The search for leadership
DOES Brian Cowen read official documents? If he does, he must be aware that two authoritative reports have blamed Ireland's financial crisis overwhelmingly on domestic factors, led by government mismanagement and bankers' recklessness.
Yet in his radio interview yesterday the Taoiseach resorted to the stale tactic of blaming the collapse of Lehman Brothers two years ago. In addition, he pointed to the faults of the regulatory system. In both cases his excuses resembled those of his predecessor Bertie Ahern. Mr Ahern's current thinking supplies a prime example of the "denial" syndrome. He cannot bring himself to believe that as Taoiseach he contributed to the subsequent disasters. Indeed, he has convinced himself he could have prevented the crash, or "dug us out of it". Some may find that mildly amusing. But there is nothing amusing in seeing the present Taoiseach apparently falling victim to the same syndrome.
His interview may have given some little courage to the members of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party, who meet today for their annual 'think-in'. To the rest of us, it gave no reassurance and, supremely, no leadership.