Friday, February 05, 2010

I have done the state

The excellent Taoiseach series on TV3 - it's full of rich anecdotes from the past. When Reynolds cleared out the cabinet after he took over, Mary O'Rourke sought a meeting to protest her case. Reynolds' response, God bless him, was to tell her "to get put of here with your ould guff". Dick Spring also recounted how Reynolds' idea of consultation was to tell Spring what decisions he had made. The rock on which he subsequently perished - with the Harry Whelehan business. One constant since W. T. Cosgrave relinquished power to De Valera is the complete absence in Fianna Fail of any set of beliefs or coherent political philosophy. It's all about the acquisition of power and the dispensing of the subsequent largesse. It shows in events like Albert Reynolds' blithe acceptance of Dick Spring's Labour coalition demands in order to remain in office. I also liked Justine McCarthy's succinct put down of Haughey - she reckoned he should have shortened his risible quotation from Othello to "I have done the state".