Monday, July 25, 2005

Michael McDowell and the Vision Thing

Constantin Gurdgiev of Trinity College was a guest on the Business Show on Today FM yesterday morning, and made a remark in passing about vision and Irish politics. Gurdgiev said that there was only one politician in Ireland who was really bothered with the concept of vision, who believed what he believed and asked the people to either back him or not based on that vision. This is in contradiction to the prevailing wind in world politics, where one invents oneself by focus-group, or the traditional way in Irish politics, which was generally a choice between feathering one's one nest, bringing bread and circuses to one's rural constituents, lamenting the Fourth Green Field from the safety of the Free State and being an economic incompetent - 0r any combination of the above.

And that's what makes the Vision Thing so unusual. For someone to say I have looked up the matter and I believe that such a way is the way to go. Vote for me on this basis, not on any other. And, in what may seem like a bizarre choice to someone whose only information about Ireland and Irish politics is gleaned from our remarkably unreflective media, Dr Gurdgiev's choice for this politican of vision, this Moral Leader, is current Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell.

An edited version of McDowell's address to the McGill Summer School in Glenties last week was published in yesterday's Sunday Business Post, and it was this speech that inspired Gurdgiev's remark. McDowell has been so demonised by the media that it's hard not judge him as a man rather than an ogre, so why not take a peek at his McGill address in the SBP, and ask yourself - is McDowell really so terribly wrong in his analysis?