Bet you thought the stroke had died with Fianna Fail. More to the point, bet you thought the botched stroke had died with Fianna Fail.
And then, as if we hadn't had enough evidence that this crowd are no better than the last crowd, we get the Kevin Cardiff saga. And it shows up probably the fatal flaw at the heart of this Government. Which we'll come back to.
The story so far is that the European Court of Auditors is the body that oversees the spending of EU funds. In the current climate, it is a particularly important body. So the Irish decided to show our respect for the court by sending, as our representative to it, a man whom, you could now joke, we can't even give away.
Kevin Cardiff, our contribution to Europe in these dark days, was, as a senior official in the Department of Finance, a key player in the formulation of the bank guarantee that beggared this country. As the Cantillon column in The Irish Times put it recently, when discussing Cardiff's role in the guarantee: "Ministers were assured the banks' problems were ones of short-term liquidity rather than long-term solvency. That was the line the banks were selling and it was up to the Department of Finance to advise otherwise."
And because the dog didn't bark, we were railroaded into signing a blank cheque we were assured would never be cashed. Of course it was.
Kevin Cardiff played a key role in the EU-IMF bailout negotiations a year ago, which ultimately involved us accepting usurious interest rates in return for taking loans that Europe desperately wanted us to take.
Kevin Cardiff has also admitted that his department failed to predict the depth of the financial crisis, even as late as 2008. In the same year he told officials from the American embassy here that he was confident we wouldn't have to bail out the banks. That would happen within months.
Recently, Cardiff of course oversaw the loss of €3.6bn behind the couch.
A perfect candidate then to oversee Europe's accounts.
Kevin Cardiff certainly feels he is the man for the job. "I have no sense of letting anyone down because I've always done my best," he said when confronted with his record by appalled MEPs at the European Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control last week. As if he was in some kind of moralistic kids' cartoon where being the best you that you can be is all that matters.
"That's not to say I haven't made enormous mistakes," he casually conceded, pointing out that "in the middle of a crisis you make very big mistakes." Not a maxim I've ever heard before, but perhaps it's a Department of Finance motto.
Cardiff also defended himself for saying that the job of overseeing Europe's accounts would be a doddle. He meant apparently a doddle in comparison with the Department of Finance, where at night, you woke up "wondering if you'd made a mistake that would cost a billion". I wonder does he ever wake up at night now, and think back to the night of the bank guarantee, a decision that has cost tens of billions.
Shane Ross Business
But despite all that, the Government is hell-bent on getting Cardiff into the auditor's job. It has been widely reported that the reason he was being moved to Europe was because the Government wanted to get rid of him out of his current job and, it being a fat-cat public sector job, Cardiff can't be got rid of from it, despite the disasters that happened under his watch, unless he is rewarded with an even better and more important job.
It is clear at this stage that Cardiff's nomination, if it does succeed, will be under a cloud. Three weeks ago, a Quantum Research poll of 500 randomly selected people for this paper found that 80 per cent of people thought his nomination should be withdrawn. The figure would probably be higher now. But weirdly, all the objections to Cardiff seemed to make the Government more determined.
In fact, the Government didn't even tolerate dissent from within its own ranks. When Nessa Childers MEP voiced her opposition to the Cardiff stroke, she found herself at the receiving end of what she found to be very distressing, trenchant and sometimes quite aggressive calls from Labour's director of communications Des O'Gara and from Proinsias De Rossa. When she hung up on Proinsias one time, he rang her back to express his annoyance at being hung up on.
Childers was surprised too that no one rang her from the leadership of the party to ask her if she was okay. Of course, Eamon Gilmore denied any knowledge of the calls to Childers, though he too was another unlikely but passionate defender of Cardiff.
De Rossa and Gilmore and the boys didn't like it either when the committee in Europe actually rejected Kevin Cardiff's nomination. Everyone from the Taoiseach down had been working to make sure the committee did the right thing. Indeed, the Taoiseach personally disgraced himself and his office by basically going begging to Joseph Daul of the European People's Party (EPP), with which FG is affiliated, to put pressure on his people to vote for Cardiff.
In the event, EPP members refused to be embarrassed into it and they asked hard questions of Cardiff and refused to rubber stamp him for the job.
But even then, after the committee had voted, De Rossa and co didn't give up. De Rossa began to speak in doublespeak saying "the vote was not an accurate reflection of the hearing itself". Jim Higgins of Fine Gael blamed his fellow Irish MEPs for sending out "negative vibes" (or giving their views about Cardiff, as it's known). De Rossa went on to say that despite the vote, the head of the committee would be recommending the parliament vote for Cardiff anyway. And he said: "I will do everything I can to ensure that the parliament supports him". By Thursday, De Rossa seemed to have people changing their votes.
But then of course, on Thursday, the Government had found another way to force Cardiff on us. They ambushed Eoin O'Shea, the current incumbent of the auditor's job, the man who the president of the court Vitor Caldeira had wanted to stay on in the job, and the man whom custom and practice would have dictated stay on, as he had come in midway through a term.
The Shafting of O'Shea was a new low in the Cardiff stroke. A man who was brought in to discuss the work of the Court of Auditors was suddenly ambushed by a seemingly sneering Colm Keaveney TD about emails he had written about Kevin Cardiff. O'Shea wasn't the only one who had written emails about Cardiff and no doubt other emails were just as negative. But that wasn't the point. It allowed the Government to open the door again to its obsession with getting Cardiff in.
So what is actually going on here? Why is everyone who tries to stand in the way of this shoved aside so vehemently? Why are the wishes of the Irish people, and of the MEPs who voted on this, being ignored? Why are we, as a nation, humiliating ourselves like this? And why are old socialists like Eamon Gilmore and Proinsias De Rossa going so far out of their way for Kevin Cardiff?
Cardiff is everything they should hate. He was appointed by Fianna Fail. He is an insider earning huge amounts of money, being seemingly rewarded for his self-confessed mistakes in one plush job by being given another better one. He is, in most people's eyes, close to decisions that led to the ruination of the country. This is the kind of guy that De Rossa and Gilmore would be pillorying, if he had been party to similar damaging decisions and he worked in Anglo or somewhere.
So what is it about Cardiff that means that these two old comrades will do anything for him, literally putting their own reputations on the line to get him over the line? What is it that has them seemingly lose their reason to protect this guy?
Well, the only thing it can be, given that it is not his party affiliations and it's clearly not the brilliance of the results he achieved in his last job, is that he is in the public sector. Cardiff has to be looked after because he is a civil servant.
Is it possible that this has got nothing to do with reality or even politics, and more to with ideology? Is this how sections of the Labour Party are still working? Are they still working in the old socialist manner where everything -- reason, people, whatever -- can be sacrificed for ideology.
And that is why this story tells us everything we need to know about this Government. Suddenly we understand why old people will be booted out of their homes, why special needs children won't be allowed to go to school, why hospitals will be shut down, why everything will be sacrificed before they will touch a hair on the head of the public sector pay. It's ideology, stupid.
And given what they've been prepared to sacrifice for an insider like Kevin Cardiff these last weeks, the rest of us haven't a hope.