AT TIMES the performance of a politician is so pathetic that one almost feels sorry for them.
But any pity one might feel for Luke Ming Flanagan as he copes with revelations that he had his penalty points wiped must be tempered by two facts.
Firstly, he has not been straight with the public about what happened until this week.
He was economical with the truth when he denied the allegation to the press last year.
Secondly, he has lectured the rest of us with all the indignant sanctimony of a demented parish priest.
And, like so many public figures caught up in scandal, he has the temerity to make out that he is some kind of victim who has had clemency thrust upon him by the powers-that-be.
So, a campaigning politician has penalty points for chattering on his mobile phone in a car cancelled, not just once, but twice.
That is bad enough. If he was a minister he would be forced to resign.
At the same time, this same garrulous traffic hazard was fronting a campaign to root out alleged wrongdoing in the Gardai, and in particular the wiping out of penalty points.
He was joined in this worthy enterprise by Mick Wallace, a confirmed tax cheat. As he came to his colleague’s aid on Morning Ireland, Wallace employed the ‘Some Like It Hot’ defence: “Nobody’s perfect.”
As the events unfold, one is reminded of Charles J Haughey and his response to a series of crises in the 1980s – “Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre, Unprecedented.”
What will happen next in the GUBU world of the Dail’s Technical Group?
Having now admitted that he wrote to Gardai in order to have his points removed, Ming now looks like old-style Fianna Fail with a reefer and a goatee beard.
The fact that he put himself up as a crusader against the disappearance of penalty points truly makes the mind boggle.
Although his original misdemeanours were minor, he is like the detective in the Agatha Christie story who goes to investigate a crime, and then turns out to be the perpetrator.