IN the wake of recent events, such as the most serious constitutional crisis since the Civil War (namely the controversy surrounding the Courts, the Oireachtas, Big Business, Fine Gael and the right to Free Speech), we should thank our lucky stars to have the very best politicians that money can buy!
We’re especially fortunate in these dangerous times to have as Taoiseach Mr Kenny, a hitherto rather undistinguished politico. His response to the argy-bargy has been sophisticated, and marked by artful subtlety and ingenuity. It can be summarised as follows: do absolutely nothing and keep one’s gob absolutely shut because soon this thing will blow over! How wise!
As a parliamentary tactic it was a masterly example of the way to deal with a very serious constitutional problem, and it was a timely reminder to the Lefties of the pointlessness in recalling the Dáil to discuss the so-called attack on free speech.
Indeed we were so impressed by his political expertise that we must confess to having made a serious error when we sniggered at his revamping of the Book of Genesis (2:4 -3:24) during the Marriage Equality referendum. Mr Kenny, as we all know now, was brilliantly successful in changing the gender of our First Parents, Adam and Eve, into Adam and Eddie. That, too, was a touch of class!
Yeah sure, in the noisy ‘protect our free speech’ atmosphere it’s easy to accuse him of turning the political virtue of silence into organised hypocrisy but we must acknowledge that the tactic was the right one at the right time. After all, what does one do when one is legally obliged to say nothing about the fact that one is not allowed to say anything about someone who said something, and who doesn’t want the public to know what that something is?
Ouch! Let’s rephrase that! The point at issue in the current political controversy is that neither the public, nor the media, nor the organs of the State, should say anything about something the courts have prevented everyone from discussing – if you get our drift?
And consequently, Mr Kenny’s lofty position of expressing his democratic right to say nothing ensures that the collective conscience of Fine Gael remains firmly under the control of ... well … someone.
Which is very important indeed, for a party whose legacy relating to free speech dates back to the heady days of Michael Collins and also, ironically, to the Blueshirt era of the 1930s and Benito Mussolini!
And that’s not taking into account Fine Gael’s madhouse rationalisations over the past four years of government, and the party’s contempt of its very own electoral agenda that got FG politicos into power in the first place. All of that stuff is now water under the bridge and best forgotten.
Especially when FG political theory advanced considerably last week, and the self-interest principle of saying nothing was absorbed into a new theory in which any expression of a controversial comment in the Dáil depended entirely on the legal applicability of the comment. That was new in relation to the Blueshirt corpus of political principles and easily absorbed.
One might even suggest that such a development brings Fine Gael into the school of Groucho Marx who famously said: ‘Those are my principles and, if you don’t like them, I have others’!
No corners cut
Indeed, the party’s apparent equivocation on how to deal with the knotty problems thrown up by the matter of free speech can be viewed as nothing more than another example of the party’s ‘principled’ approach to everything. Yes, everything: Property Tax, Water Charges, the off-loading of Aer Lingus in order to create a valuable fund for the general election in November, etc, etc.
Indeed, and we say this with total sincerity, the underlying orientation within the party has always been that of a principled and honest concern for the right to free speech. In other words, on condition that nothing is said in the Dáil or outside it about something that relates to someone who doesn’t want anything made public, everything in Ireland is hunky dory.
Thanks to Mr Kenny and Fine Gael, we can rest assured that no ethical corners are being cut, nor have the principles of Messrs O’Duffy, Mussolini, Cosgrave, Costello, Dukes and Fitzgerald been downgraded. Nor is self-interest becoming a principle in itself. Certainly not!
In basic terms, Fine Gael cannot be accused of anything other than of being careful – and, we hasten to add, the Lefties in RTE and in the print media should take a leaf out of the FG book.
And we also vehemently reject any suggestion that Fine Gael is tainted, or lacking moral courage because of the crisis.
And yes, we endorse the need for Fine Gael to have a demonstrable and relevant code of ethics when tricky matters of constitutional import are discussed in the Dáil. However, we’re sure the admirable Mr Kenny is well aware of the desirability of such a facility and that soon it will be at the fingertips of our excellent public representatives.
In the meantime, here’s a suggestion. Let the party inscribe in stone on the outside wall of 51 Upper Mount Street, Dublin (the Fine Gael HQ) Mr Kenny’s fine words that he uttered just three weeks after being nominated Taoiseach, and in the immediate aftermath of The Moriarty Tribunal Report.
His oration was of a value equal to Lincoln’s Gettysburg address and PH Pearse’s stirring address at the grave of O’Donovan Rossa. Here’s what he said: ‘This report (The Moriarty Report) will not be allowed to gather dust.’ (Cheers all round)
He vowed to ‘sever the links between politics and big business once and for all and, in so doing, achieve three fundamental goals: to stop the further pollution of our society, to re-establish a moral code and order regarding public life, and through that, to restore public confidence in politics and government’.
What’s more, it was Mr Kenny’s declared intention to recreate political virtue, rebuild public trust and restore our reputation.
‘It is no longer sufficient to do what is correct,’ he cried (just like the historic Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Cassius Clay): ‘we must do what is right’.
Man of the moment
A magnificent speech, indeed, and certainly not (as Hamlet might have said) ‘Words, words, words.’ What’s more, his discourse forms the basis on which we unswervingly affirm that Mr Kenny is worthy to follow in the footsteps of Michael Collins. Why?
Because he’s the only man in Ireland to lead us to the land of probity, integrity, uprightness, sincerity, political rectitude, best civic behaviour and strong moral principles.
Gawd bless his brave noble heart, we say. He’s our man of the moment!