I know and like Joe Duffy very much, but after listening to his RTÉ radio phone show in the afternoon for a while, I’m not quite sure I’d ever get out of bed.
o, our government gave away more than 11 billion euros of your tax dollars on Tuesday, making it quite tempting that the
The spokesman for the main opposition party, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty, said: “Well almost enough I’ve seen worse budgets and see you down in the bar in 10 minutes.”
Granted, that’s not how politics is played.
The good man from Ulster and the wonderful Gaeilgóir had to do the Joe Duffy thing and tell us all how some weeks of winter we’re going to die of cold and starvation on Tuesday after tea.
Or maybe not – at least not yet.
But the crazy stuff of racing memory sticks.
From 1924 and Ernest Blythe of the soon-to-be Fine Gael, we have then Treasury Secretary donating manna from heaven to generations of his future rivals from Fianna Fáil – including my own father, who could give this one a sock – and telling how the Ulster Presbyterian took a shilling off old age pension.
There is no point – even now – in repeating the economic situation and cogent arguments regarding the fledgling Irish Free State’s finances and the questionable nature of pension rights at all. Few remember Mr. Blythe’s devotion to the Irish.
Ernest Blythe was forever the miser who stole the shilling from pensioners.
But this tedious tale had a habit of repeating itself. Take the 1977 election campaign, when Fianna Fáil convinced a disillusioned nation that it was indeed possible to pull the country out of a recurring recession.
One of Fianna Fáil’s great stalwarts, Ray MacSharry of Sligo, cemented his career following this election. Later, as a hard-line Treasury Secretary, he conceded that the crazy 1977 election gifts had pushed the economy to the brink of bankruptcy.
But for another two decades we followed this kind of cliché-driven political-economic theme – Fianna Fáil spend and Fine Gael cut – which was often more fictional.
But there seemed to be enough popular folklore to back this up.
From 1982 to 1987 we had Charlie Haughey in the opposition leader Fianna Fáil, “against everything and for nothing”.
Mr. Haughey campaigned with some success for Fianna Fáil’s general election campaign in February 1987 with the slogan: “Health cuts hurt the old, sick and disabled.”
As head of a subsequent minority government, he was forced to enforce this type of cost-cutting policy.
But somehow the tired old cliché “Fianna Fáil donates” but “Fine Gael later cleans up” stuck around well into the 1990s.
Even Charlie McCreevy is often misquoted from 1999 for saying, “If I’ve got it, I’ll spend it.”
Telling this to great former colleague Gene McKenna, the native of Kill, Co. Kildare, who was once of that community, said – I don’t have it at the moment so I won’t be spending it.
So we continue through historical clichés. We find Ruairí Quinn as our first Labor Party Finance Secretary who has not smashed the cobbles and screwed up the country. It was led by Fine Gael’s Taoiseach John Bruton, who had been Treasury Secretary when the creaky minority coalition collapsed in late January 1982 over “women with small feet” or VAT on children’s shoes.
That briefly seemed like a Blythe-style pension skimming moment. But we were in the process of growing up politically.
While another election was needed, the anti-Fine Gael Labor group ultimately did not benefit from this childish costume.
The story of this one goes on a bit further and we could be here for a while to comb through it. But right now we’re back with Fine Gael – now in cahoots with Fianna Fáil – suddenly making $11 billion.
The prudent Paschal Donohoe suddenly found the codes for the ATM. He is no longer Mr. Prudence.
Does that work in election campaigns?
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/prudent-paschal-has-finally-learned-how-to-grease-a-voters-palm-but-history-shows-voter-gratitude-is-elusive-42028165.html “Prudent Paschal” has finally learned how to grease a voter’s hand, but history shows that voter gratitude is elusive