An Open Letter To Enda Kenny

By now, the newspapers have been put to bed. Based on the preview I caught on Vincent Browne’s TV3 show, half of them are predicting dire consequences for you as a result of George Lee’s abdication. My guess is your media advisers have spent the day going over your response with you.

So here’s what you do.

Fire them.

By all accounts, you’re a very personable chap in the flesh, and every bit as charming and effective as Bertie Ahern on a canvas. But in front of a microphone, you look like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

I don’t think that’s your fault. You’ve been listening to too many media experts telling you how to behave. Smile. Don’t smile. Show gravitas. Show a lighter side. Be presidential. Be everyman.

Too much advice. As a result, you’re never sure which piece of advice to follow, and it shows. You look wooden.

And the more your front bench protest that there’s no leadership question, the more they will be asked about your poll numbers.

So to hell with it. Fire the media gurus, and just be yourself. Maybe people will actually like you.

Let Enda be Enda. Before it’s too late.

  • The Raven
  • Alias

    Wouldn’t this be just one more piece of advice that he should ignore? Or are you saying that he should ignore PR advice from professionals but not from PR amateurs – or ignore all such PR advice from any quarter but not starting until he acts on this piece of PR advice?

  • Alias

    “Show gravitas.”

    Hmmmm… is that possible for guys with ginger hair? Also, he is from Mayo. Has anyone in Ireland ever taken anyone seriously who is from Mayo?

    To be honest, I expect him to unzip that latex costume he wears as an outter skin and reveal himself to have been Pee Wee Flynn all along.

  • aquifer

    Yep FG present themselves so oddly there must be some too clever media types, or dim leadership, behind it. The photographs in their election posters seemed to have been given the american 1950s treatment, rouge on the cheeks and dyed hair, until they looked like political corpses.

    In this case what you saw is what you got.

  • There are certain, still not understood qualities which come under the general headings of personality/presence/leadership and although we may not be able to define them exactly we can tell when they are present and more easily when they are absent.

    The fact that Enda “in front of a microphone” resembles a “rabbit caught in the headlights” is simply a reflection of his personal shortcomings and if anyhthing he could do with more “media gurus” rather than less.

  • Jaggers

    Forget about PR, get some heavy hitters to assist with developing economic policy. It is the Golden Age of crisis economics yet we learned that Richard Bruton met with George Lee 3 times since last May. The fact is that your party is not being an effective opposition – you disagree with government policy (NAMA v nationalisation, being the main area) yet you are failing to get your points across and you look like lightweights. Not that George Lee is the world’s best economist but your party is being presented with open goals (Brian Lenihan calling the bottom of the property market in Sept 09 yet residential prices dropping 8.5% since then according to ESRI and will drop by an estimated 9% this year according to a panel of IT Pundits), the government only realising there are 300,000-plus vacant homes in the State – 15% of the total, two weeks ago, before which it thought is was 100,000, a very rough Budget in November 2009. Seriously Enda, why are you not landing punches and why are FF increasing their ratings in the polls? These are golden opportunities for an Opposition, do you and your party suffer a “poverty of ambition” that prevents you from consulting experts and communicating your views with conviction? Ireland deserves a better Opposition and yet the lingering image is of you and your whiney tin voice making petty partisan points across the floor of the Oireachtas when the country is being confronted with generational crisis.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    FG are standing in front of an open goal and their striker is aiming at the corner flag.

    Get rid of him. Now. Before it’s too late.

  • I would guess that the majority of voters would prefer a government of national unity with economic policy determined by a cross party panel not having to worry about getting re-elected.

    This would be of course politically disastrous for FG and Labour and politically benefical to FF but these are rare ould times and unpalatable as it may be not to see FF severely trounced at the polls the country really does need to take a few crucially important economic decisions correctly.

  • Panic, these ones like it up em.

    If you cannot (in the present circumstances) pin FF to the ropes and indeed put them on the canvas a few times then you really must ask yourself is boxing your game.

  • Marcionite

    Fianna Failed and another Fine Mess. I suspect the Enda is Nigh

  • Greenflag

    jaggers ,

    ‘do you and your party suffer a “poverty of ambition” that prevents you from consulting experts and communicating your views with conviction? Ireland deserves a better Opposition and yet the lingering image is of you and your whiney tin voice making petty partisan points across the floor of the Oireachtas when the country is being confronted with generational crisis.’

    Ouch – a direct hit .

    Even oul Fitzer at his ‘economist’ best would have found it difficult to bounce back off the ropes in current circumstances .

    The ‘horrible’ truth is and it’s just as true for the Government as it is for FG -is that neither knows or seems to have any great conviction of the way out of this mess .

    Neither FG nor Labour are winning any kudos as a potentail alternative government . How can they when they don’t even make the grade as an effective opposition.

    Marcionite -get yourself a sandwich board with one side “The Enda is nigh ‘ and a tolling bell and parade with it outside the Dail 🙂
    The other side could have

    ‘The Wages of too loose Fiscal policy is Negative Equity and mass Unemployment ‘;)

  • F/F v F/G? A plague on both their houses.

    1st = I will vote for the party that shows its face in the north, has candidates and campaigns there. Not currently for obvious reasons Sinn Fein.

    2nd = Will keep the spending cuts for those who can afford to lose money: politicians, bankers, politicians, top civil servants, politicians. Judges, politicians.

    I trust this is clear enough, even for a politician.

  • Jaggers

    Greenflag

    he ‘horrible’ truth is and it’s just as true for the Government as it is for FG -is that neither knows or seems to have any great conviction of the way out of this mess .

    You may be right – these are strange times though if you read Kindelberger’s Manias, Panics and Crashes, you’ll see they’re not unique (property bubbles? See Japan, Finland and a few more, Credit crises? been happening for centuries).

    However, even if an Opposition doesn’t have better policy ideas (sad but as you say no-one seems to have a lot of certainty), an Opposition must hold the govt to account. In this case the stated FG position on NAMA is that it is a mistake and that the banks should be nationalised, so in this case the Opposition do have certainty. But how are they holding the govt to account? One (1!) FG senator has written a complaint to the EU. http://www.finegael.org/upload/2009-12 EU submission on NAMA.pdf

    There are so many holes in NAMA from lack of tranparency, lack of clarity of valuation method and risk loaded onto the taxpayer and yet FG are largely mute. This is unforgivable for an Opposition – they should be jamming our media with their criticism of the govt and in this case selling their alternate policy.

  • Marcionite

    Greenflag I’m on the Enterprise as we speak. Getting the sandwich board down the aisles past the tea lady is a tad difficult.

  • Greenflag

    jaggers,

    ‘these are strange times though if you read Kindelberger’s Manias, Panics and Crashes, you’ll see they’re not unique’

    True at least in the sense that they have all happened before in various economies at different times in history. The human ‘political’ animal at least in western democracies is blessed/cursed with a short term memory deficit span that enables our elected political crows to at least appear to give the impression that next time in government they’ll be washed white again and dark economic times will be dispelled forever . The hope of an end to cyclical recessions was raised by the Friedman /Greenspan school for most of the last 20 years until that ‘theory’ bit the dust in an avalanche of ‘laissez faire ‘ financial irresponsibility , and market savvy know how among governance across the entire anglophone world .

    This economic crisis is taking place not just in one or two countries or one or two continents but across a ‘globalised’ world – very different in extent from say the post WW1 crash . It’s also taking place at a time of great economic upheaval in some of the larger emergent economies and at a time of worldwide technological and communications advance . There will be no easy path back to ‘steady’ economic growth for Europe or the USA and what may be happening at the base -(bottom half of these economies) may yet have major political implications for some countries.

    I believe the PIGS (Portugal , Italy, Greece and Spain ) acronym has been added to on the trading floors of the world’s stock exchanges by another- STUPID (Spain , Turkey, United Kingdom , Portugal, Ireland and Dubai ) which countries are expected to have ‘problems ‘ . Not that we need an acronym to remind us .

    In keeping with your theme of FG muteness I tried to upload that EU submission letter but could not 🙁

    error page not found

    FG may already be rewriting their history of current ‘events ‘ in their drive to look electable next time out . –

  • Jaggers

    Greenflag

    I converted the link to a tiny.cc

    http://tiny.cc/GILyM

    Haven’t heard the STUPID acronym before but PIIGGS is certainly there in the media. Agree the crisis is very serious but I’m sure there’ll be another one along that is also unique before this century is out.

    Pity about FG, I think there are some good people there. I just don’t think they’re an effective Opposition for the current crisis. Also the reported fact that Enda Kenny only became aware of George Lee’s unhappiness just last week tells me that there is something wrong with the internal people management within FG. No “How are things going there George?” for the last 8 months? No wonder people are asking questions about Enda today.

  • Greenflag

    Marcionite ,

    ‘Getting the sandwich board down the aisles past the tea lady is a tad difficult.’

    You should have left it in the baggage compartment along with your bike 😉

    Jaggers,

    That FG link did’nt work ? You have to hand it to the FG crowd -they are at least consistent in their incompetency . They might even learn how to improve their political performance by contacting the UUP 🙁

    Pippakin ,

    ‘I will vote for the party that shows its face in the north, has candidates and campaigns there.

    So you won’t be voting then . You chaps up North will have to start killing each other again by the thousands before Southern faces will glance North for more than 10 seconds .

    ‘Will keep the spending cuts for those who can afford to lose money: politicians, bankers, politicians, top civil servants, politicians. Judges, politicians.’

    You haven’t read the Epistle of Greenflag to the Pippakonians ;)?.

    ‘The meek shall NOT inherit the Earth but instead that which they have will be taken from then and even that which they haven’t got will be put beyond their reach -For the Lord God of Mammon and Father Jack detesteth the poor and their wicked ways for it’s their own fault that they did not get up on their bikes and cycle down to London as that prophet in his own time the apostle Tebbit recommended ;(

    BTW politicians are not interested in clarity or policies merely re-election -most of them anyway .

    Neither North nor South nor indeed in the UK do people have any major confidence in their political leaders or in their oppositions . That is both a reflection of the current state of politics across these islands and also a reflection of the ‘uncertainty ‘ of the political and economic elites as to the ‘future’.

  • Jaggers

    Try again with the link…

    http://tiny.cc/GlLyM

  • Greenflag

    Anyone drops dead up there, or gets as much as scratch from anything other than natural causes – and the sadists responsible lose my vote for good.

    My vote is owed to Labour for at least 2 elections. If they ‘rat’ on the north, Im gone from them too.

    A vote aint worth much, but sure its all we got!

  • Jaggers

    Greenflag, I give up with using tiny.cc

    The full link is

    http://www.finegael.org/upload/2009-12 EU submission on NAMA.pdf

    which you need to copy into your browser.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Pity about FG, I think there are some good people there.’

    There have always been good people in FG . After all they were the party that gave the new state it’s foundation 1922-32 .

    Fine Gael have almost always been a party of idiosyncratic individuals some excellent some good and some woeful . From ‘Bats Donegan to Alan Dukes to Shane Ross -Alan Shattner and Garret Fitzgerald. But somehow the sum of the individuals rarely ever seems to form a ‘coherent ‘ organised whole . They are the Irish equivalent of the Tory party of the late 19th century . Their party organisation is more tuned into a bygone age .

    ‘ the reported fact that Enda Kenny only became aware of George Lee’s unhappiness just last week tells me that there is something wrong with the internal people management within FG’

    The trouble with some teachers is that they assume that because the class is quiet that all is well and that all are learning from teacher . I’m reminded of the old French yarn -when General De Gaulle met with General Lattre de Tassigny who declared ‘France thinks that–‘

    De Gaulle interrupts drily ;

    ‘When I want to know what France thinks , I will ask myself ‘