Thursday, May 26, 2011

Enda vs Chuck

One of my guilty pleasures is watching the TV show Chuck. In the show, the main protagonist Chuck, a mild mannered tech support minion, becomes a prized NSA/CIA asset who fights international terrorism while still being home in time to play Halo and eat pizza with his best buddy Morgan. But the thing of interest to us is that every episode is called "Chuck vs the Something". I want to take a look at Enda Kenny and the things he is trying to tackle and see how they stack up.

Enda vs the EU/IMF

Election promises from both government parties were all about making bondholders pay, renegotiating the bailout interest rate and the infamous "Frankfort's way or Labour's way" statement from Eamon Gilmore. Since taking the reins, Enda has had a couple of meetings with the various EU and IMF representative but it looks like nothing has changed. The draft MOU that was published a few weeks ago is pretty much identical to the one that would have been expected from FF had they stayed in power. We're still tied to the high rates and the bondmarket is still well north of 10%.

Enda vs the Seanad

Another of the major election promises was political reform, spearheaded by the abolition of the Seanad. Now I've written at length about this topic so no need to rehash the arguments here. Now it looks as though it will be at least another year or two before any referendum is brought before the people to abolish the Seanad. I guess it has turned out to be a bit more complicated than Enda originally thought. He has also taken full advantage of is nominating powers to put some interesting people into the Seanad including Eamon Coughlan and Aideen Hayden, but really, did he have to stick Marie Louise O'Donnell in there? Maybe she's going to fill the Eoghan Harris role in the new Seanad line-up.

Enda vs the Separation of Powers

Speaking of nominations to the Seanad another interesting one is Martin McAleese, husband of the President. While I am sure that he will be a fine contributor to the Seanad, it does see to fly in the face of the concept of separation of powers. Surely the Presidency should be completely independent of the Oireachtas? The other odd decision of this type was the decision to merge the Departments of Defence and Justice under the one person. Again, while it is unlikely that there will be an armed coup any time soon in Ireland, I think that the principle of separating control of the two security forces of the state is not one that should be thrown away lightly.

Enda vs the Speech Writers

Finally there's The Speech. While watching Obama's introduction on Monday evening, it struck me that the turn of phrase in Enda's speech was quite good, even if it was delivered in a bit of an All Ireland winning captain's speech style. "Tá an athás orm an Obama seo a glacadh ar son foireann na hÉireann." Only when I noticed Obama busting himself laughing behind Enda that I twigged where the lines were coming from. I have to say I thought it was a great idea to recycle the victory night speech into an introduction and I don't believe for one minute that Enda didn't know what he, or his writer, had done. Good man for having the balls to follow through with it.

I may come back to this list a some point in the future. I kinda like the format!

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