;-)

    1. Listrade

      I have seen the error of my ways as a parasite. A 70 year old manifesto has shown me the way over an 80 year old document (which was updated within the last two years, remember it? It was on telly and everything).

      Still no specifics on what is outdated.

      Self-determination seems as valid now as then.

      Equality before the law, think we should keep that one.

      Personal rights, that too.

      Unumerated rights, bit vague but actually shows forethought even from the elites…seems they knew other rights they hadn’t thought of would need protecting too.

      Habeas corpus, natch, that’s a keeper.

      Inviolability of the home, same.

      Freedom of speech, need.

      Freedom of peaceful assembly, need.

      Freedom of association, need.

      Family and home life, yeah all good apart from the bit about mother’s being unequal, you can have that.

      Anyway, I could go on. There’s specifics to discuss, sure abortion needs to be repealed (imo) and that guff about the mother. I’ll trade you the boring stuff about the flag for a Snorlax EX.

      1. Stev

        This website has no place for clear thought. Away with you to build tortured metaphors about licensing agreements for SaaS sales to compare the separation of powers.

  13. ____

    I’m ready to be swung here, just waiting on some problems to be identified and alternatives presented…

    Oh well.

    The only things hinted at there are changes to public services…which AFAIK can be done with legislation. So what’s this about the constitution?

    1. ____

      Oh…and what’s this stuff about “national reintegration”?

      Has Donegal floated off or something?
      I hate when that happens.

  14. Truth in the News

    What happened to the Original Dail Constitution of 1919, why was it ditched and who
    cobbled up the 1937 version, did one John Charles McQuaid have his snout stuck in it,
    in order to give Dev a better grip with imprimatur of the irish Church Catholic Church,
    its is doubtful if the Vatican ever got a look in…..they were too busy pandering to Mussolini
    and Hitler

    1. Cian

      The Irish Constitution is not completely Catholic-laden. It is quite ecumenical. Remember that it was written just before WW2 – when the Jews across Europe were getting a hard time, and they were specifically mentioned. These two articles wouldn’t have been well received by McQuaid:

      Original Article 44.1.2:
      The State recognises the special position of the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church as the guardian of the Faith professed by the great majority of the citizens.
      Original Article 44.1.3:
      The State also recognises the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Religious Society of Friends in Ireland, as well as the Jewish Congregations and the other religious denominations existing in Ireland at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution.

  15. pat harding

    Typical, whenever reform to the system is suggested ‘Paddy Pernicious’ and the ‘Slum Scum’ crawl out of the gutter to try and kill it.

    Is it any wonder why for so long the Irish were portrayed as ‘The White Trash of Western Europe’ inhabiting a Priest ridden peripheral bog-hole of ignorant peasants governed by a collection of jumped-up street criminals, back street gangsters and rural gipsies organised on political lines.

    There’s no doubt in my mind Ireland could be a lot better and work practically for its citizens, but to get there it’s necessary to free ourselves from that horrible constitution and that pathetic system of government we inherited from the likes of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

    Anyone with a brain can see it doesn’t work and we need something better.

    1. Listrade

      I think most people are happy with reform, but it’ll be nice to hear something as to how we could reform it and not just generalised “it’s all crap! Someone fix it”, add that the the analogy that tried, but didn’t work and that’s where people took issue.

      I don’t think you can blame the Constitution for the quality of Government and representatives. The pillars of government as explained in the Constitution is a sound idea and concept, the application and the quality of who is elected is a different story. That doesn’t need reform of the Constitution, that needs reform of political parties and their “old boys club” in selection of candidates.

      Nor is the constitution to blame for the civil service, that can easily be reformed, if there was anyone brave enough to take it on. All civil service reform has meant is spending millions on a new logo, a recruitment ban and ending temporary contracts. It has never dealt with the management of the CS where it really is archaic. Much easier to blame the frontline workers, get the unions angry on strike and shrug shoulders to claim it is the unions halting reform.

      The concept of most of the constitution and how we are governed are sound (IMO) it is the application and quality of people we have put in those posts that has been lacking.

      1. Listrade

        Oh, to add something to this and because we had a whole comments section not mentioning Trump. I lean right on regulation. It should be minimal, it should be simple. I don’t believe that a person or business should require the creation of a middle-man industry of consultants and advisers in order that they aren’t criminals.

        Anyway, Trump’s idea on regulation…2 repealed for every new one. Got to say, I like the idea. It’ll fail, badly, in the application but that’s the people who will make it political rather than sensible. And there in is the crux of the problem, the ideas and concepts can be good. No idea can ever account for every variance and will always need ongoing adjustment and correction, but that doesn’t make the idea bad. It is always the application.

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