Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bloomsday again

It’s Bloomsday again and the posers have been out in force all morning around Sandycove and Glasthule. Lunchtime will be the signal to start the serious eating and drinking and, as usual, Caviston’s pavement is festooned with tables.

Doubtless Pete will be giving them all a reading from the great book while they try not to spill the vin rouge and/or gravy on their Edwardian outfits.

You have to hand it to Pete, he’s a great man for organising events. Today, he’s going to top whatever David Norris can manage in North Great George’s Street, for there’s a hearse drawn up outside Quinn’s Funeral Home and I’ll lay any money that Cavo is planning to recreate Paddy Dignam’s funeral scene from the book.

What a man of culture, truly Ireland’s very own Sir Les Patterson!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Greens fail the Principle test - again.

In recent days there has been considerable media kerfuffle about what transpired in a post-election telephone conversation between the leaders of Fine Gael and the Greens.

Given the size of the prize, would it not have been extraordinary of Enda Kenny had not given serious consideration to every possible political combination?

To his credit, principle triumphed over his ambition to occupy the Taoiseach’s office. The Greens, however, failed their test.

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Independent.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Exclusive: The Kenny-Sargent transcript!

The scene: Trevor’s office. Trevor is seated behind desk, making a phone call.
Gogarty is rolling around on leader’s shag-pile rug, doing his education spokesman impersonation and playing with his favourite squeaky rubber duck.

Trevor: Hello, Enda, any news?
Enda: Not looking good, I’m afraid, Trev. The numbers don’t add up – we can’t make it across the line. I’ve spoken to Pat and he agrees. He’ll stick by the accord but he’s worried about a completely hung Dail and the pressure that might put on Labour to go in with Bertie. He’s determined not to do that.
Frankly, he’s hoping you guys will cut a deal and get him off that hook.
Trevor: No way! I’d have to resign the leadership. Mind you, Gormless is chomping at the bit to do that deal and shaft me in the process. Ryan is wringing his hands and gurning, in his usual display of anguish, over the decision. But he’s been out to get me ever since we took the wheels off his presidential pram a couple of years back.
Enda: Well, that’s tough, Trev, but that’s grown-up politics for ya.
Trevor: Could we not cobble together enough independents?
Enda: No, it wouldn’t last 6 months – far too unstable to be credible. They’re mainly FF-gene poolers. The media would crucify me if I did a deal with Lowry and no price would be worth paying to have to listen to Finian posturing 24/7. No, Trev, I’m afraid we’re out of options this end.
Trevor: What about the shinners, have you spoken to the shinners?
Enda: Ah, will you feck off out of it Trev. There’s no way I’m doin’ any deals with the shinners. That’s a bridge too far.
Trevor: Well what if they were willing to support you from outside Government – you know, you don’t have to have them formally in the coalition.
Enda: I can’t see them going for that – they’re far closer to Bertie on the North than they’ll ever be to me. And I’m not prepared to give them any concessions now or in the future, just for their support.
Trevor: Jeez Enda, surely it’s worth a try? Do you want me to make a few discreet enquiries for ya? Sure there’s nothing to lose.
Enda: Well you can if you want, but remember, no promises. There’ll be no concessions now or in the future. Frankly, Trev, I think you’re wasting your time. The best thing for the Greens is to do a deal with Bertie and you start writing that principled resignation speech.
Trevor: Thanks a million, big fella.
Enda: What’s that squeaky noise I keep hearing in the background? Are you taping our conversation?
Trevor: No, relax, that’s only Gogarty playing with his toys.
Enda: And to think I was worried about an unstable Government. You should keep a close eye on that boy, Trev, he’s for the birds. Best of luck Trev, see you around the house. Goodnight and good luck.

Trevor disconsolately hangs up the phone.
“I suppose he’s right” he mutters to himself.
“Hey Gogarty, get off the feckin’ rug and stop playing around. Give me a hand drafting this bloody resignation statement”.

So, technically, Trevor may be misleading the public without actually telling a lie. That’s politics.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Modest Reviewer - is this a first?

Reviewing D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor in the Sunday Times, Max Hastings pays the author the following tribute:

“I find it galling that he has contrived to write a book that resurrects virtually no scrap of material that I used in a book of my own about the Normandy campaign 25 years ago. Instead, he has assembled a mass of unfamiliar sources, fresh voices and untold anecdotes to create a saga as impressive as his earlier narratives of Stalingrad and the battle for Berlin. He makes my version, and those of many other historians, seem old hat.”


Hastings is an author, historian and former journalist. I couldn’t help contrast the generosity of his review with the acrimony we’ve seen in the letters page of the Irish Times where Messrs Ferriter, Coogan and Jordan have slugged it out over their biographies of Dev and WT Cosgrave.

Wouldn’t it be an interesting exercise for the Irish Times to get each man to review the relevant books written by the other parties. Would any of the reviews approach the Hastings review in generosity of spirit? I suspect (ok, hope) that it would result in a fantastic bitching-fest, but one well disguised in polished academic-speak, but no less poisonous for all that.