Being bumped from a prominent speaking slot at the EPP conference at the last minute to accommodate Bono is not an ideal way to round off the week, but political life is cut throat and in hindsight An Taoiseach probably made the right decision.
In the days since my barnstorming speech at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis about rural speed limits in which I made at least several vague suggestions I had been shown more attention by the ‘king-makers’ in the party. I mean An Taoiseach has never doubted me, apart from all the occasions you are already aware of but it took that speech for them to notice and thusly I was given the speaking slot at the EPP convention on Friday afternoon.
I quite vociferously informed Dearbhla on Monday last that she had four days to write the speech of my life and in fairness despite how ill her daughter was (cancer God love her) she pulled it out of the bag and I had political gold dust in my hands. Not only would An Taoiseach see me in full flight so would Chancellor Merkel, this would be the big step. The giant leap for specifically me, not Dearbhla, you get a better class of assistant the higher up you go but she knows that’s how it is.
But alas at the last minute defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory and the Dublin Dwarf was given prime time to badger on about Africa and aids (yes we heard you the first time in 1986 thank you very much).
An Taoiseach wore his sad face when delivering the news, which I appreciated. “I have bigger plans for you,” he told me. I was shocked. “Butter Angela up, I hear you studied in Germany for a year. Lay the cupla focail on her for me, impress me.” ‘Impress’ he said. When An Taoiseach says impress me, you bloody well better. It didn’t matter that the only words I knew in German were swear words and that in the strictest sense of the word I didn’t ‘study’ in Germany. Or that according to the most basic understanding of German law, it would be better if I never went back.
I, your Minister, was entrusted by the leader of the Free State to turn the financial fate of this country around. If ever there was a clear indication he wanted me for his next finance minister this was it.
So overjoyed was I that I was going to be Ireland’s Minister for Finance I had completely forgot about the fact I would be hugely in awe of Miss Merkel. I was unprepared as An Taoiseach forcefully pushed me in the back and toward the most powerful woman in the world.
“Schlampe” I said upon catching her eye. So immediate was my panic, I called on my knowledge of German curse words too readily and had mistakenly called the Chancellor of Germany a slut instead or saying, for example, ‘hello’.
I needn’t tell you how well trained the German secret service are but even I was impressed with how quickly they ejected me out onto the streets outside the convention centre.
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