Enda Kenny: Following Through In A Fair And Balanced Way For Everybody Else Without A Begging Bowl Mentality

I am posting this video of Enda Kenny responding to Paul Murphy in the European Parliament along with a transcript of Enda Kenny's words. For me, the political figure that Enda Kenny most closely resembles is George W. Bush. He has the same punch-you-on-the-shoulder phony bonhomie,  the same class allegiances.

One of the most compelling myths in circulation about Ireland's current position vis-a-vis bank debt is that the government of Ireland is negotiating with the European authorities on behalf of the people of Ireland, in pursuit of a suitable 'deal'. This, of course, is what the government claims. And no doubt something will get agreed and it will be called a deal and there will be great rejoicing. But as Enda Kenny's words demonstrate, there is no question of such a 'deal' recognising the fundamental illegitimacy of the debt burden placed on the Irish population. Why would it?

There is no question of any such 'deal' altering the drive to turn Ireland into Europe's neo-liberal state par excellence, the poster boy that takes its medicine without grumbling, that sells off its public assets and privatises its public services and protects the health of the financial sector while old people die, huddled together, from poverty and neglect. Why would European elites want anything more than Enda Kenny, a gushing one-trick hedgehog with a strange ability to string just enough of the population along with him while the country gets ransacked?

And where does this strange ability come from? Pierre Bourdieu, in Language and Symbolic Power, warns that 'political idolatry consists precisely in the fact that the value which resides in the political personality, that product of men's brains, appears as a mysterious objective property of the person, a charm, charisma: the ministerium appears as a mysterium.' This takes place within an 'original circle of representation'. When Kenny talks about Ireland and people talk about how awful he is at representing Ireland, there is an additional element to delegation that Bourdieu emphasises: 'the paradox of the situations in which a group can exist only by delegation to an individual person…who can act as a moral person, that is, as a substitute for the group'. 

What this means is that 'in appearance the group creates the man who speaks in its place and in its name [so Enda Kenny is the man the people of Ireland have sent to act on their behalf] whereas in reality it is more or less just as true to say that it is the spokesperson who creates the group. It is because the representative exists, because he represents (symbolic action), that the group that is represented and symbolised exists and that in return it gives existence to its representative of a group'.

And therein lies Enda Kenny's power, I think (though this is not a property that resides within him). By standing up and representing Ireland, with all his dim-witted incoherence, he is giving existence to a group known as Ireland, or the Irish people, which in turn appears just as dim-wittedly incoherent and servile as he is. If it were not as clodhoppingly stupid as he, why would it pick him as its representative? Thus Enda Kenny's disjointed burblings appear as a forceful expression that there is no alternative, because if this is all 'the Irish people' are truly capable of, then this is the only direction that politics may go.

Enda Kenny:

"Non-discrimination we support that, obviously…Mr Murphy raised the question of ah, of ah, of having to come to Europe to, to beg, as he said, for support. I want Mr Murphy to know -he's not actually elected to this parliament- to understand that the Irish governments over the years have not been to Europe with a begging bowl mentality but one that is central to the development of Europe for everybody else. And the fantasy economics of thinking that you can just say "forget your liabilities, forget your responsibilities" is just not valid. We want, Mr Murphy [turns to Paul Murphy], to assure everybody that Ireland has always paid its way, but it needs to be done in a fair and balanced way for everybody involved here. We intend to exit our programme, we discussed with the ECB about re-engineering and restructuring those promissory notes, and at the other end of the spectrum, in respect of the European..the European Council decision on the 29th of June, we follow that, we will follow that through."

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