Behind the smugness is a clueless Brian Cowen
In the current economic turmoil the Minister for Finance should be showing all the hallmarks of a potential leader. He is failing miserably, writes Alan Ruddock
The more time passes, the less impressive Brian Cowen becomes, and the more we realise that he has only one gear. Cowen may be a consummate bar-stool debater, he may be able to bully and browbeat opposition spokesmen or media interviewers, he may be able to digest and regurgitate a brief from his officials better than any of his Cabinet colleagues, but he is no statesman. On Friday, he was given an opportunity by RTE's 'News at One' to calm the nation's jitters about the current financial turbulence, but instead of reassurance tempered by concern, we were treated to the narrow politics of a Fianna Fail party hack.
On the economy he was complacent, bordering on smug: we'll be fine, he said, because his December budget was a minor miracle in foresighted economic management.
On the stock markets, he was dismissive. The current chaos was a simple correction, caused not by market fears of what was coming next but by market overvaluation in the past. Nothing to worry about, really, just speculators getting their fingers burned.