The debut of last nights RTE mini-series Charlie was met with widespread nostalgic bitching about our greatest hypocrite last night. The sharply produced drama gave us an insight into Charlie’s personality as well as his lifestyle, as they combined to mark one of the country’s most austere era’s as his personal wealth and influence soared.
As much as we could do with Haughey’s irrepressible charisma and intolerance for insolence in this day and age, his detractors can take some solace in that he wouldn’t survive for long living in the underhanded way he did today. His staunch reluctance to do interviews could be accommodated by a media which his government largely controlled, but in an age where a revolution can be tweeted, there would be too many questions for Charlie to come up with answers for.
Charles Haughey was a creation of two things, his underprivileged background and politics, in an age where those two in particular rarely combined. He was a northside Dubliner who entered a game where he could attain and achieve anything so long as he played it right. And for so long he did.
It’s dodgy terrain lauding a man who so perfectly sums up the modern gulf between politics and people, but through all of his self serving antics and ugly dealings, Charlie got things done. What we would give today for his cheek and backbone, his silver tongue cut through the nonsense and sought a solution, one that wasn’t fully effective until after he had stepped down.
Where Enda Kenny likes to dangle state visits from Obama and the Queen in front of us as glimmering distractions from our every basic value being torn apart, Charles Haughey set us on the right road in the best way he could. He refused to lie down and be dictated while empowering us to do the same; a far cry from where we now stand as slaves to corporate rule with a so-called ‘leader’ who crumbles in the face of adversity.
Haughey was a bastard, but so are most politicians and we’re stuck with them. But he got us thinking for ourselves. Haughey’s gone and the RTE miniseries, if nothing else, acts as a middle fingered final farewell to one of Irelands greatest pricks, but how we could do with him now. Especially one combined with Aiden Gillen.