Sunday, July 15, 2007

Planet John Gormley and Hypocrisy

John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

John Gormley, the new Minister for the Environment is either disingenuous or actually believes that Green Party members are already disillusioned by the decision to drink the soup from the Early Bird Menu and go into government by jettisoning many key recent positions.

Gormley wrote in his blog on Friday, July 13th: I had hoped to use this weekend to canvass for the leadership. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that many members have voted already. In most cases they have voted for Patricia thinking that I had it in the bag. It’s called safe seat syndrome and I know all about it from the General Election. Unless I can get those who have not bothered to vote yet to vote for me, Patricia will be Green Party leader on Tuesday next.

In the Sunday Tribune, Diarmuid Doyle writes in an analysis of John Gormley's Planet Bertie address to the Green Party's annual convention last February and says in relation to Gormley's self-projection in the media since becoming a minister: why would anybody want to present people with constant reminders of how much you had sold out in order to be just another political patsy on the plains of Planet Bertie?

It's hardly surprising that cynicism about politicians is so rife.

I understand that politics and governance is often an issue of compromise. But in Gormely's Planet Bertie address, it's not really about policy issues but values.

This was the man who lambasted Michael McDowell for not holding Bertie Ahern to account and whatever can be said about McDowell, the word hypocrite does not come to mind.

Based on John Gormley's own words, he is possibly the greatest hypocrite in Irish politics:

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.

The Green Party wants high standards in high places; not because we are particularly virtuous, but because strong ethical standards improve the quality of our democracy. We do it because we recognise that there are now three Governments in this country: the permanent Government, which is the civil service; the present Government, if you can call it that, consisting of the PDs and Fianna Fáil; and the real Government which are the gods in the Ballybrit tent. These people have inordinate influence on how our country is governed.

The gods will be back at the fund-raising Fianna Fáil tent at the Galway Races in Ballbrit from July 30th.

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.

I cannot bear the thought of another five years in Opposition. In the early years of this Party we talked about changing the values of society, changing the mindset. We talked about the need for a paradigm shift and sometimes when I look across at the Government benches I ask myself a deeply disturbing question. How would Dick Roche and Martin Cullen and Tom Parlon shift a paradigm? Possibly with a JCB and without planning permission.

The gombeenism has to end, my friends.

The Green Party have nominated jobs for two journalists to represent them in the Government Information Service.

It's about time that other journalists force John Gormley to say what he actually still believes and what was spoof from the start.

Conviction politics?