Now, Taoiseach Enda Kenny may be less Sid Vicious and more Sid Vacuous, but I couldn’t help thinking of the jibe as Kenny swanned around in front of the microphones on the steps of Government Buildings this week, telling us how great he and his buddies have been over the past year.
And we know just what a fantastic job they have done, because the transparent and brutally honest ‘report card’ the Taoiseach promised us at the end of his first 12 months in office told us so.
Indeed, so self-aware was it that only 43 of the 44 pages eulogised the Government’s achievements, while one page listed the failures — but, of course, they are not called “failures”, as that word has got a bit of a negative vibe about it; no, they are just “commitments under review” in this feelgood, pixie-dust-coated look back at the year.
But what about the broken promise on the bond-holders, who are now so unburned they are officially flame-retardant? Or, the one about no tuition-fee increases, or the one about no pay-cap-busting wage hikes for our mates? Or the one....
Well, in the upside-down world of coalition disassociation, those promises were never actually made — you were just hearing things, hearing things called election pledges, which were just intended to get your vote, not actually meant to be acted upon.
What Enda and Eamon Gilmore were actually delighting themselves about, in their mutual backslap-fest, was the Programme for Government.
It is a bit like a newly married spouse who has been caught cheating, saying: “I know I promised to be faithful — but that was only during the wedding vows, when I needed you to say ‘yes’. If you look at the small print of the ‘programme for marriage’ I drafted immediately after the ceremony, I think you’ll find there’s a little clause saying ‘I can cheat as much as I like’ — so, in fact, you owe me the apology, darling.”
But if a Taoiseach can’t actually keep his promise to produce a proper ‘report card’ listing what promises he has kept, then what hope is there?
Enda has banged on at great length about his little black book, which lists the successes and failures of each minister, and leaving the public with the firm impression he would be giving us a peak at his findings after a year in power.
But, no, all we got was the usual onanistic self-love Fianna Fiasco used to trot out, until that government became so dysfunctional and incompetent it could not even keep the lie machine going.
Regarding the much-trailed, but strangely missing, ministerial score cards, one government source said, strictly off the record: “You told us we’d be mad to do it — and you were right.”
Enda and Eamon just about got away with the year-end show of hubris at Government Buildings, but it is Fine Gael’s shambolic photo stunt the next day that tipped the anniversary into absurdity. Deputies were told to parade around a park with star-shaped posters emblazoned with such legends as “fairness” and “stability” as we cheered heartily at the Government’s claim it has “stabilised the Live Register” — and if they mean by “stabilised” that they have actually “increased” the dole queues, from 13.7% to 14.2%, then as Barack himself might put it: “Yes. They. Have!”
As soon as a magnificently grand-sounding Pat Rabbitte put the boot into the Blueshirt stunt boo-boo, it was abandoned amid farcical scenes.
And that can only be a good thing, because, given the shape of the placards TDs were due to carry, it would not so much have looked like an episode of Stars In Their Eyes as Lies In Their Stars.
A bunch of wannabes trying to be something they are not. “Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be... Enda The Pretender.”
Then, we had the surreal delight of the Taoiseach trying to claim he had no knowledge of the triumphalist photo-flop until he heard about it on Morning Ireland — despite his own TDs saying he urged them, at a parliamentary meeting the night before, to attend it.
Confusion was then heightened when Fine Gael’s director of (bad) publicity, Tom Fabozzi, attempted to explain the glaringly different accounts by suggesting that maybe some of the TDs had “tuned out” at that stage of proceedings.
Enda, so boring even his own TDs can’t cope with listening to him?
Hmm, it’s certainly a novel political excuse.
And it is not as if the Government lacks a fair amount of good things to be quietly pleased with, given the limited resources it has as a Toy Town administration whose strings are pulled by the troika puppet masters in big, bad Brussels.
To their credit, they restored the shameful cut in the minimum wage imposed by Fianna Fáil and the Green Party, and they have taken 300,000 people out of the universal social charge, as well as partly restoring our national morale, and our international standing, after the calamity clown antics of Brian Cowen, a man who will only be remembered by history for two things: Surrendering the country’s economic sovereignty, and denying he was drunk on the radio.
But then, the 1978 Sex Pistols’ “final” gig was not as it was billed either, as the group keep returning to the stage for ever-more-tired-looking tramps through past glories.
We can expect the Taoiseach and Tánaiste to do much the same on every anniversary of their marriage of political inconvenience.
Indeed, Enda and Eamon are now revealed as our very own Sid and Nancy, living in an alternate reality from the rest of us, but one not fuelled by heroin — they just get high on the junk of their own PR.