In political Ireland we currently have the story that Tom Parlon is leaving the PDs, abandoning the presidency of the party, dashing all hopes that he would assume leadership â€“ once the little matter of the leader being a sitting TD was changed in the PD constitution â€“ and avoiding the responsibility of rebuilding the party after their devastating electoral result.
Writing his political obituary, PD remnant Mary Harney said:
“As a minister he has many achievements to his credit including making significant advances in the programme of decentralization. [â€¦.He] carried out a transformation of State assets, realising hundreds of millions of euro from properties that were not required and investing widely in new State properties such as much-needed Garda stations. Tom Parlon also developed the Office of Public Works into the lead agency dealing in the prevention of flood damage nationwide. His departure represents a sad loss to the party but we wish him every success in his new role.”
Which is fine, apart from the use of the phrase â€˜significant advancesâ€™ and calling the selling of some well located buildings during a period of unprecedented growth in the Irish property market a â€˜transformationâ€™; as for decentralization, what a success that has been. But Mary is a politician, so thereâ€™s nothing unusual about her putting the spin on to obscure what is clearly a bad situation for the party.
However, there are others who you would imagine would try to bring truth and clarity to a political situation that the politicians themselves are so busy trying to obscure.
Stephen Collins, writing an opinion piece(sub req) in the Irish Times today, picks over the bare remains of the party in the light of this news. As with most of Stephen Collinâ€™s analysis, itâ€™s pretty obvious stuff.
â€œOne of the really depressing trends for the party is that it has lost votes at every election since it first burst on the electoral scene in 1987.â€
Its depressing for Stephen too, I suspect, because the article contains the sort of historical revisionism that Michael McDowell was fond of recycling. At one point Stephen says:
â€œThe party never managed to build a strong base among the people for whom it delivered substantial increases in take-home pay through its taxation policies.â€
Wait a minute, where are Fianna Fail in all this? Charlie McGreevy, the Fianna Fail Minister for Finance for most of the time when reductions were introduced was its strongest advocate, wasnâ€™t he and that the start of a liberal taxation policy preceded the PDs entry into government.
Okay, that point is not particularly interesting. But the bit that stuck in my graw was this:
â€œThe great failure of the PDs was that they never managed to get the credit for the economic changes that fuelled the Celtic Tiger.â€
This is not analysis; its disinformation, its propaganda and old propaganda at that. For propaganda to work, it has to slightly resemble the truth. But maybe Iâ€™m wrong…