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Bev fought the law and the law lost, thanks to FF's core values

THERE is no rational, logical explanation for the behaviour of the Taoiseach and RTE in the Flynn affair. None, that is, which is communicable in a language which is based on an Anglophone empirical culture of logic and law.

No, you have to resort to a language which incorporates witchcraft to understand the insane magic of what is going on. If you try to get to grips with it by using the concepts of rule by parliament, trial by ones peers and loyalty to the state, you will get nowhere - it's like serving blancmange with a spanner.

Now, I should really continue this column in Port au Prince Creole, which is a more congenial medium in which to discuss the peculiar voodoo of this case, but, alas, I think that would be beyond us all. I will therefore confine myself to English, knowing that I will probably fail. Because the appalling Flynn woman isn't at the heart of this wretched affair, but Fianna Fail's core values.

It's quite easy to understand what makes the PDs, Labour and Fine Gael tick. These are parties which use the English language as it used in other countries. Allowing for certain codes which any group uses when they speak, the PD/L/FG vocabularies generally reflect the morality underlying their various positions. But the Fianna Fail mind is quite different. In that strange world, public words can be so utterly unrelated to private thoughts.

This dissonance between thought and word is one of the defining features of Fianna Fail culture. That culture often seems to celebrate the absence of reason, logic or common sense. De Valera's election speeches which saw him elected as Taoiseach half a dozen times were weary, impenetrable essays in moral bombast, predicated on two promises: the re-integration of the national territory, and the restoration of the Irish language.


Now neither ambition was within the power of any government in Dublin. That didn't matter. The statement of these pieties had less to do with actual policy than a celebration of the Fianna Fail tribal identity; and that was of a conquered people who came to power.

Even today, Fianna Fail's morality is that of a conquered people, for whom law is a conqueror's instrument, and secret conspiracies the cultural norm. Loyalty, not law, is the abiding characteristic of the Fianna Fail family.

It what was made Tammany Hall the power-house of US politics. It enabled Richard Daly's electoral machine in Chicago to "disappear" ballot-boxes from Republican-voting areas, so stealing the election for John F Kennedy. It was what enabled Michael Collins to sign a Treaty even as he was planning a new IRA campaign against the very Northern state his signature was recognising. For Michael Collins was culturally Fianna Fail; only the accidents of history, and the deft Machiavellian footwork of de Valera, placed Collins in the camp which in due course would evolve into Fine Gael. And that party's roots lie in the Anglo-Norman commercial and strong-farming class which remained true to the Old Faith during the Reformation.

So, perhaps rightly, Fianna Fail sees itself as the true voice of Irishness. The party is at bottom a political assertion of that - and those who guard that identity are not to be judged by lesser, imported concepts, such as the "law".

Sean Lemass, perhaps the shrewdest operator Irish politics has ever produced, spoke a key truth when he observed that Fianna Fail was only marginally a constitutional party. For he wasn't talking about the wilder republican fringes, whose opinions shaded into sympathy with Sinn Fein, but about the greater party's attitude to the entire corpus of law.

For law is not unconditionally binding to the Fianna Fail mind; it is accepted, but reluctantly, and even then, only provisionally. The vast majority of the gallimaufry of fraudsters, crooks, spivs, corner-boys, liars and pickpockets who have slunk through our many tribunals over the past decade have been identifiably Fianna Fail. This is so obvious that it is not even commented on - but it should be.

The tribunals are a devastating insight into a society without morals, whose political culture was created by Fianna Fail.

Words don't define that culture, so much as nods and winks, and the wad of fivers in the back pocket at Galway Races.

And the extreme, female embodiment of that culture is the unspeakable Flynn-woman, a proven liar, a fraudster, a creature of no integrity, and a traitor who, in any state with a clearly defined public morality, would be in jail.

But she has that quintessential Fianna Fail quality of supreme arrogance. She clearly feels that she is above the law. And by God, she's right. She bloody well is.

THIS much I understand. But what I do not understand is why RTE, at this precise juncture, would agree to clear the way for her return to public life by waiving half her legal debts for costs, thereby rescuing her from the bankruptcy which she so richly deserves.

And if in time she gets a junior ministry, will the PDs and the Greens continue to support a government which contains such a crook? If they do, then it really is time to emigrate.