Lend Me Your Ears

I suppose I should say something about that speech.

Brian Cowen’s address to the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, fortuitously recorded after most journalists had left, got quite a bit of play today, and no doubt cheered many Fianna Fáil supporters around the country.

Extracts were played on several radio stations, commentators were asked for their reaction during Pat Kenny’s morning programme. By Lunchtime, Newstalk was playing it to the soundtrack of an upbeat rock anthem.

One soundbite in particular has been repeated several times.

‘If we decide to wallow in sea of doubt don’t be suprised if we remain in the turbulent waters we are in today.’

But Cowen’s speech is not so much about an extended metaphor of troubled waters lapping at the edges of boats formerly lifted by rising tides, as about community and leadership.

Community spirit boils down to sharing the pain, sticking together and working together, while leadership is about consultation, making sure everyone pulls together.

But one speech is not a turnaround, and heady comparisons with Obama are probably premature.

The government has been in a funk for months. The taoiseach’s words encouraged many. It remains to be seen if they are followed by action.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.