Simon Harris TD: Defended as a man but not as an officeholder.
Going by various messages to me about this piece about Simon Harris TD, I seem to have struck a nerve with some people in Fine Gael. Quite a few FG people contacted me to defend the Wicklow deputy, but what was striking was the manner in which they did it. The majority defended the deputy as a nice and decent guy, an opinion, by the way, that has been shared with me by non-FG people too. The minority took a legalistic route about party whips, etc, all arguments which used to be used by Fianna Fail people to me when I criticised FF people for not standing up on principle.
That didn’t take long, did it?
What interested me, however, was that not one, NOT ONE, defended him from a political point of view. Not one of his own party members argued why he was right not to oppose u-turns in his own party’s policies. I picked Simon Harris at random as an example of the many first-term FG and Labour deputies who have gone native, have become, in the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby, “a delight to work with” for defending policies that they need not support. FG promised to reduce the Dail by 20 seats. That’s not a Troika decision, that’s a political one because TDs don’t want to lose their seats. And please, don’t use that constitutional baloney with me. We all know the public would vote through a referendum to reduce the Dail in jig time. Same with pay rises for ministerial advisers: when Simon and others are staring into their bathroom mirrors late at night, do they not feel angry that Enda and Eamonn dumped them in that? Smeared their good names with dodgy decisions like this? Well, when are they going to stand up and say that we were elected in our own right and we’re not going to take this anymore? Will it ever happen? Enda has warned them against “factions”, which is code for shut up and do what you’re told. Is that the way it’s going to be?
Here’s an offer. Is there anyone in FG who would like to write a piece for this blog defending Simon and the other members of the class of 2011? Anyone?