Sunday 11 December 2016

John Drennan: Nasty soundbites are welcome addition to affairs of the State

After a decade of political 'Mr Nice Guy' exchanges, it's good to hear a little vitriol in the air again, writes John Drennan

Published 01/08/2010 | 05:00

WHEN it came to the spat between Michael Noonan and Dermot Ahern last week, it wasn't so much the quality of the exchanges that pleased us. We were instead delighted that our politicians hadn't entirely forgotten the art of the political jibe.

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It may once have been the case during the good old days of civil war politics that the habitues of Leinster House were famous for the quality of their vitriol. Sadly, like the grand old tradition of fighting in GAA matches, which is loved by the public and deplored by the Ger Canning-style school of sports stenographers, the political insult became yet another victim of the pious moral school of acceptable public discourse.

Instead, according to the rules set by Dan O'Brien and the rest of our new intelligentsia, it was decreed that politics should consist of endless debates about the ESRI and Transparency International Reports. This was all very good and moral, but ultimately the politics which the people like is informed by the old GAA 'blood and bandages' ethos whereby politicians are prepared to take a blow so they can inflict a bigger hit on their opponents.

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