Jude Collins

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Michael, Joan and Pearse

I’ve seen only one brief clip of Pearse Doherty’s  budget  speech in the Dail yesterday, but I can see why it’s been attracting a lot of attention. On the RTÉ News yesterday, the Doherty clip followed on similar clips showing the response of Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan and  Labour’s Joan Burton to the government’s austerity package.  Since I’m not an economist, I’ve no reliable way of knowing if Noonan and Burton were talking sense. For all I know, between them they may have provided the key to unlocking the dungeon cell where the Irish economy is shackled to the wall. But judging solely on presentation,  Noonan  and Burton both were in the  C- category.  Noonan, poor man, sounds most of the time as though he is semi-sedated. It’s also hard to forget that he was once a disastrous Fine Gael leader and that the party’s present leader wobbled terribly just six months ago when the deputy leader tried to depose him. Watching Joan Burton perform, I kept being reminded of another decent but deeply unimpressive politician, Michael McGimpsey. Burton and McGimpsey share the same dolorous tone and undertaker looks. None of us can help how we look, I suppose. But  both Noonan and Burton, in the clips I saw, read from a script which they could have helped, with Burton managing to stumble over the bit she had to read out.

Doherty in the clip I saw didn’t say much of substance – it was largely bashing the government for their ineptitude and their willingness to protect those with most while penalising those with least.  But if we judge solely quality of delivery, he won by a country mile  - an A-,  I'd say.  He looks and is young, he sounds and probably is sincere, and in the bit I saw he spoke without notes. OK, maybe he spent the rest of his speech with his nose in a sheaf of papers, but not in the bit RTÉ showed.  It’s probably unfair but that kind of thing matters a lot to people. Against all the odds, David Cameron won the leadership of the Tory party because he spoke fluently for over half an hour without notes.

In one discussion website posting yesterday, a contributor suggested Doherty’s performance would be worth as much as 5% to Sinn Féin in the next election. I very much doubt that. But it’s another shoulder to a Sinn Féin bandwagon that  is beginning to make the enemies of republicanism feel faintly unwell. 


  1. Yeah great speech from the young Pearse Doherty.
    He fair put Mary Coughlan in her box, (so arrogant she was sitting texting in The Dail!)

    Totally agree about the 'enemies of Republicanism feeling unwell' they are seething, and it just goes to show how the influence of the print media is waning when Pearse Doherty was trending worlwide on twitter( a lot of positive comments from people who claim to not particularly be SF supporters), however, Tony O Reily's guttersnipes will be burnung the candle at both ends in run up to the general election and I expect a lot of mud to be thrown but people can see through the black propaganda.
    I suspect if SF can maintain there momentum they will return a lot more than 16% of the vote that has been predicted in the latest Red C poll.

    p.s Jude, it was Pearse's second speech in the Dail, he had made his maiden speech already.

  2. Thanks, Anon - I stand corrected. Maiden or not, it seems to have hit the sweet spot.