It is hard to credit now, but the Greens were saying some classic things about Bertie Ahern just a couple of months ago. Sure, they’d almost have you convinced that there was no way they’d ever go into government with them, would they? But it was all just a game, a rare old spoof. I just didn’t realise how hilariously satirical and funny the Greens were until I took another look at their speeches. It is all there. The convictions, the policies, the determination to rid the world of FF. But, you see, it was all a smokescreen. They were just playing hard to get.
Take some choice quotes from John Gormley’s speech at the 2007 Green convention (the full text is here: John Gormley’s 2007 Green Convention Speech) “…the PDs and Fianna Fáil…they live on another planet. It’s called Planet Bertie. And Planet Bertie is a very strange place… On Planet Bertie you can sign blank cheques – because everyone does it, apparently. On Planet Bertie you can spend the average industrial wage on make-up. On Planet Bertie you can get loans from people – that you don’t have to pay back. On Planet Bertie you can save €50,000 – without a bank account. And on Planet Bertie, climate change doesn’t exist. All that stuff is made up by Trevor Sargent. On Planet Bertie there’s a strange cult called Fianna Fáil, a type of religion without vision or values; and every year in August they go on their annual pilgrimage to one of their sacred sites, the tent at the Galway races, where they pay homage to their gods and the gods bestow them with gifts for doing their bidding. Oh yes, it’s a strange place Planet Bertie. So strange and so alien to our sensibilities, that it’s a planet that we Greens would like to avoid. For let there be no doubt, we want Fianna Fáil and the PDs out of Government. ” (My italics) Ah, but you’re cute John, there was doubt. Silly me for thinking differently.
He goes on: “We will introduce the strictest ethical standards ever seen in this country. We will curb spending not just at election time but between elections. We will severely cap personal donations and ban corporate donations.” Eh, well, you won’t. Ahem. No mention of that in your programme for government John, you must have forgotten that one.
He follows that up with another pledge: “One area where inequality is so visible in our society is in the health service. Any society where medical treatment is given the basis of the person’s ability to pay and not on medical need is a sick society – a society in need of healing. We reject the two tiered health system, which has been further entrenched by tax incentives for private hospitals on public land. ” Right, so letting Mary Harney back into the health ministry will stop that happening then, will it? You must have changed your mind on that one John. When was that then?
And then, hilariously, he nails it on the head: “But in reality we won’t be guaranteeing anything unless we’re in government. We want to be in government. We see ourselves as a party of government but, we are also an unusual Party in that we are a Party of conviction with conviction politicians. Prospective coalition partners need to know this. If they are into power for power’s sake, or if it is just about gimmicks and hype, then they should think again about knocking on our door. But if they are serious about providing a better society then they will find in the Green Party dynamic dependable people who want to provide this society with better leadership. ” Conviction politics? Is this for real? I would fall over laughing if it wasn’t so serious.