The truth hurts. Nobody knows this better than Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, long-time linchpin in a party with a shameful history of corruption and incompetence. In a stunt worthy of his most devious predecessors, however, Martin (pictured right) has concocted a fiendish plan: he will use the ugly truth about his own party as a weapon to hurt his opponents.
Martin has accused Enda Kenny of behaving like a dictator, adding poison to the lance by likening Kenny to Charlie Haughey. Inter-party name-calling is hardly news, but Martin's deployment of the H-bomb is remarkable. Ordinarily, Haughey and his henchmen are never mentioned by Fianna Fáil bigwigs – for fear of reigniting some explosive questions.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. Party bosses have now chosen attack as the best defence, and they have much to be defensive about. These are the guys who shielded Bertie Ahern. They are also the geniuses who told us Brian Cowen is a smart man.
Invoking a former Fianna Fáil leader's name as a political insult is a brazen move by Martin. Nevertheless, it's in keeping with the guiding principle of the party's rebranding strategy: the confident belief that much of the electorate was born yesterday.