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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Bye Bye Bertie

The most cunning, most devious of them all is gone.

From the steps of the government buildings plinth he fell on his sword, his lip all a-quiver with pent-up tears.

Well, Bertie was always one for the dramatic touch. Whether it was the yellow suit in the company of world leaders or the famous anorak as he stood in the floodwaters of Drumcondra, Bertie always knew how to hold a crowd.

Unlike Jack Lynch, Charles Haughey and Albert Reynolds, Bertie is the first Fianna Fail leader in living memory to go at a time of his own choosing.

Of course, perhaps it is more a time of The Mahon Tribunal's choosing.

Either way, the reign of the Bert ends on the 6th of May, following his address at the Houses of Congress in the US and, strangely, the visit of the Japanese Prime Minister.

And later, there is Taoiseach's questions in the Dail, when the invisible man Enda Kenny had planned to draw blood. That flush is busted for Fine Gael now, a small consolation for Bertie today.

Bertie was flanked by nearly all of his cabinet. Looking very out of place, John Gormley stood behind Bertie as he barely mentioned the Green Party in the lengthy list of shout-outs he gave to all who had ever supported him.

Whereas Mary Harney, who Bertie described as a 'good friend', had the sense not to appear on the plinth.

Cowen looked bored, looking over Bertie's shoulder at his speech as if trying to see how long Bertie was going to talk for. Behind him, stood Brian Lenihan, who in Bertie's absence may well be elevated to Minister of Finance when Cowen becomes Taoiseach.

Bertie said that his resignation had nothing to do with recent events. That's not the first untruth he's told in recent times. But it is one, perhaps, that he can be forgiven for.

There's no harm in letting the man leave with his dignity intact. But I still look forward to his appearing before the Tribunal to explain the hundreds of thousands of punts that washed through his bank account.

There is a sea-change in Irish politics. Bertie, whose sins compared to those of Haughey are venal, has had to resign, and those in Irish politics who are much more corrupt, much filthier than Bertie should now quake in their gucci loafers.

The clean-up has begun.


Green Ink said...

*shakes hands*

Peter Slattery said...

Will there be that much of a change, do you reckon? I mean, for all the drama that this day is bringing about, will it actually cause the rest of the corrupt to start quaking in their boots? The coverage of Bertie's appearances before the tribunal is always going to be most publicised due to his position in the government. Perhaps the rest of them think they'll be able to slip under the radar. As much as I'd like to think Bertie's the one who causes the house of cards to fall, I dunno if it's going to make that much of a change in Irish politics. We've a history of corrupt officials. Is that really going to change?

JC Skinner said...

Haughey got away with it. Bertie didn't. The precedent is set, Peter.
I suspect you might well see a self-culling of some veteran politicians from various parties as they seek to retire before a tribunal of inquiry starts examining their bank accounts.
Do you honestly expect Bertie to allow himself and himself alone to be examined in this manner?

Conan Drumm said...

Hmm. I suspect the wider establishment will tacitly agree that Bertle is enough blood and that it would be too damaging to the system to keep following the pounds, shillings and pence.

Do not bet on Cowen, there will be a whispering campaign. Dermot and Willie have been plotting.

JC Skinner said...

It won't be a clean fight for the succession. In Fianna Fail it never is.
But Cowen is likely cleaner even than Bertie. The brother's taxes are an embarrassment for sure, but he is not his brother's keeper.
Any who try to usurp the position will have to ensure, among other things, that they've cleaner hands than Cowen.
I think Willie knows he's got no hope and Dermot is more sensible than to be the loser in a two horse race. He likes Foreign Affairs and the statesman gravitas it gives him. Perhaps he'll get Tanaiste as a pay-off for staying out of it?
It could get ugly. But I don't think it will.

Informer said...

It is good cosmetic exercise for the masses outside of Ireland more than the insular internal view me thinks! When I was in the French Foreign Legion for 2 weeks many years ago, the Russian friend Meric said "that you are from Ireland YES?", I responded "YES macara", and he went "Ahh, the only other place as corrupt as home, you join us Irish YES?". Needles to say Bertie lasted alot longer than me!