“You like potato and I like potahto, you like tomato and I like tomahto, Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto - Let’s Call the Whole Thing off.”
It is hard not to think of this Louis Armstrong classic every time Fianna Fail and Fine Gael get down to the nitty gritty of arguments to prove who is right and who is wrong.
Take this week’s CSO figures on retail sales - it was a case of glass half full for Fianna Fail and glass half empty for Fine Gael.
For Fine Gael, it seems that no news is good news. Fianna Fail, on the other hand, are so delighted to see any tiny improvement in the economy that they are on the verge of popping open the champagne!
Here is Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar’s take on the CSO figures:
“The CSO figures are good news for the motor trade but terrible news for every other retailer. If you strip out the motor trade, it is obvious the retail sector as a whole is still struggling to survive,” he said.
He warned that more businesses will close and more jobs will be lost unless the Government develops a national jobs and competitiveness strategy.
Doom and gloom all round, it seems.
That is until Fianna Fail’s Knight in Shining Armour - Meath East’s Thomas Byrne - came cantering into the debate.
“There have been signs of improving consumer confidence in recent months. Fine Gael, however, has ignored these in favour of its campaign of relentless negativity,” Sir Galahad of Meath East said.
“Whereas Fine Gael has clearly positioned itself as the party of doom and gloom, Fianna Fail is taking a positive, proactive approach to charting Ireland’s path to recovery,” he said.
Steady on there, Deputy Byrne - you are in severe danger of falling off that high moral ground using words such as ‘positive’, ‘proactive’ and ‘recovery’ in the same sentence as ‘Fianna Fail’.
As for Fine Gael’s ‘glass-half-empty’ view of life - here are some words of advice from the great Monty Python:
“Some things in life are bad, they can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle. And this’ll help things turn out for the best............”
“Always look on the bright side of life..........”