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John Drennan: Fiscal horror show as Dail grotesques take on deficit

The Sketch was deeply concerned to hear that our Taoiseach -- who has secured unique levels of public respect -- has been upset by recent acts of lese majeste where he has been called Biffo.

Such treasonable acts are utterly unacceptable and we promise in future to use the more appropriate title of Mr Biffo.

Sadly, when it came to the debate on the great National Starvation, apologies, Salvation Plan, the mood did not improve as Mr Biffo claimed the people were looking to the Dail with "hope and expectation".

Those of us who are still 'Backing Biffo just to prove that, like walking on the moon, it can be done', didn't know the Taoiseach was so out of touch and our nervousness increased when Mary O'Rourke appeared to call for a national interment programme.

That would of course sort the unemployment problem but it did appear to be a tad excessive . . . for now.

Happily, it subsequently emerged the new Madame 'la guillotine' of the plucky pensioners was talking about a national internship policy, which, apparently, is slightly different.

In truth it was an odd sort of a debate, as the government has no figures on how much money the Croke Park deal will save, the cost of the banking bailout or next year's level of growth.

And this lot claims Labour are bluffers.

Mind you, it was hard to understand why the opposition were complaining about not getting the figures from finance.

That lot's track record suggests that unless we put a bookies' marker in charge of the shop they'd be better off without them.

Ultimately there was more than a small element of a play within a play surrounding the debate, for our budget will only be decided when the visitation of Olli Rehn and the submission of Mr Biffo occurs.

The Sketch was originally somewhat insulted to hear we were not getting a Germanic overlord but, seeing as the Finns once went to war with the Russians, we might get a bracing new regime yet.

It'll be a changed world indeed if Olli has the TDs out on the Leinster House lawn doing athletics to ensure we have a leaner, meaner Dail.

Indeed we'd nearly pay to hear our Finnish ruler shouting "do keep up Mr Biffo, you're falling behind on the press-ups again".

Of course, the way things are going, Mr Biffo may not be bowing to our new saviours for certain plump FF rats have been suggesting in their typically patriotic fashion that the party should run to the country before the budget and let the opposition take the hit.

Happily, should this occur, we have the perfect slogan.

As part of our 'Believing Straight-talking Bertie' campaign in 2007, we suggested the country should "trust the lads who squandered the boom to guide us safely through the recession".

Should there be a pre-budget election, we believe the most appropriate FF platform would be to ask the people to 'trust the gents who busted the country up and ran away to finish the job.'

That, however, was as good as the Sketch could do on the helpful suggestions front. In spite of our best efforts, by the close of this Halloween fiscal horror show it was clear the rescue of the country is in the tremulous hands of a cast of pantomime grotesques.

Mr Biffo and our little boy blue of a Finance Minister are playing the roles of Burke and Hare whilst when it comes to the Queen of the alas still un-dead PDs, for the children, elderly and sick Ms Harney is a more than convincing Nosferatu.

Sadly, outside of James 'Bottler' Reilly, there was a real shortage of convincing villains on the opposition side.

Dame Enda resembles one of those limpid heroines tied to the train tracks in a silent movie, whilst there is more than a small element of that cartoon chicken Foghorn Leghorn bellowing "I say, I say, that's not the way to do it boy" surrounding Mr Gilmore.

Mind you, Mr Biffo did come up with a coherent plan for recovery by the close of the week as he noted we must be "hopeful, optimistic, energetic, clear-eyed, realistic and thoughtful".

In so far as we could understand, the Taoiseach appeared to be saying our best chance of a recovery is if the people take a completely opposite course of action to the one the government is pursuing.

It might just work.

Sunday Independent