It’s really hard to know which is worse – a minority of large middle-aged men, Billy Bunter-like, stuffed into red blazers blowing their whiny horns protesting on behalf of the Ward Union Hunt outside the Green Party’s Annual Conference yesterday .
The Greens want to ban the hunting of live stags ……………..
Or the sight of young well educated middle class Greens endorsing the Greens Conference slogan to do ‘The Right Thing’.
There is something mildly unsettling of the image of the Fianna Fáil-supporting developer Mick Bailey’s large torso bursting out of his Ward Union hunt red blazer all fitted out to ‘tally ho’ across the countryside in chase of a terrorised young stag. An Irish multi millionaire developer aping his former colonial masters?
Of course, inside the conference centre Green leader John Gormley must have been absolutely thrilled that the Warn Union buckos had turned up as it played right into his media savvy hands and gave him a marvellous platform to impress his animal rights voters in leafy Dublin 4.
Apart from that, you had a leader’s speech which spent the first 15 minutes in self-congratulatory mode telling the couple of hundred delegates and a clutch of invited foreign diplomats what a great bunch of guys the Greens really are and how they are determined to do ‘the right thing’.
At 5% per cent in the polls with transfers dried up the party’s game could be up. Fine Gael are now polling a consistent 34% so it was little surprise that Gormley singled out this party for attack in his speech. FG are biting at Gormley and Ryan’s bums.
The Greens, unfortunately, are being portrayed by certain sections of the media and by former high-ranking senior members as a narrowly defined minority party that have voted for swingeing cuts in return for the trappings of office and, like the Ward Union Hunt they have so spectacularly targeted, could be headed for , if not extinction, certainly an extremely depleted representation come the next General Election.
And like the Ward Union Hunt, both minorities are using a rhetoric that seems out of touch with the harshness of people’s daily realities.
One is reminded of the Yeatsian warning of ‘fumbling in a greasy till’ .