Our Tanaiste has an extraordinary talent for grabbing the headlines. Her namesake who sings the blues must be mortified when she hears some of the things she comes out with? One Mary Coughlan sings the blues, another delivers them big time! Since her promotion by Brian Cowen she has rarely been out of the headlines because of her gaffes. If there was an Olympic medal for gaffes, this minister’s neck would have sores from the weight of metal hung from it. To be fair to her I’ve always suspected there’s a certain amount of bias against her because she is a woman on the part of the media. For all her incompetence, she didn’t ignore the FAS shambles as Mary Harney did, sanction e-voting as Noel Dempsey or Martin Cullen did or hide behind civil servants as Micheal Martin famously did or sanction PPARS or sell out the tax payer as Woodsy did as he was going out the door to some religious orders.
The constant focus on Mary’s gaffes once more underpin the truth of what Albert Reynolds once said, “You get over the big issues but it’s the little things that trip you up”. So I’ll excuse the slip of the tongue today in the Dail when she mixed up the election with the budget which sounded extraordinarily like “bullshit” when she actually got round to saying it. Likewise I won’t too worried about her not knowing that many years ago each EU country appointed one EU commissioner only because FF have no EU allies and have no role of any significance in EU decision making. I don’t fret when she uses expletives when out canvassing for a FF candidate nor when she mixes up Einstein with Darwin, she’s not a science graduate but a social science graduate and there’s a big difference. I start to wonder when I hear she will legislate to discriminate against gay people.
I get more worried when she wades in with suggestions that McCarthy’s Report makes no sense. She was speaking in the absence of the Taoiseach and representing the government. To make matters worse the most senior other Minister technically her junior, basically has just rubbished her view. It seems to me that her credibility is melting away and that she is this year’s Sarah Palin. Now Sarah didn’t get her hands on the levers of power, Mary on the other hand has been pulling hard for all she’s worth for some years and the more she pulls the more uncredible she gets. When McCarty proposes cuts and Coughlan says they male no sense, don’t minister tell me what you think tell me what will happen.
The FRC in The Rocks needs the money McCarthy will cut to survive, not Minister Coughlan’s inner thoughts. Parents with children with SNA’s need to know if their child will still benefit from this vital help, not whether the minister view of how much, much of the report, makes no sense. I could go on but I think you get my drift. When the Tanaiste starts to stop being a figure of fun and starts being a source of obfuscation, I start getting worried. I think the Tanaiste will be marginalised by her colleagues. She plays no role in Lisbon but admonishes the other parties. She is out of her depth, her humiliation at the hands of Dell management in the run up to job losses there earlier this year inspire no one that this is the Minister that will turn around the unemployment crisis. It’s the stuff of nightmares and the man responsible for this is Brian Cowen. What’s more I fear no one is asking the Taoiseach why he appointed her as Tanaiste when many were suggesting that Mary Hanafin or Brian Lenihan would be better in that role.
It’s a matter of being afraid, be very afraid!