Friday, May 23, 2008

Biffo's threats and waffle

The media has focused on Biffo's use of the “f-word”, but the serious example of unparliamentary language was Cowen’s series of explicit threats to have the leader of the opposition shouted down in the Dáil.

That was completely unacceptable, particularly coming from a Taoiseach. He should have been severely reprimanded by the Ceann Comhairle, made to retract it immediately and apologise to the Dáil. (He should now withdraw the threats and apologise on his next appearance in the Dáil. There would be no problem if he’d confined himself to asking Kenny to keep his hounds in check.)

Later, Cowen followed it up with some waffle about what his Government is doing to ensure consumers are getting the benefit of the euro exchange rate from retailers. He clearly didn’t believe his own spiel, even assuming that the relevant minister was actually doing something, because he felt it necessary to tell her, in the widely reported language, to get the finger out.

The opposition and the media need to identify and highlight all the waffle answers that are given by Government, both inside and outside the Dáil. The FF/PD axis has kept power for the past 11 years, largely on the basis of perceived competence, lacquered by the huge tax inflows of the Celtic Tiger period.
In tougher economic times, this is likely to be a fairly incompetent administration - in Health, Education, Transport etc. and it’s vital that the electorate actually realises this.

The message needs to be hammered home - repeatedly.

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