“Oh, she’s very good!” The cry goes up at the south Dublin dinner party. The subject is normally one of those elegently dressed, usually female talking heads that constantly appeared on the old Questions and Answers and now does Marian Finucane (I mean her radio show, you filthy minded perverts.) on a Sunday morning. She is usually an academic, working for some state funded body, or perhaps a Deputy from one of the more well heeled constituencies who can canvass her voters during the Brown Thomas sale.
We’re never quite sure why she’s “very good”. She does make pithy remarks like “Investment in education is vital!” but let’s be honest, we could train an eight year old to parrot about twenty of those phrases. Does that mean we’d then say “Oh, that eight year old is very good!” The thing about the “very good” public person is that she never actually does anything. She speaks out about “resources” for some good cause in the Dail, but then votes for the budget that cuts those resources. The rare occasion she ever gets put in charge, it tends to be something like minister of state for hedgehog cultural integration, where she gets to say things like “Integrating hedgehogs culturally is vital!” Meanwhile, down the corridor, another minister has been put in charge of choosing between spending on children’s health, or cancer research, and makes the best decision she can. But she doesn’t get called “very good.” She gets called a callous bitch.