For sheer, self-righteous sliminess, it’s hard to beat Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes, mini-minister in the Department of Finance. These jobs used to be called Parliamentary Secretary until some politicians decided they liked the sound of the word Minister, and that’s why people like Brian are now routinely addressed as such by our obsequious, grovelling media.
Brian Hayes has always annoyed me, though I have to admit it’s not for any particular reason that I can nail down. I think it’s just that he has an annoying head on him, and that he’s mastered the art of sounding certain when he hasn’t the slightest idea what he’s talking about.
A born politician, in other words.
Brian has an irritating way of patronising people, and a condescending demeanour that doesn’t seem to be supported by any tangible achievements in his life, apart from becoming a politician. He worked as a teacher, like many others of his kind, for about half an hour before dragging himself onto the gravy train at the age of 26, and there he has clung ever since, talking down to us ordinary folk, despite any obvious life experience to account for his pomposity.
This is a young(ish) man in a hurry. Brian believes himself to be on the fast track and as such is wheeled out in all sorts of dire emergencies to bullshit the media on a scale previously only observed in Fianna Fáil circles, but his latest outburst is a tour-de-force of political gobshitery.
Brian, you see, doesn’t seem to understand the most fundamental principle that gives him his current cosseted role as Mini-Minister. Brian, apparently, fails to grasp the difference between a parliamentary democracy and social media. And let me tell you, this is not a great thing in a mini-minister. The very least we’d expect from those we elect to government is an elementary understanding of how democracy works, no?
Oh dear Jesus. This is not sounding good. What on earth has Brian done now?
Let me tell you what Brian did next.
Brian, it seems, did an interview with the Irish Post, in which he expressed the view that Irish people living abroad don’t really need a vote in Irish elections because — go on — tell me why the Irish emigrants don’t need a vote?
That’s right. They have Facebook. According to the Irish Post, Brian believes that the growth of social media has eliminated their need for a political voice at home.
Think about that now. No need for a vote. No need for elections as long as they can tweet and post on Facebook.
How long before Brian and the rest of his Fine Gael colleagues decide Facebook is enough democracy for Irish citizens living in Ireland and we don’t need a vote either?
I always hated the Blueshirt abuse thrown at Fine Gael. I always thought it was moronic, but the more I see of their plans to shrink democracy, the more I believe that I was wrong. Maybe these people really are as right-wing as their detractors accuse. Maybe they really are willing to suspend democracy.
I think Brian Hayes has inadvertently lifted the veil, and what we see behind it is not a pretty sight.