Much is made of the slick PR tricks employed by modern political parties in Ireland as both the members and the message are kept firmly in check.
But being Ireland, you can always count on at least one idiot to overstep the mark.
It seems Fine Gael TD Derek Keating was a bit embarrassed about being taken to task by a local school principal in the Lucan Gazette.
Our Derek, said the principal, was doing what our politicians excel at – claiming credit for something he had nothing to do with.
Now it seems that one of Derek’s flunkys took issue with this report, and took it upon himself to start removing copies of the freesheet so that Derek’s constituents wouldn’t get to read of his non-heroics.
Gazette staff believe over 3000 copies of the freesheet were taken and dumped.
But unfortunately for the flunky, a parliamentary secretary called Tommy Morris, we live in an age where people can’t be trusted, and security cameras captured him removing the freesheet. And so the spinning begins.
Naturally enough, Derek knew nothing about it at all:
Following legal advice, I am now initiating an internal investigation into these allegations. This internal investigation may lead to disciplinary procedures against Mr Morris.
I wish to be unequivocal that, at no time, in this alleged incident, did Mr Morris act with my knowledge or consent.
Derek has been following legal advice (and by the way Derek, it’s not an “alleged incident” – it happened) alright, and once again he’ll be more inclined to follow that than his conscience, which should be telling him to resign.
Because Derek’s problem is not that he’s yet another arrogant back-slapping funeral attender (to witness the full scale of his populist pomposity, see his grandstanding about drug treatment on a recent appearance on the Late Late Show).
Derek’s problem is that he was a part of a direct attack on freedom of speech, which in itself is an attack on democracy and, in particular, the voters in his constituency.
It’s also an attack on the freedom of those in education, who wear the hairshirt of austerity on behalf of Fine Gael buffoons like Keating, to say: “This is not working. This is the damage you are causing.”
It also shows contempt for the owners and the journalists at the Gazette, who work hard with limited resources in a very tough market to keep voters informed, only to see Derek’s lackey chuck their work in the bin.
And as for Derek’s assertion that Mr. Morris did not act with his knowledge or consent – it’s not exactly credible in the modern political climate, is it?
Because if Tommy Morris did act alone, he is the only Fine Gael member to act on his own initiative since the party came into office over two years ago, and that’s not very likely.
Put simply, people like Tommy Morris do what they’re told, not what they want.
And if you still believe that Derek knew nothing about it, I have an African friend who needs to get $64 million out of a war-torn country if you’ll just give him your bank account details…
Instead, poor old Tommy Morris will now be sacrificed at the altar of the ego of Fine Gael and Derek Keating, who is not man enough to say: “The paper was right. My party is wrong. We did nothing to help the school.”
And true to form in Ireland, it will all be forgotten and Derek will be returned with his biggest-ever majority the next time we go to the polls.
“Ah sure isn’t he a great oul fella all the same. Did great stuff for the schools, did our Derek…”