Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Campaign Speech

Bertie Ahern has made his statement about the Drumcondra house and how it was financed. Surely his way of making the purchase was the first time such a convoluted scheme was utilized, but there's always a first time for anything.

This afternoon, he'll set another precedent as he marches along the campaign trail. For the first time, An Taoiseach will address the British Parliament as a leader of a sovereign nation that battled for centuries to be free of the host country. We're doing well on our own, his presence will declare, and we're not your doormat any more. The Celtic Tiger, prosperity and new development are all present in the room as Bertie Ahern speaks. For the first time, Ireland and England are engaging as equal entities on the world stage.

The housing issue will fade into the background as pundits dissect the deeper meaning of Mr. Ahern's appearance before Parliament. Will someone reflect on the ghosts of Charles Parnell or William Gladstone, or will the echoes of the debate over Home Rule be resonating from the past?

Enda Kenny will be present, but he is a minor player in the day's events. He's running for office, but Bertie Ahern holds that office and it is Bertie Ahern addressing Parliament and getting news coverage. Yes, yes, he's looking forward to working with the incoming British Prime Minister when he's taoiseach, of course he is. But it all sounds like a bit of a dream, the wishful thinking of the man in the back of the room who'd very much like to be up front.

Incumbents run on their records, and Fianna Fail has been touting the success of their policies in transforming the Irish economy. They point out that the Opposition promises won't work, don't add up, cost too much, etc. etc. Dry numbers don't captivate the audience, however. Much more intriguing to see an Irishman walking proudly through the halls of Westminster, being the head of state, making the nation proud of what's been accomplished. Enda Kenny can only follow behind at a respectful distance and dream a little dream.

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