John ‘Wide-Ranging Speech’ McGuinness does a Dunphy?

29 11 2007

The Republic’s DETE website is carrying a speech by Minister John McGuinness to the Institute of Chartered Accountants. It’s unusual to say the least.

‘Tired and emotional’ is the standard euphemism for, erm, incoherent comment – to the Dunphy-pedia can we add ‘wide-ranging speech by John McGuinness’? What on earth was he thinking of?

All of John’s words demand to be read and re-read. This is a great speech. It has three phases – wherethefugginhellami; whothefugginhellareyou; and fugginfuggawayoff.

If you’re a chartered accountant, look away now…

‘We can lose perspective. The late President Johnson once said that a speech about something dear to your heart is like peeing down your leg. It feels warm to you and looks wet to everyone else.

‘Did I hear someone whisper be careful minister, here there be dragons.’

Erm… quite.

So what does he think of accountants? Is the answer to be had here?

‘Humanity is sometimes bad but more often, it is just foolish and incompetent.’

Surely not. I think we need a clarifcation…

‘Let me be quite clear: I respect the work all of you do. It is essential, and it is difficult to get it right. But perhaps we are trying too hard to get it perfect, at too high a cost to our economy. Should we go more for simplicity, clarity and humanity and take risks for the greater good? Should we depend more on awareness and anticipation, rather than on the all embracing rules?’

Seems clear enough. Time for another wide-ranging metaphor I feel…

‘My concern is partly that we are regulating to control the activities of the few goats who will always try to get around any ruling, but the consequence is that we are shearing a huge number of compliant sheep, some of whom may be incompetent or inefficient, but they are not bad and do not require a heavy hand in the form of a large body of regulation.’

Quite. John McGuinness, as a former businessman, has every respect for the legal system – in this case tribunals. As his wide-ranging accusation below demonstrates.

‘We are now paying a fortune to deal with nickels and dimes, in a process that is doing nothing for the morale of the nation and everything for the professionals involved, whose pockets are being lined with public money, because, they assure us, pompously and without a hint of self interest, that justice must be done.’

But you don’t escape that easily accountancy! Just in case the accountants didn’t get what John was driving at, he had this wide-ranging reminder…

‘I think the challenge for all of you is to make what you do simple, efficient, effective and humane, creating within your organisation work practices which encourage people to take responsibility because, making work meaningful and satisfying is one sure way to increase efficiency, awareness and, yes, happiness.’

Edging toward the end of this speech, John reminds us…

‘It is not acceptable that the changing of a light bulb should nearly close a hospital.‘

Er, okay. And just in case any of those accountants forgot what the central message of the speech was…

‘It is unfair that Ministers are required to take the blame for not making changes when restrictive practices prevent them from taking action. Furthermore, it is wrong for politicians to avoid placing accountability where they know it really lies.

‘Meanwhile, the individuals, entrepeneurs, industrialists and professionals who are paying into the public purse are staring increduously through the window wondering what the hell is going on.’

Seems clear enough. Accountants should just fuck off. Does his boss the accountant Bertie Ahern know?




2 responses

29 11 2007
Brian Crowe

What a speech. The best lines were those comparing crooks to enterprising, innovative “goats”, while the law-abiding majority are flatteringly described as “compliant … incompetent or inefficient … sheep”.

For the love of all things holy, I hope the comments were unscripted. Is it possible that there is a FF speech-writer out there who decided to have a laugh at the expense of his Minister?

29 11 2007

Yip, it’s a doosey. You’re right to ask if it’s a wind up. If it’s serious, there’s so much wrong with it – if it’s not, why has it been posted up?

Originally thought it was a piss take – but this is a government website quoting a minister of state so the Irish government must corporately endorse the most politically inept speech since, er, McNarry’s Repubican Klingons.

Fascinatingly bad.

But we’re both wondering the same thing – how the hell can this speech be explained?

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