Fine Gael’s examines its own ‘personality’

October 19th, 2020 11:40 AM

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Blueshirts no longer should be perceived as ‘detached’ and ‘alienated’ from popular aspirations and developments

What about this to tickle your fancy? Chairman of the FG parliamentary party, Richard Bruton TD, after months of anxious consideration as to where his party was going, has revealed details of the political examination of the party that he’s been carrying out.  

And, it’s a simple piece of information: Fine Gael, normally perceived as a dour, terribly earnest, serious-minded outfit wants to have such an upbeat, sunny and distinctive impact on the political scene that the plain people of Ireland will remember the golden days of Fine Gael’s participation in government for years to come.

‘Spot-on’ seems to have been the punters’ reaction to his efforts at examining the party’s ‘personality’. Oh yes! 

And, according to the party grandee, Blueshirts no longer should be perceived as ‘detached’ and ‘alienated’ from popular aspirations and developments – a political assessment that (sadly!) did not exactly take into consideration this year’s general election when a disgusted electorate booted out 15 Fine Gael TDs, including some who enjoyed ministerial bits and bobs. 

Of course, the charge that Fine Gael lacked ‘personality’ has long floated over the party, often leading to the suggestion that Fine Gael needed to embark on an internal review of the totality of the party’s character, political behaviour and appeal to the punter. Thanks to Bruton, such an investigation now seems to be on the cards.

New ‘reality’

But the party also needed to create a ‘personality’ that encouraged ‘solutions’ to the country’s long-term political ailments and ‘challenges.’

Bruton observed that nowadays people do not perceive the party to be ‘on their side’ and he was of the opinion that it was not good for FG to be ‘detached and remote’ from the problems that beset society.   

He suggested that Fine Gael political thinking needed to be enhanced by common sense. ‘The agenda moves very, very quickly,’ he said in a recent interview, warning that a party’s political capital also devalues very quickly. ‘That is one of the lessons of the election that we have to bear in mind.’ 

Importantly, his recommendation that Fine Gael construct a new ‘reality’ hit the nail on the head, particularly after the party’s humiliating loss of seats in Wexford, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin Bay South, Dublin North West, Meath east, Clare, Galway West and Limerick County. 

Worse still, Fine Gael was even more mortified when it ended up trailing Sinn Féin in the popularity stakes.

Brilliant plan

But, his proposal for the party to create  a ‘personality for itself’ contained a touch of genius in the sense that it went outside the box of social policies, political strategies and economic proposals beloved of the so-called ‘think tanks.’  These outfits generally are located in university research institutes and in the gigantic political brains of Indo-Sindo scribes. 

Importantly, Bruton wants something simple: policies that would encourage TDs and Senators to bring forward ‘solutions to long-term challenges.’  

And here’s why his plan is so ‘brilliant’: the party’s decision-making process should be accessible to the punters, thus narrowing the ‘huge gap’ between people’s expectations and where the party actually stands on economic and political matters. (Geddit?  No? Don’t worry, neither do we!)

Basically, the point at issue is that Fine Gael’s profound brain-power, which is at the party’s disposal, should be able to create the ‘personality’ that the party urgently needs. 

‘Personality’ was taken to refer to the character, aura, quality, mood and feeling of the party among TDs and Senators when tasked with rustling up solutions to society’s long-term challenges.  

A bit difficult to understand in one gulp but, wow, what a political genius is Mr Bruton!  

Better still, a ‘revived’ Fine Gael also would look at how to get more female candidates into a position to win elections and turn the Coronavirus thing into an electoral opportunity!  Not that the two aspirations are related, of course!

FG not flaccid!

Central to Bruton’s and Fine Gael’s ‘new personality’ idea is the formal goodbye to draughty halls, pubs and hotels for meetings. Future-time for Fine Gael has arrived and from now on the party will be part of digital space with the aid of Zoom.  

But, of course, bread and butter issues will remain a dominant feature of activity and growth, and the party won’t move too rapidly from prosaic things like housing, childcare, transport and whatever you’re having yourself Mrs Mulligan. 

Importantly, with its new ‘personality,’ Fine Gael will not be found wanting in the re-election stakes nor – as a prominent Dublin TD said – would the party ever again be left ‘flat-footed and flaccid.’  Flaccid? 

Flaccid or not, we wish Mr Bruton all the best in his great crusade.

Freud, by the way, once promoted a tuppence-worth of psychology regarding politics with a statement that curiously helps illuminate Fine Gael’s current dramatic search for a revamped party:

Politics, he said, is not an expression of personality. It is an escape from personality; which  might explain the plight of those lost souls currently wandering in the shadows of Leinster House!

Big Mick’s death

And now for something different, but kinda related: Former minister Mary O’Rourke referred recently to what she termed the ‘assassination’ of Michael Collins at Béal na Bláth.  According to historian Jack Lane, it was an inaccurate description of his demise.

‘Assassination’, Mr Lane explained, is the pre-meditated killing of someone particular and such was not the case of Big Mick.

Interestingly, an outfit called Síol na hÉireann, consisting of about 30 young, uniformed people, recently marched up and down at the ambush site, proclaiming ‘they would take no orders from sell-outs in the Dáil.’

At first we assumed they were a youthful reincarnation of Eoin O’Duffy’s Blueshirts who, many  years ago, often spent a pleasant afternoon at the site, strutting about and giving the fascist salute.

But no! This group was something else; and it was the following statement that alarmed us: ‘The Left has fought for decades to make their sacrilegious vision of Ireland a reality. But duty is passed down from one generation to the next.  The onus is now on every patriot to smash the new Ireland,’ a country they described as a multicultural paradise.

Who were they?  Don’t know!  Certainly not Republicans in the mould of Wolfe Tone.  

Probably a bunch of way-out anarchists and, if so, we can breathe a sigh of relief.  Why? Because, as anarchists, nobody will follow the rules!

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