It’s a full decade since Hilary Mantel won her first Booker prize with Wolf Hall. In that epic Mantel took 650 pages to, through Thomas Cromwell, describe the tortuous efforts of England’s King Henry VIII to rid himself of his first wife Katherine of Aragon. That Henry went on to have another six suggests Mantel’s followers may need stamina. As did he.
For the last number of months, Fine Gael supporters needed a different kind of stamina, but one as patient. That party has, since Maria Bailey’s swing-gate came to light has wrestled with its conscience hoping aqainst hope the issue would fall from the public radar. The party may have, like Henry VIII, petitioned the Pope asking what to do?
That saga ended when Ms Bailey was stood down as a Fine Gael candidate but the party’s Mantel-scale prevarication meant it suffered considerable damage too. This decision should have come months ago, it was the only one possible. That party’s powers that be should read Wolf Hall, the clarity and ruthlessness of Cromwell offers them valuable lessons. He would not have been so careless with his credibility.