SHAUN CONNOLLY: Politicians love spin but what goes around comes around

Karma seems to be the buzz word as politicians’ pasts come back to haunt them.

Bluff Transport Minister Leo Varadkar sheepishly told the Dáil he was late because he had been stuck in traffic, while hapless Environment Minister Phil Hogan was under ‘pressure’ all week, which was ironic because the lack of water pressure in Dublin taps was the cause of the controversy.

Feck-it-up Phil would have been drowning in a sea of his own calamity, except that a third of the population of the country were hard-pressed to get half-a-cup of water after 8pm, due to dodgy chemicals being pumped into supply plants.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore will have “It’s Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s way” engraved on his political tombstone, as that very ill-advised piece of nonsensical rhetoric has come to symbolise the overblown grandstanding for which this Government has sadly become infamous.

While ministers were claiming to be “waving goodbye” to the Troika, they were stretching the other wrist out behind their backs, to allow the IMF-ECB-EU to slip on the next out-of-the-bailout-bailout handcuffs.

It would be a fitting tribute to the Troika if the Transport Minister got together with our Brussels buddies, and named the N11 bypass in Mr Gilmore’s Dun Loughrea constituency ‘Frankfurt’s Way’, and routed it right up to the Labour leader’s back door.

While Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, and his public-expenditure sidekick, Brendan Howlin, did their impression of the Smug Brothers, boasting about how, with one bound, Ireland would soon be a nation once again, it was left to party-pooper, Dutch Eurozone head, Jeroen Dijsselbloem (pronounced DieselBloom — which does sound a bit like a Bond villain), to bring a touch of reality to the back-slap fest, when he pointed out what a precarious situation Ireland was still in.

As Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, was crowing that the live register had slipped just below 400,000 people (thank you Ryanair, for shipping all those unemployed people off the dole queue and onto the emigration escalator), Dutch finance minister, Mr Dijsselbloem, highlighted this country’s appallingly high unemployment rate.

The official figure (ie: the massaged one intended to fool people into thinking things are not quite that bad) is 13.2%, but even those radical progressive socialists, the IMF, have expressed concern about the “staggering” level of Irish unemployment, which, when people on training schemes and dead-end placements are included, they estimate is really 23%.

Maybe we should ask Enda Kenny about it, or perhaps not, as he is so incapable of answering any question with a definitive statement. I’ve lost count of the number of questions I’ve heard him asked, which he just ignores, or to which he spouts meaningless spiel to talk down the clock.

It might be some redress to turn the tables on him, so next time he enquires about something, just give him an unrelated answer: “What day of the week is it?”

“It’s purple, Taoiseach.”

“What colour is the sky?”

“It’s Wednesday, Taoiseach.”

Mr Kenny did actually, sort of, say something, finally, this week, about his stance on extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, but even this was shrouded in vagueness.

Kenny’s words were wrapped in the usual enigma, so reporters were confused as to whether he “strongly supported” marriage equality, or just the idea of having a referendum on it, which are two very separate things.

But Mr Kenny did come up with an original idea yesterday. It was his first self-generated policy initiative, since he announced, four years ago, he was going to abolish the Seanad (hmmmm, how did that work out again?) — yes, the Taoiseach wants an all-Ireland soccer team to play England every second year, to raise money for the children’s hospital.

While it may lack the broad sweep of other political ideologies, like Marxism and Thatcherism, Endaism does, at least, have a basic simplicity to it — though, maybe, we should not really depend on a charity footie game to keep our sick children alive?

Not that Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, has any credibility when trying to pull the Taoiseach up on such matters in the Dáil. The past is another country, but, for Martin, the past is also an independent country he helped destroy.

As health minister, he failed to deliver a national children’s hospital, but, as foreign minister, he surrendered economic sovereignty to foreigners — a subjugation which will continue after “Bye-bye-bailout-day” on December 15, as the country will still twist and turn on the whims of the money markets and the poisoned bounty from Brussels, whatever the Smug Brothers may claim.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny displayed extreme symptoms of delusion, in the Dáil, while denying the latest hospital calamity, presided over by James Reilly, aka ‘part-time health minister/full-time clown’ — Reilly has effectively had control of his department taken off him, due to the circus that constantly engulfs him.

Then, the Ceann Comhairle announced that Chairman Wu (pronounced ‘Who’), of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, was in the visitors’ gallery.

The CPPCC is a front organisation created to give the impression there is some kind of representative democracy in China — a bit like the present Dáil, with its massive lobby-fodder coalition majority, in other words.

But listening to Mr Kenny ramble on — pretending there was no crisis in the health service; just as he did pretending medical cards were not being snatched from disabled children; just as he did pretending a work-experience club is some kind of answer to mass unemployment — it was not so much a case of Chairman Wu, but, rather, ‘Taoiseach, Why’?

But it was a different level of shiftiness displayed by Sinn Féin leader Gerry “Army council? What army council?” Adams, when questioned about the abduction and murder of the people now known as the disappeared, like mother-of-ten, Jean McConville.

In a damning BBC/RTÉ documentary on the murders, Adams was all innocent denials, but while his voice said one thing, his nervous body language said quite another.

Past actions may trip other members of the Dáil up from time to time, but it would seem Mr Adams will truly be haunted by his.


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