Gene Kerrigan: Blatantly unjust politics takes fun out of dissent
At least rogues like Haughey gave hacks outlandish spin to deride, says Gene Kerrigan
There was a time when a gig as a dissenting newspaper columnist was relatively easy. Charlie Haughey, for instance, was a joy to write about. He lied and thieved with barely an effort to keep the smirk off his face. The obsequious party faithful bowed and grovelled, delighted that such a great leader had consented to pick their pockets. Back then, the gig for a dissenting newspaper columnist involved remembering what Charlie said a few months earlier, taking it out of the files and laying it down beside what he was saying now -- and bingo, watch the penny drop. Wake up, suckers, the guy's a chancer.
But no matter what the little crook did, there was always a solid core of Fianna Failers ready to kiss his hind quarters.
Later on, I enjoyed my work whenever a new packet of money turned up in one of Bertie Ahern's bank accounts. "I won it on a horse", Bertie would say. Or, eh, that was a "dig out". And the other money, the sterling deposits, well, "I didn't get that, I never got it -- oh, wait now, I think I must have changed punts into sterling when I wasn't looking and -- ah, Jayzus, why don't yez all bugger off and commit suicide?"