The Game of Politics
This is an extract from a speech Joe Berminghan gave in 1977 when he was fighting for his political life. There were 3 seats in the Kildare Constituency. The Fine Gael/Labour Coalition were so unpopular that Fianna Fail would win 2 seats out of the 3. The other seat was between two sitting deputies Paddy Malone of Fine Gael and Joe Berminghan of Labour.
Fine Gael had three times the Labour vote; twenty times the money and organisation than Labour. So Joe Bermingham was fighting for his political life. At this time in the country the price of everything was soaring on a daily basis and this was people's main concern during the election.
When Joe wanted to make an important point he followed this procedure: He had a big belly and wore trousers with a loose belt. When he took a deep breath, his stomach expanded and his trousers slipped. He grabbed the trousers with one hand and pounded the table with the other.
He raised his voice to a roar. This act sent the crowd into delirium. He himself was facing unemployment and poverty. He had known poverty before and he was in a rage. He was fighting for his life. He roared:
Youísse will be hummard at the doors be prices! Donít mind about what the papers are sayiní that the issue is Northern Ireland and the outbursts of Connor Cruise OíBrien. I know heís unpopular but the Ordinary Plain People of Kildare couldnít give a dam about Northern Ireland. There is only one issue and that is Prices!
Again Joe pounded the table, harder this time and roared:
Youísse will be hummard at the doors be prices!
Some of the delegates jumped with fright. Once again he gave them time to allow this sink in. He again took a deep breath and roared:
Joe is always there when his people need him. The others are there when they need the people. Once the election is over they disappear.
This was greeted with applause, as the lads from Athy roared back:
Great man Joe!
Again he took a small breath and catching his trousers in one hand while banging the table with the other he roared:
Youísse will be hummard at the doors be PRICES.
John OíConnell a member of the Naas Branch whispered to me: I can see a woman coming to the door armed with a brush and beating us because of PRICES.
Yes Iím telling Youísse. Youísse will be hummard and I mean hummard at the doors be PRICES Iím telling Youíse one vital thing before Youíse go out campaigning for the LABOUR PARTY. The LABOUR PARTY is very unpopular. This Government is more unpopular and the public is going to take revenge for the rising prices. They are fed up to the teeth with it. It is my belief that Fine Gael will be the big loser. They will not accept they have a major problem. They are trying to explain things to the public. How can you explain to a woman that she has to reduce the food for the house? They buy margarine instead of butter. They are waiting out there for us and they will get us.
Joe took another deep intake of breath and again his trousers took a downward turn. He grabbed the trousers with one hand and pounded the table again with his fist and shouted:
Youísse will be hummard at the doors be prices!
Joe paused, took a quick intake of breath, looked with terror written on his face and roared:
Donít try to explain rising prices at the doors. You will get yourself confused and you will have the woman at the door twice as confused. Remember:
A CONFUSED PERSON IS A DANGEROUS PERSON
They will do anything bar what you want them to do.
Donít try to explain inflation. Inflation is one of those things that nobody understands, not even Garret Fitzgerald. If he doesnít know how the Hell will you? How can Youíse explain it to a woman who is out to bate Youíse.
Donít try to explain prices. This will lead to massive confusion and Iím telling Youíse:
A CONFUSED PERSON IS A DANGEROUS PERSON.
ASK FOR THE WOMAN OF THE HOUSE AND ADDRESS HER AS FOLLOWS:
MISSUS: VOTE NUMBER ONE FOR JOE BERMINGHAN. HE NEEDS YOU MORE THAN EVER NOW. AFTER THIS ELECTION YOU WILL NEED HIM MORE THAN EVER. HE WILL NEVER FORGET THIS TO YOUíSE.
Missus; Joe Bermingham knows what Youíse is going through. He is very sorry for Youíse and he doing all he can to help Youíse. He wants you to give him YOUR NUMBER 1. He will work for Youísse harder that ever before. He will be there for you when you need him. He knows how Youíse is hurting and he is hurting with you.
Another deep intake of breathe and drifted into a soft voice said: Friínds: I have no money and thatís the height of it. Iím facing starvation and you my Friínds are the only people that can help me.
He sat down to thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Mrs. Davern from Ballymore roared:
We love you, Joe! God Bless Joe.
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