Irish politics doesn't really do radical, but New Politics has picked a dangerous time to make politics seem so utterly redundant, writes Donal O'Keeffe.
Last Saturday night, the RTÉ 9.00pm News led with Trump's shameful ban on refugees and visitors to the US from certain Muslim majority countries – but not from Saudi Arabia, despite fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists hailing from Saudi Arabia. Nothing, I'm sure to do with Trump having business interests in the Kingdom of Saud.
(The subsequent protests across the United States were most heartening, especially those coming from Christians declaring Trump's 'Christians only' decree on refugees the most un-Christian thing they had ever heard. It was also a relief to see President Obama's retirement from public life lasting all of ten days.)
Then came a piece about the fallout from Enda Kenny accidentally telling the truth about coalition politics and not ruling out coalition with Sinn Féin.
"Well, you see I said I wouldn't do business with Fianna Fáil either," the Taoiseach said. "Ah, you know, so, like, depending on the result that you gave as a member of the electorate, ah, politicians have to work with the result."
This coincided with Mary-Lou McDonald saying Sinn Féin needs to have 'a conversation' about participating in coalition in the South. Gerry Adams then rather innovatively said he never really subscribed to that notion of a left-wing government, 'certainly not in the short term".
But then Adams – who was also never in the IRA – would be no stranger to 'alternative facts'.
And yea in the prosperous land of Fine Gael there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of blue garments at the unspeakable prospect of a shared political bed with the sulphurous Jarry and his hive-minded Shinnerdrones, yea, even until such time as a chastened Enda issued a statement saying "The Fine Gael party position is, has been and will remain, not to enter into coalition with Sinn Féin". The Taoiseach also said he doesn't believe the parties to be 'in any way compatible'.
Then Alan 'AK 47' Kelly came on TV but I couldn't concentrate because I kept flashing back to AK47 being hoisted aloft after his last re-election whilst wearing what some cruel observers called his 'sex face'.
Then there was Jarry himself, pretending to be avuncular, with his big expensive American teeth almost giving his face the appearance of a human smile.
RTÉ's Mícheál Lehane came on to say that the clock ticking on Enda's leadership just got a little louder. I like Mícheál. He's very clever and insightful and he can convey complex ideas and situations in a way which even duffers like me find easy to grasp. But that wasn't working for me on Saturday.
There was talk about the latest Red C Sunday Business Post opinion poll but I confess I completely tuned out. By this point, all that was between my ears – to steal a joke from Ross O'Carroll-Kelly – was whalesong.
There followed an item on the victims of the Waterford paedophile Bill Kenneally demanding a commission of enquiry. If there's any justice they'll get it. Another item followed. A tragic road death outside Lombardstown.
It was only at the end of the main bulletin, after Sinead Crowley's excellent obituary package for the sadly-departed John Hurt (what a loss that 'posh gravelly' voice will be) that I got to thinking how unlike me it is to be so utterly bored with Irish politics.
Now, you're probably a normal person and you almost certainly don't get too excited about opinion poll results but to me, they're usually something I shush other people to hear. Not now, though.
Micheál Lehane did his best, but the figures just slid off my brain. I couldn't make myself care.
(I rewound the Sky+ and if you really have to know: FG are at 24%, down 1% – FF 27%, up 3% – SF 14%, down 2% – Inds 14% up 2% – Independent Alliance 3%, down 1% – Labour 5%, unchanged – AAA-PBP 4%, down 1% – Social Democrats 4%, unchanged – Greens 4% up 1% – others 1%. All well within the 3% margin of oh who cares.
Maybe I'm bored and depressed at Irish politics because it's so dead and dreary at the moment.
"New politics" is the nonsense phrase the Blueshirts and Soldiers of Density use to justify their friends-with-benefits arrangement. At the outset, the independent TD Michael Lookit Fitzmaurice likened it to 'a chicken watched over by a fox' and there's an insight there.
Noel Whelan wrote a good Irish Times column last week, wherein he pointed out that this Government – since its eventual establishment last May – has passed only 18 pieces of legislation and only – as he put it – "a handful were substantial Bills". New Politics, Whelan suggests, 'isn't working much'.
I would go further and say "New politics" isn't working at all. We've elected a government that can't actually govern and an opposition that actively helps it not govern.
This zombie arrangement of government-by-inertia will lurch on until the Endapendents' weekly fits of the vapours finally do for them or until the Fianna Fáil fox feels it has a shot at leading the next government.
And then if the next election throws up a similar result, well, shur maybe Fine Gael might return the favour and support a minority Fianna Fáil government.
Even as homelessness spirals to crisis here and democracy itself seems so imperilled internationally, never did Irish politics feel so irrelevant.
Michael McDowell once told the late, unlamented Progressive Democrats that they should be radical or be redundant. Perhaps because of our history, or perhaps because of our national temperament, if there's such a thing, we Irish don't really do radical.
What's troubling is that at such a dangerous time for democracy, where public disaffection has thrown up Brexit, Trump and perhaps (probably?) Marine Le Pen, Irish politics seems to have decided at exactly the worst possible moment that it prefers to be redundant.