Over the next few days the press have their headlines written for them, one of their own has given them reams of paper to write.Yesterday George Lee resigned from the Fine-a-Gael Party and Irish Politics.He has resigned his Dáil Seat and is walking away from politics after only nine months.Now the debate will rage over whether he is right or wrong to do so.I have to declare an interest from the start and that is I have not liked George Lee on the RTE news over the last number of years because of his negativity.His job as the Economics Editor of the national television broadcasting channel use to drive me up the walls as he could only fine the negative angle to any story.
After being approached by the second largest political party in Ireland prior to a by-election created by the death of the standing member of the parliament, he agreed to stand in the South County Dublin Constituency and was duly elected by a massive majority, talking over half the first preference votes cast.This has only ever happened once before in the country’s history in a by-election and that was by our present leader Brian Cowan in the early eighties.
Personally I did not like George Lee prior to his entering politics and I could not say that I was overly impressed with him in politics either as I still to this day do not know what it is his policies where, but I have to say after watching him last night being interviewed on the TV I was very taken by the principled manner in which he laid out his reasoning for resigning.He claimed he was felt frustrated by the workings of the political system and that his talents as an economist were not used at all by the party’s leadership.Which you would imagine in the current climate would have the main reason for having him their in the first place.
It is difficult to know from the outside if after only nine months should things have being different, but one thing is very clear after the television interview last night,George Lee is a very principled man because he explained that after informing his party leader Enda Kenny about his decision last week, Kenny offered him a position on the front bench immediately but Lee had his mind made up and would not accept it.As the meeting that took place was private it would have been very easy for Lee to reconsider his position and accept the offer and we would not have known any better.Unlike most of our politicians who are in the job for the power it gives them Lee was in politics to make a difference, now.He refused the offer and resigned anyway.
That is what I have to admire about George Lee he did not have his own interests at heart but that of the countries and its people.This can not be said of the existing politicians and while that is a very broad stroke of the pen it is my opinion.Most of our politicians are so stuck in party politics that the concerns of the country take second place.Lee has risen above all of that and decided to expose the establishment for all its failings and there are many.We do not see this level of principles or values very often in Irish politics, in fact I would say that this is my first time seeing anything like it and it took me a few hours to see it for what it is, an incredibly noble and dignified decision by Lee and under the duress and pressure that going on national TV would bring, when the pressure was really on last night,you could only admire the dignity which George Lee brought to the proceedings.
If all the politicians in this and other countries took such a principled view we would all be in a far better place but politics by its very nature is about compromise and we would run out of principled people very quickly.They are not very thick on the ground.What this country lacks is leadership and principled people who will stand up and fight for us.Of the current crop only Brian Linehan has come close. You may not like what he has done with pay cuts and NAMA for the banks but at least he has make decisions and when the public sector unions tried to sell us a pup some months ago by looking for time off instead of pay cuts he stood up to them and said NO!
George Lee has my best wishes and I hope his further is bright as he has a family to support.He is a ray of hope in what has been a fairly dismal period in our history and if we could all follow his lead, which is to stick by our own principles and values with such determination maybe we as a country and its people would be in better place.Instead off letting those principles go and settling for second best all the time.