Updated: 23/02/17 : 05:02:31
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Enda the fox does not shout 'chicken'

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

MOBILE PHONES may not have been welcomed at the meeting of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party last night, Wednesday.

But you can bet that listening outside the door was the ghost of Banquo.

Banquo? 'No, no, no PJ, none of that auld Shakespeare shite.'

Old Hookey

So, just tell them, let them know that Mister Haughey, Old Hookey Himself, is here to, eh, offer his help.

Here to help a comrade from Castlebar, don't you know; right here. Just ask.

Tip Number One: You need to grind the bastards down, not the other way around.

Tip Number Two: Do it with humour, style, with a sense of mischief even - like myself.

Indeed. Once when Charlie thought he was a goner he played desperately for 'goodbye' time.

He behaved just like a child who drags the heels at bedtime and then refuses to go to Land of Nod until a story is read and read and re-read. 

Charlie once told a near no-hoper that he was The One, i.e. potentially the next leader of Fianna Fáil except.....

Except he needed more time to build profile and sell it to the backbench party faithful with votes on the leadership.

Charlie patented his own trademark of such specious lifesavers in political leadership, otherwise known as diversions or divarshuns.

Shining Moment

The guy he coaxed never got to be leader, never even got to contest a leadership.

In reality the guy has as much going for him as Aesop's hare against the tortoise. We know who won that one.....and how.

But for One Brief Shining Moment, Charlie convinced the guy, one-on-one, he cudda be a contender, cudda become a hero to the hordes, up there with JFK.

The Irish Times -- again! -- once explained Charlie's Survival Formula.

Stated simply: You juggle eleven balls in the air and be sure at the same time to look after your own two back on terra firma.

In all the coursing of Charlie over a period of 25 years only Albert Reynolds managed to (be)come the hound on him. So, some record.

But the story of Albert contains another (hidden) truth which Irish media mostly miss.

The story is pertinent to the stand-off currently going on re the leadership of Fine Gael.

Called Chicken

You know that hoary old cliche about how he/she who wields the knife in leadership contests seldom wears the crown.

Wrong. Wrong and wrong. Albert Reynolds was dismissed from Cabinet by Charles Haughey after a failed leadership heave and rout in a party vote in late 1991.

It was the saddest day the wily old fox stopped to sniff the air outside the hen house and someone shouted Reynolds was 'chicken.'

Haughey was taken out within months, terminated with extreme prejudice. The parlance is he was 'double tapped.'

It was just one mistake by Charlie, leading to just one sole defeat in a lengthy career of leadership challenges. An impressive record.

Simplest Rule

So, to Enda Kenny: By all means be that wily old fox and sniff the air outside the hen house but don't stop to call anyone inside 'chicken.' 

The Castlebar DNA does not, never did, stretch to staving off the deadliness of the double tap. 

'Tis better by far to play by the simplest rule of all: Keep your friends close but keep your enemies even closer. 

Last night the man gave a masterful display of doing just that, juggled some balls in the air. 

Round one, unanimous at that, goes to the Mayo man. 

Link: See Sligo Today 22/2/2017.