I always like reading Tom McGurks articles in the SBP because I find him refreshing; he doesn't beat about the bush. His article today looks at Michael McDowell and what we can expect from him in the future. What I found interesting about his article was how he describes the lost art of "gut politics"
"Politicians of various shapes and sizes come and go, but there can be no denying that McDowell is the archetypical heavyweight, the proverbial political ‘big beast’.These are now an endangered species in the modern spin-doctored, image-managed, rarefied world of consensual politics. In many ways, they are a dinosaur class, a throw-back to a previous political era when politics was a cut-and-thrust blood sport, when speeches came not from the autocues but from the gut, and parliament was the bull-ring."
My feelings on McDowell are well known but there is no one who can describe him as media groomed. That is perhaps the only thing that that I like about him, he doesn't bullshit or engage in spin. The latter has unfortunately crept into Irish politics and I think it is a bad thing.
One of my flat mates in London described me as blunt last week, I asked her what she meant by that. She said that it was a good thing and in fact an Irish trait, we don't do bullshit.
Irish people don't have time for spin; they resent it and would far rather have it served up straight even if they don't like it.
We constantely hear about the need to encourage more people, especially young people and women in to politics. In my opinion we are far less likely to do that when our politicians keep engaging in stage managed media performances that don't address the issue at hand.
We need to start cutting the crap from politics, call a spade a spade and stop worrying about appealing to all the masses. When you try to be all things to all men you fail, that is the nature of politics.
People like Charlie Haughey and indeed Pasiley were loved and loathed but you can't describe them as anything other than thought provoking. They didn't engage in media groomed politics; you knew what you were getting with those two.
Time to cut the bullshit!