Friday, June 11, 2010

Richard Bruton - a political jack-in-the-box

On Thursday night, when the results of the latest Irish Times/MRBI poll were known, Richard Bruton appeared on RTE’s Prime Time and TV3’s “Vincent Browne at the Palladium”.

On both programmes, he was invited to endorse Kenny's leadership and singularly failed to do so. Instead, he behaved like some shy teenager being teased about fancying some young one.

This wasn’t just a display of disloyalty, it was gross political stupidity.

Regardless of his feelings about Enda Kenny or his own desire to lead FG, he has to endorse the current leader in public, when specifically asked about it by the media.

Instead, what he has now done is to provide ammunition for the media and opposing political interests, including Labour, to focus on FGs problems and deflect attention away from

(a) the banking stew in which, rightly at last, Biffo finds himself and

(b) the populist vapidity of Labour's utterings on how to resolve the public finance deficit

Those TV performances were akin to Bruton shooting himself, and his party, in the foot.

In the loner term, Richard Bruton’s performance regarding the banking crisis has been pathetic. His original proposal, repeatedly revised in light of ongoing criticism, was complete nonsense. Even with the revisions, his proposals have been rubbished by two of his former party leaders, and no recognised expert has endorsed them.

In the past year, Bruton has transformed himself from serious commentator into a political jack-in-the-box joke, jumping up and down with every market movement, desperately trying to score populist political points, instead of maintaining his gravitas.

The last thing FG needs is a shrill new leader named Richard Bruton (or that tiresome whinger Lucinda Creighton).

What they do need is some cop on, more political bottle and a display of loyalty to their current leader. Otherwise, they will let both FF and Labour off the hook and lose even more market share.

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