An Taoiseach Brian Cowen has moved decisively to quell uncertainty over the status of his leadership by launching two more days of media briefing, speculation and political torpor.
The Offaly TD, appointed Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and President of Fianna Fáil after the damaging agony of Bertie Ahern’s long-drawn out departure from Government, said in a statement at An Roinn an Taoisigh:
“It is absolutely right that my parliamentary colleagues are allowed to have their vacillating, non-committal commentary on the nation’s airwaves, neither backing me or providing a blessed pretext for the relief of my resignation.
The last thing Ireland needs now is a cathartic coup de grâce freeing both me and the nation from the waking nightmare of this witless, hollow husk of government.
While I can still summon a smile and find the will to struggle on, there must be a drop of life-force left within me to be eked out by the media. It must be allowed to do so. While one cabinet colleague remains still having neglected to disparage me to the Sunday Independent, then the full tragedy of my premiership will not have been made known to the people. This is a republic, and the people must know how appallingly I hate this job.
I have today asked the Chief Whip and the participants in the TV show ‘The Panel’ to create a heartrending pastiche of my time in office, along with portraits of me on the toilet, re-enactments of my interview on Morning Ireland during the think in, along with other events doped with shallow disregard and schadenfreude. I will seek to licence, on behalf of the government a high definition version of that clip from ‘Downfall’ to make it easier for Irish bloggers to contribute to my humiliation.
In conclusion, the Irish tradition of painful and agonising resignations, of governments walking wounded into oblivion, must be honoured. On Tuesday, I fully expect to win the motion of confidence with the Cathaoirlach’s casting vote, thereby hamstringing the remainder of my premiership and guaranteeing a phoney leadership election campaign, as if I did not exist at all. In the coming weeks, I look forward to being spoken about in the past tense, and for my colleagues to be very busy filming footage for the inevitable documentary ‘The Cowen Years’.
I look forward to the next few weeks of withdrawn civil servants and the reluctance of cabinet colleagues to take my calls. If anyone reading this fancies a coffee, please feel free to join me in Government Buildings. I don’t stand on ceremony, so just come as you are, and there is no need to make an appointment. “