Thursday, May 08, 2008
Yes, I know I wanted rid of Bertie Bung. Be careful what you wish for and all. I know.
A culchie coup d'etat?
The BIFFO for Taoiseach we knew about. A man with no experience outside of politics running the country (into the ground) in a time of economic downturn. Fantastic.
What we didn't see coming was the near total eradication of Dublin influence in the governing party at the executive table.
With Bertie gone to the back benches, and Seamus Brennan jumping (for health reasons) before he was pushed, and his constituency colleague Tom Kitt bizarrely axed, the cabinet loses three Dublin ministers.
And with Mary Hanafin demoted for her mishandling of the autism issue (and for being from Dublin), the capital loses further influence.
In their place comes perennial non-achiever from Caaark like, 'Batt' O'Keefe, and Cavan-Monaghan slogger Brendan Smith, the man who has spent the guts of a decade ploughing a lonely furrow in the North-East defending the indefensible health cuts on behalf of the government.
And the indefensible herself, Mary Harney, remains at the trough, against all common sense.
We also saw the arrival of Pat Carey as chief whip, replacing poor Tom Kitt. This is the man who previously oversaw the national drugs strategy. No, not the strategy that led to Ireland becoming awash in cocaine. The strategy that tried to prevent Ireland becoming awash in cocaine. So, not much talent there.
And some of the other appointments are culchie-tastic too. Micheal Martin as Foreign Minister? We lose the urbane (but potential Taoiseach) Dermot Ahern as our international representative and have him replaced by Langerman? The man who launched a thousand health reports? Give me a break.
Dermot Ahern to Justice is another demotion, no matter how it's spun. That's Biffo's none too subtle method of de-fanging the main opposition to his leadership. Ahern must surely realise now that he should have had the stones to make a contest of the leadership.
Right now, he'd be better off as a disgruntled back bencher, leading the anti-biffo FF, than in his current ignominious position implementing Brian Lenihan's policy agenda.
But it gets better. Instead of sacking that useless oxygen thief Martin Cullen, Biffo has promoted him to Tourism Minister. Frankly, if this country was the sunniest, safest, and cheapest on Earth, I'd still think twice about visiting if it was his ugly lying mug asking me to. And Ireland is none of those things.
But the real 'fuck you' to city dwellers is the elevation of 'lovely girl' Mary Coughlan to Tanaiste. I mean, come on. Are we meant to laugh or cry at that? Are we now basking in mediocrity to this extent?
In fairness, it's been a bad day for Dublin South, losing two cabinet ministers at one fell swoop. I predict incinerators and sewage plants to be built in Dundrum shortly.
Tom Kitt may have been smarmier than Bob Monkhouse, but he was at least an effective whip, toiling away beyond notice, ensuring that FF maintained their ever-tenuous but ever-present grip on power for the past half-decade.
The loss of two ministers will go down well next to Harvey Nicks. Well, it won't, but it'll go down really well with the bogtrotters who bussed it up to Dublin from Offally and gathered outside Leinster House like gombeen groupies earlier to cheer on Cowen's elevation.
If I were a betting man, I'd go out and stick a couple of quid on Fine Gael to lead the next government. If they can't outpunch this bunch of gobdaws, they don't deserve to ever run the country.