Tuesday 27 September 2016

The Sun shines for the think tankers

Lucinda, Keith, your vision of employment opportunities has won me to Renua, writes Gene Kerrigan

Published 11/10/2015 | 02:30

Cartoonist: Tom Halliday
Cartoonist: Tom Halliday

What a treat awaits us when we step into the polling booth. From Enda to the Sensodyne Man. Truly, we're spoiled for choice. And to enhance that choice, I'm seriously considering joining Lucinda Creighton's mini-party, Renua.

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Choice, choice, choice. It's what democracy's all about.

On the one hand, we can choose right-wing Fine Gael. These days not nearly as ferocious as their fascist forebears, the Blueshirts. Instead, they mix free-market fetishism with obsequious deference to the European Central Bank.

On the same hand, right-wing Fianna Fail. These days not nearly as obviously "connected" (if ya know what I mean) to the 3B cartel - builders, bankers and other conniving bastards.

Fianna Fail was formed in 2011 and has no link whatever to any previous party of a similar name.

Technically, they're the Opposition. However, since they share the politics of Fine Gael, differing only in tribal history, their opposition is token. And often shame-faced ("We're saying this, but, sure, you know we don't believe it").

Still on the same hand, right-wing Labour. Not nearly as socially concerned as the party was when such sentiments were fashionable. These days compassion and reform are expressed by pushing single mothers out of the workforce and viciously smearing the unemployed.

And because some people believe you can never have too many right-wing parties, Lucinda Creighton set up Renua. It was founded on right-wing economics. And a belief that politicians should be allowed to act according to their principles on such issues as abortion.

Renua, of course, firmly rejects extending that right to anyone other than politicians.

How adorably quirky.

The choices continue.

The Greens. Although they claim to have left-leaning politics, the tree huggers have a right-wing record. When push came to shove, they stood loyally by the bankers.

Should the Dail run out of right-wing policies, Shane Ross and his small band of independent deputies have a suitcase full of them.

In the centre, Sinn Fein. Desperately eager to appear responsible. Hoping this will stop the media attacks (it won't). Yet grounded in the knowledge of what the right wing have done to the country. The Shinners are in danger of meeting themselves coming back.

Once known in my circles as Fianna Fail With Guns, Sinn Fein is now known as Labour Without the Mercs (yet).

Verging into the left, we have a collection of individuals and left-wing party members who have done much to save what little reputation the Dail has left.

Clare Daly, Catherine Murphy, Roisin Shortall, Joan Collins, Mick Wallace, Richard Boyd Barrett, Paul Murphy and Stephen Donnelly have a mixture of politics. But they and others have provided an effective opposition - often far more detailed and thought-through than is usual in the Dail.

And that's pretty much it.

Like I say, it's all about choice, democracy is.

Take Keith Redmond. Keith has never lacked the courage to choose what he saw as the way forward for his political career.

You may know him as the Sensodyne Man. Remember the TV advert where the Irish dentist talked about "acid erosion"? Yep, that was Keith. If there's anything Keith feels strongly about, it's loss of surface enamel. It can, Keith will tell you, result in you ending up with translucent teeth.

Keith feels almost as strongly about the need for right-wing politics, of which there is far too little in this country.

Keith entered the political arena in 2007, when he stood for the Dail as a candidate of the Progressive Democrats. The PDs were a small but pungent party that pushed right-wing policies while its partner in coalition, Fianna Fail, was off collecting "legitimate political donations" from the 3B cartel.

Unfortunately, Keith flopped. Happily, in last year's local election he squeaked in. This time, since the PDs were kaput, Keith was flying the Fine Gael flag.

Described as a "high-flyer" by Journal.ie, Keith is clearly no lightweight. He was spoken of as a strong contender for a Fine Gael Dail seat in Dublin Bay North. Alas, it was not to be.

In January last, Keith responded angrily to the dropping of the Page Three tradition in the British Sun newspaper. This followed a campaign by feminists.

Keith used Twitter to lash out at "feminazis" who had now "made lots of other women unemployed".

Mind you, there were some "politically correct" people who insisted that such topless photos demean women. The notion that stripping for the camera is an employment opportunity that needs protecting is - well, rather novel.

Mind you, some got angry that Keith equated feminists with the German fascists who laid waste to large areas of the world and carried out a campaign of genocide.

Keith issued a perfunctory "apology". He didn't get the Fine Gael nomination.

And last week came the news that Keith had gone to Renua. He could, he said, no longer tolerate the "nanny state" policies of Fine Gael.

What a loss. And what a gain!

Perhaps Renua could think of running Keith in the coming election?

Just a thought.

It turns out that Keith is one of three founders of Hibernia Forum, a right-wing 'think tank' that has recently made its presence known.

The other two are Cormac Lucey, former 'special advisor' to Michael McDowell, one-time leader of the PDs. And Eamonn Delaney, a former diplomat.

We can expect to hear buckets more about flat taxes, nanny states and freedom from political correctness.

Traditionally, high-flown rhetoric about "big government" translates into social protection cuts when the banks need another handout.

Not to worry. The happy conjunction between Renua and the Hibernia think tankers is sure to provide us with almost as much fun as the Iona Institute.

And, of course, RTE reporters will have even less need to think about the stories they're covering - just let the people from foundations, institutes and forums lay down the simple facts.

Some complain at Enda refusing to make up his mind. That's not fair. Enda tells us when the election is to be held. But he doesn't make the decision. That's made by an anonymous team of electoral technocrats, who use very expensive surveys and focus groups to measure every political and social breeze that might affect the result.

They tell Enda the optimal date, they tell him where to stand, what to say and what to wear. This is not democracy, it's marketing.

Lucinda welcomed Keith to her party. Big smiles. Might she welcome me?

And, after the election we'll play the numbers and support the New Austerity Regime. Keith, no doubt, will dominate our parliamentary party meetings.

Lucinda and I, along with the rest of our victorious team, will sit around our polished oak table. And Keith will hold up old copies of Page Three of the Sun.

I look forward to seeing Keeley from Chelmsford or Jakki from Merthyr Tydfil opine on the issues of bygone days, while wearing nothing more than a smile and a thong.

Salacious, you call it? Titillating, you say?

Not at all. We'll merely be reviewing Renua's employment policies.

Sunday Independent

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