Monday, February 12, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - Finally, a real Rabbitte out of a Hat

Since Saturday night, Pat Rabbitte has looked like a man who has entered a pub on Easter Sunday having just completed his 40 days of being on the tack. He has been brimming with goodwill, bursting with bonhomie, overflowing with mirth.

His coup at the national conference - the announcement of tax cuts at the standard rate - has proved to be the biggest political payload for Labour. Ever!

Fianna Fail and the PDs responded as if a fox had been let loose in their chicken coop. The fury of their reaction was redolent of how effective it all was. Brian Cowen and Micheal Martin were quick out of the traps. It continued yesterday with the Bert's gnomic put-down of both Rabitte and all us cynical journalists and our caustic charmless ways (forgetting that the Coalition itself announced a tax cut in December and the PDs are looking for another round or two of cuts).

If I was to announce this weekend, that I was to continue to cut taxes by 3pc, I'd be in the editorials this morning criticised for trying to buy votes. But then again, you know what editorial writers are.

Erm, no the Bert, we dont' know what editorial writers are.

But the best response was a glorious 30 second outburst from Michael McDowell. He came out to reporters, delivered it, took no further questions and just walked away. The little microphone huddle was stunned into silence. And his sermon was delivered in such a grave, mirthless, furious and over-the-top way that it was hilarious. Bitter. Bilious. But brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

"I want to say this about the speech that Pat Rabbitte made the other night. That speech proves that he is now admitting that he has been talking rubbish for 20 years. He has attacked every aspect of our tax policies. He's voted against them in every Finance Bill. He has denied our argument that tax rates matter. And here he is now saying, after 20 years of empty unsuccessful, hypocritical rhetoric, that he accepts he is wrong. What a sad moment for him."

No wonder Rabbitte took so much glee at causing such mayhem within the Government. Maybe it's time for him to take his occasional drinking buddy - as revealed on Tubridy recently - for a confidence-boosting pint.


Dan Sullivan said...

Harry the truly priceless part of McDownindumps press huddle was that he ended it by saying. "I'm finished." I can just someone doing a video mash up of that phrase as being his sole response to the cuts proposal.

Harry McGee said...

Sorry, you're dead right, Dan. The quote isn't complete without his little coup de grace at the end! H.

Councillor Seamus Ryan said...

Pat certainly has touched a nerve with these latest proposals. With Cowen, Martin, McDowell and finally Bertie all condemning a proposal to give more money to those on lower incomes. Interesting times ahead!!

Harry McGee said...

With the season of election conferences upon us, expect fireworks, brickbats, spectaculars, the whole nine yards. It will be more intense than a supermarket price war...