Sarah plays the man instead of the ball

18 June, 2010

I’m usually a fan of Sarah Carey.  But I am having second thoughts after she wrote a most unfair (bitchy?) article about Richard Bruton in Wednesday’s Irish Times.  Fittingly for a piece in which she played the man instead of the ball, she headlined and introduced it with World Cup references.  The first paragraph gives a foretaste of the quality of what’s to follow:

Ladies, have you checked out the German manager with the porn-star good looks? Thick, shiny black hair, a chiselled jawline and that steel-blue T-shirt and jacket ensemble showcasing a well-toned torso.

But the really dodgy bit comes later when she discloses details of a one-on-one meeting she had with Richard Bruton.

It was so odd. He was as pleasant as you’d expect, but his body language was really disconcerting. He couldn’t look me in the eye. He shrank away from me. He rocked and fidgeted. When I say he adopted a defensive pose I don’t mean that he simply crossed his arms but he was actually hugging his knee, drawing it up to protect himself. From what? He knows who I am for heaven’s sake.

This is objectionable stuff, even if she thinks it’s an accurate portrayal of what she perceived (and I suspect some artistic license was used).  It’s also irrelevant, as her meeting was arranged to discuss Bruton’s policies in relation to banking issues, and not his schmoozing ability.  Maybe he didn’t fawn over her as much as she expected?  Maybe he was impervious to her (undoubted) charms?  Give me somebody of intellect and integrity any day, rather than a chancer who can effortlessly work a room and charm the pants off women;  we had enough of that with Charlie Haughey.

The meeting also presumably happened some time ago.  Moreover, Bruton’s demeanour on the day in question might have been caused by any number of factors, and he was entitled to assume that Carey was interested in the substance of the issues rather than presentation.  To some extent, the Kenny/Bruton battle was about this very issue,  substance over style.

The timing of Carey’s piece seemed calculated to hurt Bruton at a critical juncture in the run-up to yesterday’s parliamentary party confidence vote.  If somebody in the Kenny camp had wanted to plant an article to damage their opponent, they couldn’t have done much better than this.  However I have no doubt that Sarah Carey would not allow herself to be used in this manner, no matter who asked her, so I assume that she really does believe that Kenny is a better choice than Bruton as leader of the party she (presumably) supports.

Still, I’m struggling to explain why Carey was compelled to write such a personalised and damaging article about Kenny’s opponent.  Is there something I don’t know?

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