On a personal level, I sympathise with Martin Cullen. Ten or twelve years ago, I experienced a problem with my back that was so severe I could barely walk, and so I can understand how badly he must be affected by his injuries. Nobody who hasn’t been there can understand the feeling of trepidation that you might end up in a wheelchair if things don’t work out.
I was there for a brief period and that’s why, as a man, I feel sympathy for him.
On the other hand, as a politician, he’s a knobhead, and the country is all the richer for his resignation. One less fool in a government of fools.
Cullen’s entire career has been characterised by petulance and immaturity.
Last January, he compared press reports alleging he had an affair to being raped, but this insult to genuine rape victims was far from his only act of stupidity. At the end of 2008, he told a stunned reporter that he would support the idea of an Irish soccer club playing in the English Premier League.
But of course, for sheer density, Cullen’s defense of the patently unworkable e-voting machines takes some beating. His leather neck, combined with a total failure to understand the issues, allowed him to come on national radio and defend a flawed, anti-democratic computer system even after an investigation had shown to the whole world that these machines would never again be used by anyone, except perhaps as weights for fishing nets.
Now, admittedly, his thuggish cabinet colleague, Noel Dempsey, was the man responsible for the fiasco, and his cretinous leader, Bertie Ahern, was the fool responsible for lecturing us about modernity, but Cullen’s stupidity was such that he failed to grasp one fundamental point: the whole thing was a load of shit.
Some people would call it loyalty. Others would suggest it bordered on the moronic.
Cullen’s record is not inspiring, but I know before you say it what’s on your mind. You’re wondering why I’d single him out from a cabinet of cretins, and in truth, perhaps you’re right. After all, if there was ever a gallery of the bland, the mediocre and the incompetent, it’s this current government and its former leader. From the mumbling platitudes of Batt O Keeffe to the arrogant bluster of Mary Coughlan, they truly are a sad bunch, and perhaps it’s unfair to select Martin Cullen above this pantheon of dullness.
In many ways, I suppose, Cullen’s greatest achievement is to look stupid in such company as Éamonn Ryan, Éamonn Ó Cuiv and Mary Hanafin., but it’s a nice thought that his resignation will prompt a cabinet reshuffle.
What could be more appropriate from a bunch of shuffling zombies?