Saturday 25 February 2017

Politicians playing music? Let them be whistle-blowers. . .

The news that Dan Boyle is recording an album is hardly music to the ears but it's certainly a jolt to the eyebrows. The former Green Party senator has endured a trying few months. Rebuffed by the voters of Cork South Central during the general election, he re-entered the fray only to be even more firmly rebuffed by a nationwide electorate during the Seanad elections.

Undaunted by the public's comprehensive rejection of his policies, however, Boyle has evidently decided that what the people need to hear now are his songs. When life gives you lemons, ask for salt and tequila.

Meanwhile, another refugee from the Fianna Fail-Green coalition has also been flexing his creative muscles. In the Dail, former minister Willie O'Dea argued that the previous government made a "serious mistake" by cutting the minimum wage.

But he neglected to mention that he voted for this serious mistake, and was among the most zealous advocates of claims that the outgoing administration was a model of astute economic judgment. When life gives you lemons, pretend they're part of a congratulatory fruit basket.

Amidst all the media analysis of the new Government's first hundred days, no attention has been paid to the psychological condition of key players in the previous coalition, the bums the voters kicked out with extreme prejudice. Yet, judging by the antics of Boyle and O'Dea, both wings of that dead dodo are comparatively unruffled and still flapping about as though nothing untoward has happened.

Toxic fallout from the errors perpetrated by the Fianna Fail-Green government, the decisions taken and evaded, continues to infect the lives of every citizen. We have a new Government now and plenty of ongoing troubles to confront, so the healthy approach would be to move on.

However, this remains impossible as long as the reprobates most responsible for our predicament refuse to admit their culpability, apologise for the blunders and leave the public stage.

O'Dea, it could be said, has some excuse for continuing to delight us with public interventions. After all, as one of the few re-elected Fianna Failers, he has constituents to represent and a party to rebuild. However, as he has conceded himself, bowing out is sometimes the right course of action.

O'Dea was recently obliged to repay €5,300 in expenses after attending the Dail for only 81 of the required minimum of 100 days last year. Explaining the discrepancy, he said his attendance record was good until he was forced to resign as defence minister. "I withdrew from public life for a short period in the aftermath of my resignation," he said.

O'Dea's wounded ego is understandable but the injuries inflicted on the nation by him and his colleagues constitutes a rather more pressing reason for public retreat. But then, hubris can provide an impregnable shield from reality.

Just look at Boyle's Facebook announcement of his musical endeavours. Whatever about the quality of his songwriting, one can only marvel at the Morrisssey-esque tone of defensive self-pity he struck in a couple of lines. "Realise that (the album) is likely to be viewed sceptically by some," he wrote, "but, when the time comes, will only ask that people give it a fair listen."

Yeah, that's the problem, the unreasonable public's reluctance to give plucky former politicians a fair crack of the whip.

The enduring inability of personnel from the Fianna Fail-Green coalition to face up to the consequences of their disastrous tenure in government is truly amazing, and a worrying omen for their own futures.

If these guys must express themselves, let them write memoirs detailing everything they know about the circumstances of the catastrophic banking guarantee.

If they must dabble with musical instruments, let them become whistleblowers.

Indo Review

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