I wasn’t going to pay attention to PM Abbott’s St Patrick’s Day address because it sounded like a bit of a beat-up, but once you look at it, there it is, another, though minor, disaster no non-deranged leader would create.

It’s of interest to your correspondent chiefly because it brings together the three themes that I have suggested allow one to predict an Abbott disaster. Those are, if you recall:

  1. His appointments diary. Simply check what Mr Tony’s doing that day. That will tell you the contents of the disaster;
  2. Sycophancy: Abbott is always trying to suck up to someone by going the extra 15% or so that makes him look ridiculous. The “have a Guinness or two … or three” remark was versatile in that it was sucking up both to the Irish and to people who look down on the Irish; and
  3. Britishness: Abbott is always trying to separate himself from Irish Catholicism, and to affirm that one can be Catholic and British. Talking about green ties and Guinness is like a landowner trying to make small talk with his starving tenants.

Anyone who didn’t have their head up their feckin arse would surely be able to see that while St Patrick’s Day involves getting bladdered and craic etc etc, the whole debauch is in service to the great idea of Ireland — of a 1700-year Irish civilisation bound by blood ties, land and art, tragedy, oppression and struggle.

The craic is so riotous because the history is bloody serious. Abbott unerringly found the one way to insult a people who are quite happy to acknowledge that they’re drunks. That’s our Tone.

Peter Fray

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