Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Well we are where we are. And I think it's important to point that out. It's also important to point out that a little piece of this writer dies every time a Government minister starts a sentence with that particular soundbite. It is perhaps an apt commentary of this administration in microcosm that they have to speak in such a controlled and handled way. One of the most astonishing aspects of recent times ( and, as you can imagine, that comes against pretty stiff competition ) has been that Brian Cowen continues to speak in gobbledygook. Surely his P.R people would at the very least have implored him to vent plainly as if he was in the Brewery Tap pub in Tullamore . Perhaps the answer to this riddle, although Eoghan Haris puts it down to shyness, is that the Taoiseach persists with the jargon because any return to plain speaking would inevitably lead to him having to deal with his terrible failings front and centre. So with the leader of our country still 'on ( gobbledygook ) message', and completely unwilling to face the calamity, the Government blunders on hoping against hope that there will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When examining Fianna Fail strategy this writer is reminded of his own carry-on in Primary School. I didn't do my homework so my put-upon teacher requested that my homework for that night be signed by my mother: My reaction was to take the easy option, not do the homework again adding further to the snowball. Similarly our leaders bluster on like Mr Micawber.

For there is a lot at stake here. Principally the election after next, which, and you couldn't make this up, could be in 2016. If Fianna Fail keep the head down, avoid all metaphorical 'truth and reconciliation committees' then history tells us that the usual amnesia amongst the electorate will kick in and the soldiers of destiny will re-enter their Faustian pact with the electorate. An intriguing hint as to this alliance was given by Charlie McCreevey in the TV3 series 'Taoiseach' broadcast earlier this year. Answering the charge that he had been spendthrift in his spell as Minister for Finance, Kildare's finest rebutted by declaring that the Irish people had been promised that they would get the fruits of progress as pay back for the pain that had been endured in the '70's and '80's. Thus a political philosophy is laid bare: Hang those who naively think that policy should be made in a prudent manner based on current conditions. The understanding Fianna Fail have reached with their electorate is that in exchange for politicians being available night noon and day to sort out the medical card the politicians have to provide the sun moon and stars on occasion. The absence of a T.D in Donegal South-West in recent times is a good example of the place of politicians in the firmament. More than one Government representative, most recently Martin Manseargh , played down the issue by declaring that Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher was, by virtue of being an M.E.P, still in situ . In other words why do you need a T.D when the chieftain is still in his wig-wam. For in Ireland you don't necessarily wield power by being elected: You wield it by being elected, in one form of another, for long enough that you become anointed, rather like a mafioso boss.

So are we close to being out of this mess. Well no judging by the current condition in the body politic. Vincent Browne rolls his eyes when he notes that Fianna Fail are still getting about 20% in opinion polls. But the fact that Browne was ( latterly ) very friendly with Charles Haughey and so admiring of aspects of Bertie Ahern's personality indicates how ingrained some sympathy for Fianna Fail is. Kevin Myers stated that he wished no ill for any man more than Bertie when he resigned, yet is now comparing our attitude to Fianna Fail to that of a child to an alcoholic mother. It was a terrific analogy as the vast majority of Irish people have family and close friends who vote for Fianna Fail. People we admire and don't want to fall out with. But we are going nowhere as a society unless we recognise that tarrying with the Mr. Hyde side of our personality will only lead us to repeating the same mistakes. The actions of the eccentric Vincent Keaney recently in dancing on Charles Haughey's grave were objectionable. But unless we tramp the dirt firmly down on Fianna Fail firmly after the next election we can't begin to face our problems in any satisfactory way. The chances of that happening? Well if you want a good example of how skewed thinking in society can be look at Morgan Kelly's latest treatise in the Irish Times last week. Amidst all the apocalyptic talk about the economy he dropped in the little pearl that Fine Gael/Labour's economic record in Government has been worse than Fianna Fail. When someone who bravely called it correctly on the 'Celtic Tiger' is capable of such gibberish you really do throw your hands up in despair.

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