John Drennan: Shatter 'the intellectual' running out of advocates
The justice minister may have survived but his political credit has been severely depleted, writes John Drennan
LAST week provided us with the proof that if you want to suck the air out of a political crisis, the best way is to put forward a motion of no confidence in the errant politician. If Alan Shatter wasn't politically safe before the Fianna Fail motion, by its close, as a stream of ministers from Enda Kenny to Pat Rabbitte and Michael Noonan, but not Joan Burton, issued tear-filled sermons about the gentle reforming minister, the Dail chamber bore a closer resemblance to a soccer testimonial than a witch-hunt.
However, though Shatter may for now be off the political ducking stool, the Justice Minister's political credit amongst thinking politicians has been severely depleted. It is impossible to underestimate the importance of character in politics and Shatter's Toad of Toad Hall persona when dealing with such lower beings as common gardai has been given a comprehensive airing.
The reputation of the Justice Minister and the Garda Commissioner has also been severely damaged by the image of the minister and his commissioner gossiping like a pair of old wives in Last of the Summer Wine over such perceived threats to the Revenue Commissioners, our apologies, the State, as Mick 'the VAT dodger' Wallace.