There’s a long-standing tradition, honoured almost daily, in politics. It’s a tradition nearly as old as the political institutions of nepotism, cronyism and mendacity. While I’ve termed it Discordant Discourse, Cicero summed it up when he said-
“When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.”
It manifests itself in many ways. Like when Mary Lou McDonald questioned Joan Burton’s decision to renege on her promise not to cut single family payments until Scandinavian Levels of Childcare were available. Joan mumbled, fumbled and reached for her riposte “Let me tell the deputy about welfare. Jean McConville had 12 children.”
So a fair question about unconscionable cuts results in the ham-fisted vomit inducing reply of “Look out, it’s the IRA!!” This is Discordant Discourse in 10 seconds. Sadly, it goes on, all day, every day. If it’s not flights of fantasy from Enda Kenny about the Man with 2 Pints, killing Dr Kimble’s wife and blowing up ATM’s, it’s Brendan Howlin howling that it’s either stability or chaos, while ignoring the global financial meltdown outside his window. And don’t get me started on Eamon Gilmore’s mantra of “Labour’s way or Frankfurt’s Way”. Sure wasn’t it but a turn of phrase and anyway….”Look out, it’s SYRIZA!” As if wallowing in the Greek peoples misery makes the Irish misery more acceptable.
I could go into Gerry Adams and his style of Denial Discordant Discourse but, I believe Sinn Fein have grouped these in a book of tweets. Good man Gerry!
Seriously, when Donald Trump says awful racist comments at least he owns them. When dear leader enda (lower case on purpose) made his racist Lumumba joke, he expressed a “banking inquiry” like regret and was later elected Taoiseach.
Imagine being confronted by an outrageous waste of public money, a shady backhander deal or evidence of illegal surveillance* and being allowed, no, being widely praised for responding: “That’s a matter for the Attorney General and I couldn’t possibly comment.”
A modern day take on Marie Antoinette’s infamous phrase should go “Let them eat inquiries” and store the various crises in Forums until we get re-elected. It’s Leadership by Abdication of Responsibility. Woe betide any wannabe TD who thinks remaining neutral on the Necessary repeal of the 8th amendment is an acceptable position. Discordant Discord will hold no hiding place for that coward!
This last few weeks, I’ve complained to my Local Authority (Dublin City Council) regarding the scourge of Pre-Election-Election-Posters littering the area. I took the additional step of also emailing the offending wannabe TD. This Wannabe TD took immediate action; dismissing my claim, blocking and then unblocking me on social media. I was then subjected to bluster and jawing from anonymous online trolls. All good clean fun. And as the wonderful Tara Flynn reminds me – Twitter has a “block” button. But the “ignore” button was inside you all along.”
Thankfully, Dublin City Council took their obligations seriously and the “Posters” have been removed and the offender fined. Which goes to my point: We need to, as individuals, demand better from our public representatives! I’m very aware of the smallness of this victory, but as Cicero himself said “The beginnings of all things are small”.
It’s up to us. Do not let them wriggle out, attack, deflect and obfuscate. We must challenge, demand and make accountable. We need to be resilient in the face of Discordant Discourse. I have a few ideas on how accountability can be improved but, I have to dash. That IRA/Syriza mob is at the door again for their protection money. Save me CICERO!!!!!!
Tony Groves Jan 2106
*IBRC/NAMA/Fennelly/Moriarty/GSOC/Garda Tapes etc etc