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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 4, 2010 @ 11:29 am

    Thank God it’s Thursday

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    Having written a piece in Tuesday’s paper that the cabinet “reshuffle” would not take place that day and probably not the next, I feel a certain sense of relief at being proved right. Thank God it’s Thursday!

    Brian Cowen has shown himself eminently capable of springing surprises so I wouldn’t put money on any particular day, but it does look like Wednesday March 23rd, just a few days before the Green Party convention/annual conference in Waterford that weekend.

    It can’t really be next week, according to conventional thinking, because ministers will already be heading off to distant destinations for the St Patrick’s Day events, many of which take place before March 17th.

    It would be quite a coup for the Greens to get a second junior minister, although FF backbenchers will go mad – though they are still very unlikely to vote against the Government. Seems unlikely, but you never know. I’m putting “reshuffle” in quotation marks because there is no evidence at this stage that it is going to be a sweeping change.

    Despite all the internal turmoil in the Greens, it is difficult to see them walking out of government. Better wait for the economy to pick up and then pack your bags.

    Interesting result in last night’s election for chairman of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party. Tom Hayes was ousted by Galway veteran Padraig McCormack with the young Joe McHugh from Donegal in third place. The voting was: First Count, McCormack 26; Hayes 19; McHugh 15. Ten of McHugh’s votes went to McCormack and four to Hayes (I’ve got them mixed up: it was actually the other way round, as Barbera points out below) with one non-transferable, making it 30 for McCormack and 29 to Hayes. Close or what!?

    • Joanna Tuffy says:

      If it had been a tie it would have gone to McCormack under the PR rules, as McCormack had the most first preferences.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      It’s not like there are any serious issues to be faced up to by this shower of wasters with their golden pensions and expenses. So why shouldnt’ they take as long as they need to change the chairs around on the Titanic.

      Given the ‘talent’ – there’s a word used in its loosest sense – pool that Biffo has to pick from, if he replaced every single member of the government with a party colleague it wouldn’t matter a jot in terms of performance.

      The backbenchers who have all been happy to troop through the lobbies supporting every cutback and every dig-out for the party’s golden circle – no matter what the cost – are as culpable for creating the mess, and the refusal to face up to it and take responsibility for causing it, as much as anyone who sat at cabinet since 1997.

      Just goes to show again that Brian Cowen is utterly intellectually incapable of bringing any sense of urgency to any issue until he has checked how it affects the party above all else.

      Party first, second and third above all else.

      Not that we should have any high expectations for a small-town solicitor who has never worked a day in his life in the real world. Just like his calamity deputy.

    • Deaglán says:

      Are you suggesting Tullamore isn’t the real world? Not sure about that, old boy. Incidentally, you are a very bright man and your comments are highly-stimulating but, if you’ll pardon me for saying so, there is a slightly vindictive and less-than-totally-charitable streak there that may explain why you never became a candidate yourself. Or maybe you did?

    • El Leader Maximo says:

      Csre to enlighten us on Biffo’s past surprises ? Making a decision perhaps.

    • Barbera says:

      One is confused re the last paragraph Deaglán — the sums don’t add up or is it the wrong names are attached to the right figures or the right figures attached to the wrong names or is there some other mind-boggling element to the PR system that one doesn’t comprehend. That said, I’m off to absorb my daily dose of Des. Where would ya be without it!

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Deaglán, I think that Desmond is simply further down the road of frustration that marks a portion of the Irish public’s view of how politics is done here.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      I did before and I will again. Not just yet.

      I happen to fundamentally disagree with the notion that all politicians are honest or decent. Some are soem are not. Just like in life not all people are nice or honest.

      I also don’t agree that Cowen, Coughlan, Lenihan or Hanfin can be considered in any way to be descent given the moral standard they have as set for them by their fathers.

      Mary Hanafin’s father thought it was ok to take cash in brown envelopes in the penthouse of the Berekley Court, yet we’re meant to believe she understands the struggles facing people dependent on social welfare?

      Brian Lenihan Jnr’s father – and his aunt – sold his soul to keep in power the most corrupt politician we have had – that we know – in power. And for what?

      There are consequences when people vote for FF or turn a blind eye to the way it behaves, even if they themselves do not behave dishonestly, and people need to be face to finally face up to that.

      What sort of parent continually indulges a child who is a thief and a liar and is convicted of doign so time and time again. Most law abiding people blame the parents. If your child turns out to be a well adjusted successful adult you take the credit so why do people think they can avoid the responsibility when the opposite happens?

      So why shouldn’t I expect those people who vote for FF and, by doing so perpetuate the sort of political failures that rot the country from the inside out, to be held to account.

      Why is it so unreasonable to expect high standards in public life. Even higher than we’d expect of a mere ‘ordinary’ person.

      You have to be nice to these people because if you’re not they won’t give you access to the information you need to do your job. I’m not beholden to them in the same way and can call a spade a spade.

      And believe me I’m under no illusion that FG is perfect – but far better is a good start. Perfection can be attained in due course.

    • robespierre says:

      Deaglán – I’m glad you picked up on that from Mr. FitzGerald – I thought I was the only one to worry about his invective.

      Re. FG – there is an interesting aspect to the division bell. It seems to have chimed for the west against the rest. Possible hints towards divisions and alignments post Kenny.

      I still do not think Kenny will make the next election as leader.

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      I’m sure you’ve all read President Bartlett’s letter to candidate Obama in which he sets out why anger is good. I take my hint from Bartlett.

      If not, google it.

      Deaglán, can’t you correct my spelling and grammar before you expose my musings? I can’t be expected to do everything myself surely?

    • Desmond FitzGerald says:

      Isn’t it simply amazing how fast the government was able to move to get an investigation into exam inflation completed.

      Just goes to show when the right people say jump the government says how high.

      What a poor reflection on Irish society that abused children or those left to mercies of the HSE don’t have the same power.

      Barry Andrews almost had the grace to sound embarrassed at the pretyped meaningless pass the buck statement handed to him by his bosses at the department to read out – which he did in a monotone emotionless voice. Almost.

      Certainly not enough to prompt him to actually do anything about the issues raised.

      In the past few weeks we have seen the fruits of proper politics from two Fine Gael reps. Eugene Regan quietly working away on the O’Dea case and being derided for his efforts. Until he hit the jackpot.

      Then there is Alan Shatter who also diligently worked at the issues, and despite the obstacles put in his way by the government and the civil service, he finally gets the truth – full credit to civil servant who leaked the report to him. Nice to see some humanity from the Stalinist HSE monster.

      Just image the renaissance in government with people of their calibre in the governing party?

      Never in a million years could Fianna Fáil produce people like that or people like John Kelly.

    • barbera says:

      Sorry to go on about this Deaglán but
      You write
      First count McCormack 26
      Hayes 19
      McHugh 15
      Then you write
      10 of McHugh’s votes to McCormack: 26+10=36
      4 to Hayes: 19+4 =23
      but you write McCormack =30
      Hayes =29
      I’m not wrong
      Obviously you meant
      10 of McHugh’s votes to Hayes and
      4 to McCormack
      This is sooo not important — much more urgent now is to proof read for Des as he requested – one could be quite creative (hint hint) with the changes!!

    • Deaglán says:

      Thanks Barbera. I got them mixed up. D

    • Deaglán says:

      Padraig McCormack win was interesting. One would have thought that if FG wanted a change they would have gone for Joe McHugh as a younger deputy. The cynics say the other young bucks didn’t want him getting a leg-up because it would have strengthened his chances of a Cabinet post if FG got back into government. So they opted instead for Padraig as being less of a threat. So cynical, those cynics!

    • Joanna Tuffy says:

      It is good to have a wise older head in such a position. That is not cynical at all.

    • Deaglán says:

      Except those deplorable but usually well-informed cynics are suggesting he wasn’t chosen for his wisdom!

    • Joanna Tuffy says:

      I am in the dark about whatever those cynics are saying. He is feisty and argumentative, good characteristics in my view! Maybe the back benchers want a bit of that.

    • Deaglán says:

      It is being suggested that other young PP members did not vote for Joe McHugh because it would improve his chances of government office after the next general election and correspondingly reduce theirs.
      Feisty is good though!

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