Monday, June 21, 2004

Bertie Goes to Brussels?

Political conventional wisdom holds that all political careers end in failure. Now, they seem to end up in Brussels, the cushiest of retirement homes for those who get thrashed at the polls - Neil Kinnock and Chris Patten spring to mind.

According to this morning's Irish Times, our own Taoiseach is "emerging as the leading compromise candidate..."

Compromised he certainly is, after the Bertie Bowl fiasco, electoral losses to Sinn Fein and general fumbling in government. Nevertheless, the European constitution process played to his undoubted strength, the reserve and unegotistical approach he takes to define a solution that allows those holding divided positions to feel that they have at least had an influence, if not everything they would want.I think that he'd make a good job of keeping everyone together, but probably a bad manager of the shambolic bureaucracy.

Whether he gets it is another question entirely. The Irish Times story, telling in classic Machiavellian style of a man reluctantly yielding to his supporters' urgings to accept a promotion, hasn't been repeated elsewhere in the world press, probably because his brother Dermot Ahern, reputed to be Ireland's most media-savvy politician, doesn't have the phone numbers for Le Monde and FAZ.

FAZ doesn't mention Bertie as a contender at all, in this story from yesterday.

Le Monde throws cold water on the idea:
Ireland's Bertie Ahern is mentioned just as often. For his part, he knows he has plenty of support, but says that he isn't interested. He would be vulnerable to a French veto for the same reason as Chris Patten: he hasn't mastered the language of Molière.
Many people think he still hasn't mastered the language of Yeats and Shaw either, but maybe he'll be doing some hurried revision with the Linguaphone this week.

Peter 笔德