Toy Story: Enda Lightyear or Inaction Man?

WE were promised a looser, leaner leader ready to shake things up a bit, and so the Dáil hushed as the new look “Bendy Enda” was poised for his unveiling.

Fevered speculation had gripped Leinster House since the instant Mr Kenny announced the spectacular policy U-turn that: “From now on I’m going to be myself. I’m going to loosen up a bit.”

This had been the Fine Gael leader’s life-changing, Stars In Their Eyes transformation moment as he effectively declared: “Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be... Enda Kenny!”

What would the “real” Enda be like? Would he have a range of different poses and personalities, like that other plastic blonde, Barbie?

The possibilities of Malibu Enda, Cowboy Enda or even Bollywood Enda were all too exciting to contemplate, so as he emerged into the limelight of Leader’s Questions there was an audible sigh of disappointment as the same old Nice-But-Dull Enda came into view.

It was a missed opportunity as Enda could have taken a leaf out of the book of Pooper-Scooper Barbie (yes, such a bizarre creation really exists) and done a bit of cleaning up after the unpleasant mess George Lee left the party floundering in as he bolted back to RTÉ.

Mr Kenny’s questions on the banking crisis were slightly less rambling than normal, but apart from that there was no sign of the promised “bustin’ loose”.

But then, what is he really up against? The Taoiseach’s toy shop persona would have to be Inaction Man, proved once again as the opposition pulled him up on the little matter of Brian Cowen having no idea Bank of Scotland Ireland was about to cull half its workforce until it delivered the bombshell.

Labour’s Eamon Gilmore asked if Mr Cowen had perhaps been “asleep”, as what other explanation could there be for his lack of grip on the situation, given the only thing anyone has been talking about during the 18 months of the slump has been, er, banks.

Banks even featured in Fine Gael’s increasingly nasty return hatchet job on Mr Lee, as an ill-advised smear campaign was launched claiming the former, self-proclaimed saviour of democracy, had walked from the Dáil because the cash perks did not live up to his RTÉ standards.

The unseemly spat just confirmed the feeling that Mr Lee and Fine Gael richly deserved each other. What will the Blueshirts do to top their South Dublin by-election choice next time out — parachute in that other wandering RTÉ arch-ego Charlie Bird?

It would surely be too much to hope for, but then you never quite know what is going on in the strange collective brain of Fine Gael.

Maybe if we’re talking toys, perhaps Buzz Lightyear would be a closer fit for Enda. Both have boundless enthusiasm and self-belief and seem oblivious to the reality of their earth-bound limitations.

It would also give him a snappy little catchphrase worthy of this post-“Yes, we can!” world.

Next time he spouts the fantasy line that Fine Gael will win a Dáil majority by themselves at the general election, Mr Kenny could easily underline the lunacy of such an assertion by shouting: “Blueshirts! To infinity and beyond!”

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