Monday, January 15, 2007

Actually, within a couple of hours of publishing yesterday's post, BertieGate erupted again with Albert Reynolds's bit of pot-stirring on Marian Finucane's programme yesterday (see my colleague Shaun Connolly's story in today's Examiner.)

I firmly believe that despite the alleged poll boost FF got from BertieGate in September and October, the affair is going to inflict some damage on his reputation and will have a negative rather than positive effect.

There's a strange voodoo that happens in the world of newspapers which is called random synchronicity. You might be sitting on a story waiting for a clinching line or quote to come in. It might be on a very obscure topic that no other newspaperperson has bothered their heads about for months. And suddenly, without warning, a rival breaks your story in a rival newspaper without warning, just a day before your planned publication. Occasionally, somebody has given them a heads-up. But usually it's a case of great minds thinking alike or fools never differing.

Poor old Pat Rabbitte is also caught. Questions about Labour and FF will recur during the campaign like an unclaimed suitcase on an airport carousel. The problem about ruling somehting out is best summed up by the title of Sean Connery's comeback 007 movie, Never Say Never Again. Pat need look no further than Tony Blair (retirement) or George Bush Senior (read my lips, I will not raise taxes).

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