On the Polls: tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár
An bhfuil cead agam dul amach anois?: while we wait for the leaders of the main political parties to debate their policies and plans in the new national languages of Polish and Chinese (have any parties reached out to immigrants …
An bhfuil cead agam dul amach anois?: while we wait for the leaders of the main political parties to debate their policies and plans in the new national languages of Polish and Chinese (have any parties reached out to immigrants who live and pay their taxes here, by the way?), fans of political discussions in other languages will have to make do with last night’s leaders’ debate on TG4 in Irish. The debate reminded me of an oral Irish exam: you learn the answers off by heart, you hope the right questions come up and then you wait for the English translation. The fact that the debate was not broadcast live because they had to translate the answers into English says quite a lot about the majority of the country’s engagement with the first official language. The winner of the debate? Presenter Eimear Ní Chonaola, who was a far better – and tougher – chairperson than either Pat Kenny or Vincent Browne were in their respective jousts – and she managed to get the three party leaders in the one room.
The Green machine: God loves a trier and John Gormley is certainly a trier. This week, Johnboy reminded me of an unhappy Premier League football player trying desperately to engineer a move to a new team. In the Green leader’s case, he was making googly eyes at Fine Gael and reminding them that the Green Party would be happy to come onboard if they were needed. All fine and well, but there probably won’t be any Green Party TDs to vote for Enda as Taoiseach on March 9 so the Greens should really make do with sending a congrats card and a tin of Celebrations. Still going Green, there’s a very good analysis by this paper’s environment editor Frank McDonald on the Green’s achievements – and failures – in government. Speaking of failure, there’s a question mark over those thousands of green economy jobs which are always mentioned by the Greens (especially Eamo Ryan). Has anyone actually seen a breakdown of these green economy jobs? Or are they the temporary, part-time home insulation gigs, the Green equivalent of those “hundreds” of jobs in Tesco shops?
I had that Gerry Adams in the back of my taxi last week: during the 2002 general election, there was much derision as then Fine Gael leader Michael Noonan went around the country promising digouts and compensation to everyone from Eircom share-holders nursing a loss on their investment to deregulated taxi-drivers. It seems that Sinn Fein have had a sup of that kool-aid too with their plan for the taxi industry. So far, nine people have liked the plan on Facebook. Wonder what Michael Pierse makes of the initiative?
Drama queen of the week: Dublin South East independent would-be (there’s a lorra them) Mannix Flynn flounced dramatically out of the National Campaign for the Arts hustings at Dublin’s Project Centre on Valentine’s Day. Mannix was Not Happy at what he saw as “arts administrators huddled together in self-importance”, “a graveyard of no ideas”, “vested interest groups and would be politicians” (pot, kettle, black) and a forum which was “patronising and insulting to artists”. It got the artist and Dublin City Council dude some publicity, which was probably the aim of the game as Mannix has to do something to counteract the Dylanmania which has swept the city like a toothbrush since the campaign began.
Knock, knock: anecdotal evidence has it that there are less and less canvassers going around knocking on doors and waking up the kids this time around. Maybe those brave TDs and would-be TDs are afraid of the reception on the doorstep? OTR feels a little unusual this election because our humble door-knocker in Dublin North Central has been molested so far by Fianna Fail (Sean Haughey), Fine Gael (Naoise O’Muiri) and Labour (Aodhan O’Riordan). We’re still hoping Finian McGrath will show his face to explain why he supported Bertie Ahern in 2007 and the bank guarantee scheme in 2008.
The Portillo list: it’s getting close to game-time and game-time means predicting which 30th Dail stalwarts you hope will not make it back to the 31st hooley. The Portillo list takes its name from Tory party lad Michael Portillo who was dramatically unseated in the 1997 UK general election to the delight of many thousands watching on TV. While a lot of the TDs which people would like to see kicked out have already scarpered (the likes of Bertie Ahern, Mary Harney and Dermot Ahern to name three smug feckers from the last Dail who quit politics to spend more time with their pensions), there are still a couple of TDs from the government ranks who may well provide some giggles on Election County night. I’d love to see the back of Dick Roche, Eamon Ryan, John McGuinness, Frank Fahey, Sean Haughey and Mary O’Rourke but I have a feeling all bar Eamo and Haughey will scrape back in. So who is on your Portillo list?