Swinging TD’s victimhood bawl on air a stunning fall from grace
When is a bad idea a good idea?
Never stupid is the answer - as Fine Gael TD Maria Bailey showed in her train wreck interview with RTE's Sean O'Rourke last week, and in her decision to hop on a swing with a bottle of beer in hand four years ago.
For the Dun Laoghaire TD to come undone in such a public way during local elections week must be particularly embarrassing.
Like the knight in Monty Python & The Holy Grail she has been left with barely a leg to stand on. Unlike that knight she has publically cried out that she has been wounded, injured, made public enemy number one and whatever else you're having (with your pint).
The facts say it all. She was on a swing with a bottle of beer in one hand. She fell off the swing while reaching for a bottle of wine (allegedly!). She got injured. She proceeded to bring a case against the hotel because the swing wasn't supervised!
Scrolling through Twitter the other day after an exhausting weekend at the local count centre watching candidates get elected and others lose a job they loved, I was amused to come across a video game called Never Drink & Swing showing a woman not unlike Deputy Bailey on a swing trying to avoid falling bottles of beer and glasses of wine and money bags.
You really know you've made it when someone goes to the bother of making up a game about you; well an action figure is better but you know where I'm going with this.
The local elections are personality contests and not too much can be read into them. One Fine Gael politico told me in the count centre that local elections provide people with an opportunity to give the party in government a shot.
That was certainly the case if the resounding success of Fianna Fáil in the elections.
Maria Bailey's decision to claim medical expenses through court, which could - at the upper level - have amounted to close to €60,000 for a back injury she suffered in the fall will not endear a party - whose mainfesto lately could easily be 'let them eat breakfast rolls' - to Johnny or Janey voter.
Unfortunately for her Deputy Bailey gave one of the worst interviews anyone has heard in recent years on live radio. She came across privileged, pompous, defensive and worst of all, false. Throughout she treated her interviewer and her audience - the people who pay her wages and the people who voted her into power over the past 15 years - with indifference. That, or she was delusional.
She played the victim at every opportunity during what was admittedly a gruelling, expertly run interview by Sean O'Rourke. The fact that she told nobody in her party she was going on air says a lot.
It was hard not to have some sympathy for her as she described being hounded by the media and not being able to return home for three days and her insight into Irish politics in which she implied someone leaked the information to the press to cause her and/or Fine Gael maximum damage was alarming.
She said the motive could have been because she is a woman in power and described herself as a click-bait victim, while admitting that she handed the press a fantastic headline. The summer break can't come soon enough for her or for Fine Gael.