As 2011 draws to a close I feel a sense of sadness. Cheetah, the chimpanzee who starred in the 1930’s Tarzan movies, has died aged 80 and Sinead O’Connor’s marriage has fallen apart after 16 days. Amongst other things it got off to a rocky start with a mad search for dope in Las Vegas after her wedding.
Feel blown to bits. Yes, the beginning to 2012 was rough. I lost an enormous and favourite rhododendron, toppled by the wind. It was just beginning to bud. It felt like an omen.
As we all know, our Taoiseach is possessed of a sunny disposition. He likes to look on the bright side of life. He also has a brass neck.
These days it is hard to be optimistic, but from an international perspective there are some good news stories coming out of Ireland. I am travelling at the moment in the States and was delighted twice this week to be greeted at breakfast with positive headlines in the Financial Times.
If I was our happy clappy Taoiseach I think I would be a little concerned about how I was perceived by the general public. Some of the comments about Enda’s performance at Davos may have been a little over the top, but Eamon Dunphy’s savage critique on the Late Late Show of his competence to deal with the ongoing crisis echoed a lot of lot of sentiments that are expressed to me.
It has taken a while but our Taoiseach, who has been in New York this week selling Ireland as a great little country to do business in, has finally revealed to us what he is really about.
There is something deeply unsettling about what is happening in Greece. Perhaps it is because it represents the cradle of civilisation and the birthplace of democracy.
Within the hallowed corridors of power in the E.U. it is clear that good behaviour is not rewarded. This was stated categorically this week by the European Economic Affairs Commissioner Ollie Rehn when he said that there would be no Greek style discounts on Irish debt.
So the Taoiseach says there is “ no linkage” between the referendum on the treaty and the issue of the promissory notes. It is an “entirely separate” matter, he announces grandiosely, stating the Irish people will “ not be bribed by anybody”. Baloney.
This government is a year in office. Am I glad that Fine Gael didn’t win an overall majority ? I would have to say yes, because on balance some of the more sensible members of the Cabinet are in the Labour Party.