My old friend Michael McDowell is at it again. Deceit on a grand scale. This morning on morning Ireland he was asked whether he was engaging in auction politics by offering OAP's €300 per week if they were re-elected, in response to Pat Rabbitte's stupefyingly brilliant 2% reduction in the lower rate of tax. You can tell when the government is spooked as first the Tánaiste, and then Brian Cowen, finance minister, get wheeled out, as the latter did on the news at one.
Anyway, back to McDowell. He of course denied the allegation, saying instead that this represented a fair deal to OAP's, a genuine slice of the wealth of the country that tehy were entitled to. The interviewer woefully failed to ask the logical follow-on question: you have been in government for ten years, why did you do nothing about this in all that time? Why have you this Pauline conversion now? (to twist Cowen's barb from the previous Sunday directed at the aforementioned Rabbitte) When exactly did you come to the conclusion that this was an appropriate amount for pensioners to receive, and why, for example, was it not €301 or €299?
This is not just auction politics, it is thoughtless politics. There are no considerations gone into this thing. Do Fianna Fail agree with this? Is this a policy that they share? The PD's don't have a programme for government, nor do they have a pact with Fianna Fail - who, by the way, are resting so hard on their laurels it's just not funny - so they can't implement anything they promise anyway.
McDowell. Makes the blood boil. A supposedly intelligent man, but devoid of idealism, of vision; a man poisoned by power, a galloping fool of a politician who will do well to hold onto his own seat, let alone the power of his party.
And as for the Fianna Fáil point - of all grassroots activists, Fianna Fáil have the oldest. They are getting older. They are more attached to the civil war than any other party, Fine Gael included - Fine Gael pretty much rid themselves of that baggage in that near existential moment in 2002 where people talked pompously of an opposition defeating themselves, an opposition voted out, and all that rubbish. Fianna Fáil after the Bertie money scandal have an air of superiority that is unparrallelled, an air of confidence, complacency and abject derision for the dissenting voice that makes one want to wretch. For God and Ireland I hope they get dumped into the ditches.
Maybe we can get better at the rugby then too, and have a Taoiseach who speaks English. I haven't forgotten his spelling mistake either - one careless, two unforgivable, and for a sitting, non-senile taoiseach? Capital.