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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Our Dear Leader . . . .

Pádraig Partholán Ó hEachthairn (Patrick Bartholomew Ahern, alias: 'Bertie' Ahern) Supreme Taoiseach of Ireland

The most interesting thing, to me at least, about the Bartholomew-gate affair, is the apparent reluctance/inability of the opposition to make any sort of political capital from the whole sordid sequence of events.

Over at Irish Election, blogger Cian seems to feel it's all down to a little timidity on the part of Rabbitte and Co. due to the unexpected bounce in the polls St Bartie received after the initial revelations late last year.


Bertie has a long history as a likeable character, a good guy and a solid worker, he is ‘anorak man’, after all. He was the saviour of Fianna Fail when it looked like tearing itself apart and he has run the place for ten years and we have had good times. The public feel they know him, he is one of us. So divorcing people from their (seemingly innate) drive to like him is the challenge facing the opposition. That was even before the news of payments, irregularities, rented/bought houses and tribunal allegations broke. Now they are even worse off.


The current wisdom is that since October, Enda Kenny and Pat Rabbitte are wary of attempting to attack the Taoiseach on his finances and the allegations in the media. They reckon that it was the seeming persecution of Bertie back in October that stunted their growing popularity and moved them back to square one in terms of poll support and momentum. Since Sunday, when the election was called, they appear to have some of that momentum recovered but it took them nearly four/five months to do.


On the face of it the reasoning appears sound, yet I can't help feeling that their apparent timidity might stem a reluctance to being caught casting the first stone. Discussing this with a friend the other day he posited that it might be a case of 'You show me yours and I'll show you mine', i.e. that they were all in their way corrupt to some degree and that no-one wanted to be seen leading the charge against the Drumcondra-born Saint, for fear of their own affairs being examined a tad too closely under the media-microscope. I decided to correct him and said "If that were the case then it would be more 'You don't tell anyone what size mine is, and I won't tell anyone what size yours is.'"

Upon reflection Cian's reasoning appears to be the soundest, as it would be entirely typical of the main opposition figures (Kenny especially) to let such a golden opportunity slip from their grasp due to their seeming panic at the thought of actually doing or saying anything even remotely controversial, in case it might lose them a vote or two. The fact that it might inspire some of the more apathetic of the potential electorate to decide they were worthy of a vote seems not to have figured too highly in their thinking on this subject.

Which, again, is entirely typical of these sad-clowns we have the misfortune to find ourselves saddled with.

Laughing Bertie
I was astounded last year when our dear Leader managed to fob-off legitimate concerns regarding his ethics, while acting as Finance Minister, with some guff about Holy Communion money. What was required at the time was one of the opposition figures to stand up and excoriate him for trivialising such a serious issue but that would of required actual ownership as well as current possession of a few anatomical items which this opposition appears to be sorely lacking, namely: some backbone and a pair of balls. Possession of even one ball each would suffice.

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