I’ve read some attempts to shift the blame for failure in my time but rarely so far in advance of the end of the contest. Noel Whelan’s column, Irish Times May 24th, followed so closely by the comments from Brian Cowen that the onus for the success of the Lisbon Treaty was on Fine Gael rather than the government of the day has to take the proverbial biscuit.
Let us recall that the main government party spent much of the time it could have spent addressing concerns about the Treaty conducting a swansong for its outgoing leader, while telling anyone who had concerns that they were lulus who were only interested in making a holy show of us by voting no and just stopped short of sending them to bed without their supper.
If the government were serious from the outset about meeting head on the genuine qualms that many people had expressed they would have selected someone other than a man who would cause Americans to harbour doubts about the loveliness of their mothers and the tastiness of apple pie. The smug condescension from the junior minister with special responsibility for European Affairs can have convinced few floaters to choose the ‘Yes’ side.
In terms the Taoiseach might be more familiar with, his comments are like those of a player who never turns up for training, and upon coming back from suspension for ungentlemanly conduct enters onto the field of play at the county final with ten minutes left. He then demands rather then asks that all those who have been there from the start of the championship must dig deep, give 110% and sweat blood all the while he has yet to kick a ball in anger. With ‘encouragement’ to the Yes side like this, does the No side require any more help?