Sinn Féin poll gain a blow for Fine Gael

February 10th, 2020 12:00 PM

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Mr Vlad’s distinguished and respectable party slumps to third position for the first time in living memory

HOW dreadful to see Vlad Varadkar’s morally exalted Fine Gael at the receiving end of a metaphorical thump up the throat!

And yes, the pain (metaphorical, of course) that was felt at the Sinn Féin gang surpassing respectable parties (such as Fine Gael) in approval ratings was very hard to take. Indeed, the growth of SF can be described as abominable and ... (at this point narrator takes a deep breath) ... unspeakably horrendous and ghastly!

Words fail us!  Mr Vlad’s distinguished and respectable Fine Gael party slumping to third position for the first time in living memory and those dastardly Shinners, in the cruellest cut of all, jumping ahead! We cannot describe the unnatural event in any other way than shockingly wicked, evil and vile!

Spare a thought, too, for poor Mr Mickey Martin, that wise and competent politico, who also struggled (presumably) to get a handle on the catastrophe. With what sounded like a gasp of desperation from the pit of his political innards, he told the meeja that he was quite satisfied ‘in terms of leading Fianna Fáil into the general election campaign’ and that he was sure his party would ‘out-perform’ Sinn Féin, despite the latter’s surge in popularity.

What’s more, speaking directly to the plain people of Ireland, he promised that Fianna Fáil would never sidle up to the SF party, nor would SF ever have a ‘realistic chance of being in government.’

Less-dogmatic leader

And yet, despite FF and FG appeasing the anxieties of those who want the Establishment to sort out the Republicans (electorally, of course), the lingering suspicion is that SF will manage to go into the general election clean and fresh, uncontaminated by the type of corruption scandals that have afflicted their political opponents in recent years.

Interesting, too, is the perception that Mr Mickey Martin’s strategy for dealing with Sinn Féin is based on the assumption that if no one does anything to help or support the SF party – or have any contact with it – the monster will die, fade away and gradually come to an end.  Wither on the bough, sort of thing.

Problem is, as asserted by daring but out of fashion ‘Young Dev ‘ supporters, Mr Mickey Martin is wrong. SF already is in the process of sweeping up support that historically fell within the remit of its opponents, Fianna Fáil, which is an irony, indeed!

Some critics, particularly Northerners, argue that if Martin and his crew were prepared to accommodate SF with a role in running the State – for instance, as part of a government coalition – electorally Fianna Fáil would do better.

But, for that to happen, the Soldiers of Destiny require a leader less dogmatic than Mickey who is perceived as the wrong person to be leading Fianna Fáil at this critical juncture. Ideally he should be replaced.

Indeed rank and file Soldiers of Destiny claim they can detect in the Fianna Fáil leader’s attitude towards Sinn Féin

an echo of Groucho Marx’s famous observation: ‘I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member!’

It’s a one-liner that one day might have to be chiselled on a special headstone for the entire Fianna Fáil party in the historical failures section of Glasnevin Cemetery!

And what about Fianna Fáil’s best butties, Fine Gael?  Would they go into government with Sinn Féin? Vlad has said absolutely not, although in this age of political cynicism, the idea that politicians are sincere about their pledges is as valid as a poker player swearing never again to wager on a pair of Queens.

Paschal’s soapbox

And now for something amusing: the moment the election campaign floated into the realm of the surreal and the hallucinatory. It happened when our eminent Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe mounted gingerly what he called his ‘soapbox’, and which he brought from his offices in the Department of Finance onto the street.

Having assured himself of the robustness of his ‘soapbox’, he mounted it and launched into a resounding speech to passers-by on why he should be re-elected. Sadly, no one stopped to listen even though a ministerial aide filmed the scene which was later transmitted on YouTube.

As a publicity stunt, it was a gem.  The sad bit was that nobody acknowledged the significance of the occasion – perhaps because our very eminent Finance Minister reminded them of the scruffy orators at  Speakers’ Corner in London who brave the elements and insults to get across their zany message.

Realising after some minutes that nobody gave a tosser, Paschal descended from his rickety box and departed. Later, online commentary hilariously referred to the ‘weirdo’ on the soap box spouting about the country’s financial situation.

As an unusual oratorical event it fitted the bloggers’ description as ‘unhinged’ and that no one ‘had ever seen anything like it.’ The video quickly disappeared! Pity!

Apologies for losers

Apologies are a risky business, especially when the expressions of regret are uttered by  politicos who, let’s face it, are A1 sinners. A very large pinch of salt is required if one intends to swallow their efforts at expressing remorse or contrition.

Donald Trump is a case in point.  As far as he’s concerned, apologies are for losers!

So when Fine Gael election candidate, Senator Catherine Noone, described her boss, Vlad, as ‘autistic’ and that he was ‘ignorant,’ the country held its breath in expectation of an almighty in-house ‘domestic’ – to be followed by fulsome apologies.

After all, ‘autistic’ was not a nice word to throw at poor Vlad, while ‘ignorant’ can mean loudmouthed, obnoxious, bigoted, self-important or smart-ass, none of which in any way would be a fair description of our Taoiseach.

Vlad’s response was low-key.  Nothing happened other than the lady politico ‘unequivocally’ apologised, ‘withdrew’ all her remarks, said she was ‘truly sorry.’

She then asked for ‘a top-level media interview’ to explain her comments. The party categorically refused her request (the ‘top-level media interview’ was a touch of class!).

More media exposure

Fine Gael was quite right, of course.  Grovelling apologies are now the ‘in-thing’ – and the more controversial, the more the media exposure.   

For instance, nobody took seriously the apologies from four senior members of Fianna Fáil who confessed to voting on behalf of pals who were absent from the Chamber when decisions of national importance were decided.

It was like Pope John Paul II’s absurd request for forgiveness for the Crusades, the Vatican’s treatment of Galileo and the Church-approved Spanish invasion of Mexico. Big yawn!

Or, Bill Clinton’s apology for America’s overthrow of the King of Hawaii in 1893, and Tony Blair’s regretful acknowledgement of potato famine in Ireland!  Another big yawn!

Fact is that saying sorry for things we personally haven’t done smacks of hypocrisy. Why should we be held accountable for the crimes others have committed?  Mad!


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