Thursday 25 April 2019

'Tis Bertie's summer of love

Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

BERTIE Ahern is becoming increasingly like one of those merry widows you hear about. Having got over the shock of losing his main raison d'etre he is now surprising himself by finding that in fact there is more to life than being Taoiseach. And he seems to be having a ball. And like any merry widow, he has his detractors, those who feel it is inappropriate of him to be seen out so soon after his bereavement. And boy, if Cowen and co wanted him to go away before, after last week they must be considering putting a hit out on him.

And Bertie doesn't seem to give a damn. He keeps popping up everywhere. He casually told Ryan Tubridy the other day that he would have, of course, dealt with this recession, even making a cheeky "dig out" joke. And then he pops up on The Road To Croker apparently without a care in the world. As the rest of us look on at Bertie's summer of love it's like seeing an ex that you dumped out on the town every night with a different guy while you, the one who did the dumping, is starting to regret your decision.

The sniping about Bertie's performance on The Road to Croker was of course politically motivated, but it was dressed up as technical criticism, like that he was a bit wooden reading the autocue. Which is to miss the point entirely. You can teach a monkey how to read an autocue. What you can't teach even some of our highest-paid broadcasters is how to listen to guests. And that's what Bertie did. The thing that mattered about Bertie on The Road to Croker was what always mattered with Bertie. It was that feelgood factor he radiates.

For an hour there was no recession, no bad weather and everything was alright. A bit like when you heard Bertie saying on Tubridy how he's going to be working on projects with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. You thought, 'That's a weekend away I'd like to go on.' As against if Brian Cowen invited you to hang out with him and Gordon Brown and George W.

As we deal with our current grumpy bird, Bertie is reminding us how good we always felt when we were with him. And how we always looked on the bright side of things. We need the Bertie Aherns of the world right now.

Guys like Darren Sutherland. Did you notice how thrilled Darren Sutherland was after he lost his fight on Friday? He'd got a bronze and he acted like nothing could have been better than that. And we believed him. We believed when we listened to him that bronze was the new gold. And that's what we need right now, guys who can convince us that bronze is gold. Never mind Cowen addressing the nation -- every day at noon, Bertie Ahern and Darren Sutherland should address the nation. And tell us that everything is alright. And we'd believe them.

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