Saturday 27 August 2016

Ian O'Doherty : The spirit of Tony Gregory? No?

Published 03/02/2014 | 02:30

Silly sausage: Mick Wallace can play-act all he wants on his own time, but the TD should have more respect when he’s representing his constituency
Silly sausage: Mick Wallace can play-act all he wants on his own time, but the TD should have more respect when he’s representing his constituency
No laughing matter: Kanye feels that Kim is just as talented as actress/writer/producer Lena Dunham. He might be right. Photo by Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic

Like many people, I spent much of my school years flouting the dress code in any way possible. This was fuelled by a daring, revolutionary refusal to conform to the oppressive cotton shackles of something as, y'know, totally stupid and bogus as a school uniform. This adolescent posturing led to a few us of being called 'the Tony Gregorys' by one teacher in relation to the popular TD who, at that time, was most famous for refusing to wear a tie into the Dáil.

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"Ah, here come the Gregorys," he'd laugh when we'd turn up late for class, secure in our knowledge that sneaking a smoke behind the swimming pool was the height of sticking it to the man. We'd then be treated to a 10-minute rant where our our avowedly middle-class teacher would rail against the forces of scobyism.

For people like this teacher – who was actually a lovely bloke as long as he wasn't actually teaching you or talking politics – the late Tony Gregory and his stubborn refusal to wear a tie was the sure sign of a man not knowing his place. And such men, as we know, are dangerous.

Forget about Irish politicians smuggling weapons into early, Civil War-era Dáils; his tie-less appearance was an affront to decency. In fact, combined with his support for the radical communists in Dunnes Stores who were refusing to handle South African goods, our teacher was convinced that Gregory was a genuine threat to the natural order of things. And he wasn't the only one.

Fast forward a few years and where has Gregory's principled/pointless (depending on your point of view) stance left us?

With a bloke in a Torino top looking as if he's in his local, waiting for the 3.15 at Kempton to start. What would Wallace's predecessor make of it? After all, the Dublin TD caused what seemed like a constitutional crisis back in the 1980s with his refusal to wear a nice tie on the grounds that many of his constituents couldn't afford one. Did he hope that one day his torch would pass to a roadie for Mumford & Sons wearing a jersey emblazoned with the logo of an Italian sausage company?

After all, Gregory was making his stand as a comment on the social conditions of his voters. Do the people of Wexford all look like Italian Ultras?

Of course, we all rebel against dress codes, to one degree or another.

I seldom wear anything more formal than jeans and a hoodie and still prefer to dress down. Whatever about an angry teacher, you haven't laughed until you've seen the face of a furious TV producer when you turn up for a show wearing an American Libertarian party T-Shirt with the slogan 'Born Free, Taxed To Death.' So I understand Wallace's occasional forays into sartorial mischief.

But when I chose to wear an inappropriate T-shirt, I was representing myself. Not voters. Not constituents. Not people who see their TD as their only voice in the corridors of power.

Wallace can amuse himself in whatever manner he sees fit. But he is representing the people who voted for him, most of whom would, presumably, prefer that he looks even vaguely presentable. Or maybe they don't? Maybe they want their elected representative to express the same contempt for the Dáil that they feel. That's a rather short-sighted approach, but some people are so angry that any form of two fingers will do.

But here's the real point of Wallace wearing that jersey – can you remember anything he actually said?

Can you remember any moment when he made the Government nervous and unsteady on their feet?

No, of course you can't. But you can remember the top.

Funny that.


Yes, I know, I'm going to have to stop mentioning Kanye West but it's just so damn hard not to. After all, he's, probably the funniest man on the planet right now and I'm half expecting Chris Morris to remove the black face paint and admit the whole thing has been an enormous hoax. Now the latest person to be the subject of his fabulous fury is Lena Dunham.

As you know, the Girls creator is already mired in controversy over the photoshopping of her Vogue spread but Kanye thinks it should have been his fiancée gracing the cover.

He reckons Kim is more talented than Dunham – so let's see, shall we?

Well, one is the star of an intensely irritating show revolving around the lives of some airhead, narcissistic and painfully self-involved women and the other...

Oh, hang on.

Actually, Kanye, me ould mucker, you might be on to something with that one...


A City trader lost his company £400,000 in 30 seconds last week when he accidentally bought shares in HSBC.

His bosses have said the he was 'fat fingered'.

Is 'fat fingered' now a euphemism for 'f***ing dead'?

Irish Independent

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