Recently I picked up an article by Daniel McConnell @McConnellDaniel in which he rated the government’s performance by cabinet member in which the average rating was 5/10 with the boy Taoiseach getting 6/10 and the only one to fall lower than a four was Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
The message being delivered is one of strong leadership with a shaky cabinet to reflect the turbulent year the Fine Gael government had, whitewashing over the cracks and the real troubles the government face. This is the art of misinformation, everyone knows the government faced problems in the Justice department in 2017 but the journalist simply hangs the department and leaves the boy Taoiseach off the hook as well as representing other members of the cabinet in a more favourable light also.
So for the record here is a breakdown of the cabinet’s performance in 2017, even if this is not read today I hope that someday someone may find it useful. The government is not sailing the country in the right direction, if anything it is avoiding the rocks on a course set in 2011, plotted on a web of lies.
Leo Varadker, Taoiseach
First of all it’s vital to remember that the boy Taoiseach was not elected to lead the country by the people. The elected Taoiseach was forced to resign because of the growing scandal in the Justice department. Leo stepped up to the role of Taoiseach to quell the storm but evidently took no action to reassure the government or the people that he was here to represent change. The biggest mistake he made was not asking Francis Fitzgerald to resign from her position as Tanaiste.
This isn’t simply an easy dig made with the benefit of hindsight; it was fundamentally corrupt to acquire a position from his predecessor but to take no action to tackle the reasons behind Enda Kenny’s resignation. Dare I say it was a PR stunt by the party and Enda fell on his sword, albeit with the benefit of a Taoiseach’s pension to soften the blow.
Leo’s PR stunts and appeasement policies were on display from his first slide down the Westminister banister, to his public glorification of Churchill, his decision to adorn the Shamrockoppy, and the establishment of MerionStreet communications unit which has come under heavy criticism from government partners who see it as a fundamental threat to democracy.
Also worth noting is Leo’s odd sense of humour this year which has caused fall out in the party & also making sexist remarks towards Mary Lou McDonald in the Dail similar to which George Hook got fired over.
All in all the boy Taoiseach has proved to be an ambitious runt who seized power at the right moment and has done very little to benefit the country, so how does he get a score of 6/10 from the journalist. Well apparently his handling of the Brexit negotiations is disserved an above average rating, which probably entitles him to a coppers gold card or something. However the journalist once again is being too kind on this occasion. The Brexit negotiations are no different from the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921 in that we had a chance to unite the country but came away with half the loaf. Arguably the difference being that this time the cowardice avoided a civil war as opposed to creating one.
For me the Boy Taoiseach has not acted with any courage or conviction in delivering a new cabinet or taking this country in the right direction. He has failed his people and should do the honourable thing and set a date for a new election next year. Hard to score him anything other than a 1/10.
Next on the list the journalist very cleverly put acting Tanaiste and co-runner for leadership Simon Coveney with a glowing review of 7/10, but we’ll come back to that as more prominently, and as mentioned the Tanaiste for 2017 was Frances Fitzgerald who, as I’ve already wrote about was forced to resign over the McCabe scandal.
Frances Fitzgerald, Tanaiste
Frances Fitzgerald is a key figure in a scandal that has rocked this government three times now, first with the resignation of Justice minister Alan Shatter, secondly with the resignation of the elected Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and thirdly with her own resignation after a series of lies told to the Dail in defence of an e-mail which revealed her part in discrediting whistleblower Maurice McCabe and a conspiracy of a harassment campaign against him. Undisputed rating of 0/10
Simon Coveney, (Acting Tanaiste) Minister for Foreign Affairs
So to revert to the journalist’s glowing rating for the second runner in the leadership race, Simon Coveney. Arguably more qualified for the job as Taoiseach than the boy, but with the personality of Pat Kenny’s test tube baby he was never in prime running for the role.
Simon is a very articulate politician, defender of the status quo in previous positions in Agriculture, Defence, and Housing. In summary a well rounded centrist but lacks the PR skills and social media savvy which Leo pulls off in tank tops.
His stance on implementing a soft border in wake of Brexit is reassuring but also needs to be criticised along with the Taoiseach for failing to seize the opportunity to unite the country under one flag. There is no way our forefathers would have given up this gift from the gods.
Simon’s failure to implement our born right for self determination is reflected in his departments stance to support democracy in Catalonia stating “Ireland respects the constitutional and territorial integrity of Spain” after the Catalonian region called for independence following an unsanctioned but democratic referendum.
Simon’s view on defending the eight amendment is also open to further criticism as the government continue to ignore the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly and Amnesty International in favour of lying in bed with the Catholic church and pandering to a conservative electorate, this shows a lack of courage and real leadership.
Unfortunately for Simon the year of 2017 was not a fruitful period to be Minister for Foreign Affairs for a politician who has made a career out of being exceedingly average, Simon’s stance on Catalonia, the North, and religious bias has seen him defending his lot at the cost of progress. 2/10
This concludes part one of my 2017 cabinet review. Part two coming shortly.
Photo from @thephoenixmag