Good Lord, but that was painful to watch; and not for the reasons that I have no doubt Taoiseach Enda Kenny thought it would be. He doubtless believed that he was humiliating Independent TD Mick Wallace this week, when he refused to answer in English a legitimate question that had been put to him by that great scruffy lummox.
Well, I’m obviously no fan of Wallace but the one who came off looking like a pedantic, insufferable creep was none other than our supposedly statesmanlike Dame Edna. If that performance didn’t make you recall Brian Cowen with nostalgia, falsely remembering him as a superbly well-dressed man of culture, grace and poise, then I don’t know what will.
Because compared to the way that Kenny came across here, that’s what Cowen was. Certainly, off the top of my head I can’t recall him ever being as rude and obnoxious as our supposed leader was here.
It was one of those rare days when the Leaders’ Questions were held in Irish and by God was the bold Enda the very man to make use of one of the few skills he has –although Irish speakers inform me that he’s not even all that great in this department either, surprise, surprise. And didn’t the Wexford TD walk like a little lambkin into the would-be Machiavellian Enda’s cunning trap. You could almost see the smug-faced tosspot thinking to himself: Gotcha! before stubbornly continuing in Irish and gesturing for Wallace to put on his headphones for translation.
“This is our national language”, he announced, obviously remembering for once in his woe begotten tenure that he actually represents this nation and not his cronies.
Sure, perhaps Wallace should have been ready and he did have the decency to look embarrassed; but the plain fact is that not everyone had been supplied with sets or even sets that worked. Up in the press gallery they hadn’t been issued until the very last moment.
Yet none of that matters: what most of us will remember is that awful, appalling, petulant look of sneering supremacy at having gotten one over on a fellow Irishman when that same fella rolls over every time he hears a German accent.
You suddenly saw just how ghastly he would have been if he had survived as a teacher for even a year back in the 70s; and by Heaven, what a terrible bullet the children of Mayo dodged.
It really backfired for him, that show of arrogant buffoonishness; but he has now – finally – done the Nation some service. I know of at least two people locally who felt that the jury was still out on him. No longer. This week saw him come across as a very, very small and pettily vicious man.
In the end, I think that is the way I am going to remember him: just as a very small, ultimately insignificant and enormously dislikeable human being.