Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time to fire John Deasy

It seems that John Deasy has been on Waterford local radio again - calling for a new leader in Fine Gael.

I believe Enda Kenny did enough to prove his capabilities as a leader - between reviving a Fine Gael party that was DOA after the 2002 meltdown, to mounting a credible campaign (look at the seat numbers!) , even to debating with Bertie - which he lost but wasn’t knocked out.

This despite an uphill struggle with the media - undermined by his own people with the Deasy/English intervention and then almost every interview opening with the question-mark over his ability/experience from a hostile/sceptical media.

I think the real problem for Fine Gael was the question in voters minds of the dubious quality of the FG team behind Kenny. Who are the FG front bench and where were they during the debates?

Richard Bruton (knee-high to what now?) performed well - but isn’t a natural street-fighter. Olwyn Enright gave Mary Hanafin a hard time, soundly rebutting her claims without ever getting shrill. Who else performed well for FG in the national media?

Simon Coveney is nice but not assertive enough when faced with Brian Cowan or Dermot Ahern. Indeed, FGs decision to put Coveney on Q&A and Morning Ireland in the final days of the campaign was a big mistake.

Meanwhile, FF has an array of seasoned heavyweight street brawlers and used them to good effect on a daily basis, at their own press conferences and in media debates. Incidentally, RTE did FG no favours during many of the bouts, the referee was noticeably absent when many low (and loud) blows were thrown.

If FG are serious about getting into power, they need to forget the Queensberry rules when they’re in the ring with FF heavyweights.

The first step for Kenny should be a review of the front-bench talent and potential in the new intake. They really need to start now, sending these people to political boot-camp, sharpening up their Dail and media performances.

Kenny should remain the leader, at least for the next 2-3 years, unless and until a credible replacement has the opportunity to show him/herself. One thing I’m sure of - it shouldn’t be John Deasy.

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