The Leinster House Of Horrors presents: The Creature From The Black Slump Lagoon — Fianna Fáil, the great beast of Irish politics, has risen from its shallow grave and now threatens to join a future government near you.
That is, if you believe one opinion poll, but inching ahead is remarkable in itself just two years after they led this country to economic disaster — though it says more about the despair of voters than any renewed faith in the FFers.
The single-point lead was well within the sample’s margin of error, taken before the inevitable post-prom note-deal FG bounce, and put them on an historically modest 26% — but it still sent a shock-wave through the body politic.
Let us not forget, Micheál Martin was a key member of the government that allowed the economy slide into chaos, mass unemployment, resurgent emigration, and national humiliation as we were reduced to an economic colony of Brussels.
We are all too ready to forget, highlighting how different the goldfish bowl of Irish politics is from the ‘real’ world.
In that ‘real’ world, career experts have issued a warning to young people to be careful on social media, as pictures, comments and carry-ons, on sites such as Facebook, could haunt them later and derail their job searches.
But that rule seems not to hold sway in the Dáil, where FF are not the only ones with a notorious past they no longer need to apologise for.
It is the same with Gerry “Army Council? What Army Council?” Adams. Look, here he is being tagged in a photo with the British oppressors who let him out of jail to negotiate despite his claims he had never been in the IRA. There he is being poked by Tony Blair, who believes Mr Adams has extraordinary influence over a paramilitary organisation of which he was never a member. There’s the Sinn Féin leader being ‘favourited’ because he apologised 17 years too late for the killing of garda Jerry McCabe by Republicans during a ‘conflict’ with ‘State forces’ — yet he does not tell us what legitimacy he has to offer such regrets, nor on whose behalf.
It was a similar story with presidential candidate, Martin McGuinness, who, as everybody knows, left the IRA in 1974, never to return. During a lengthy interview with Mr McGuinness last year, he became tetchy when I questioned him on this extraordinary turn of events.
Mr McGuinness said he quit the Provos and nobody tried to talk him out of it. He did not find it funny when I said I had more hassle switching gyms than he had leaving the IRA.
Who would have thought the Provos would be so cuddly and understanding about someone telling them: ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ and walking away?
You have to laugh when these people expect us to believe what they say about their non-involvement with the IRA and then swallow all their election promises.
Look at the Labour Party scrap book — isn’t that Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte in the dear old Workers Party, smiling under the red flag?
Yes, the same Workers Party that enjoyed such fraternal relations with its charming namesake, which has been running that socialist paradise on Earth, North Korea, for so long. The same Workers Party that was famed for its fund-raising techniques.
But Enda Kenny stands as a man apart, because he does not seem to carry any baggage, ideological or political, or have left any foot-prints.
Mr Kenny seems to have spent his career in a political Bermuda Triangle, because he only appears on the radar for two years in the mid-1990s — and that was in the less-than-stellar post of tourism minister. How different from the train-crash wreckage of FF — but now the dominant party of the last slump coalition is more popular than the leaders of the current slump coalition.
It would seem a relentless pursuit of the politics of hypocrisy by FF, coupled with the ease with which Fine Gael/Labour have aped the air of arrogance and out-of-touchness that marked their old enemy, has created a dystopian synergy in Irish politics.
FF attacked Mr Kenny for failing to apologise to the Magdalene Laundry survivors, yet they deliberately and cruelly excluded the same victims from compensation, while in power in 2002.
FF attacked the Anglo deal as too little, too late, yet show no shame for agreeing to the madness in the first place.
FF attacked the unfairness of the property tax, yet were the ones who promised the charge to the Troika in the first place, just as they flushed this country’s economic sovereignty down the toilet.
Yet, despite all that double-dealing, FF are, however briefly, top of the pops once more — and have even been handed the bonus of seeing their former leaders get away scot-free from any censure in the upcoming inquiry into the financial collapse. Brian Cowen, the calamity clown of Irish cowboy capitalism, will not be criticised, nor will Bertie Ahern, whom you will remember was a truly unbelievable Taoiseach — as confirmed when the Mahon corruption probe ruled they could not believe his evidence.
And how did they escape any scrutiny of their role in the economic disaster? Well, because the very people angry at such a turn of events are the same people who voted down the Dáil inquiries referendum, which would have allowed the Oireachtas to retrieve the parliamentary probe powers it lost after the Abbeylara ruling.
That constitutional poll, restoring the Dáil to the watchdog role of Westminster and the US Congress, should have been an easy win, but an arrogant Alan Shatter lost control of the narrative and allowed the issue to be hijacked by scare-mongers spouting spurious emotional arguments.
So, with one bound, FF are free, and attempting to become ‘soldiers of destiny’ again, rather than prisoners of the past. But then, don’t despair, there is always the hard-left to fall back on. But, unfortunately, it is called the hard-left because it is so hard to believe there is anyone left who can take it seriously. The collapse of the (Dis) United Left Alliance has been as spectacular as it has been bitter and embarrassing.
FF is back and the Government is hated — even though they both espouse the same ‘Tory’ austerity agenda. It is like Irish politics is on one long, permanently scary, loop.
Sadly, it is always the ‘Politically Rocky Horror Show’ playing here.