Thursday, December 9, 2010

Political in-Fighting!

POLITICS in Ireland tends to be a mundane affair. We don't do coups, revolutions, riots or assassinations all too often -- they'd be a whole lot of effort. Then there's the Dail, the national parliament. What goes on there is generally only marginally more compelling than TV static with the sound off, while our representatives typically have the charisma of a clinically depressed cow chewing cud listlessly for all eternity. One Irish politician's four-letter word outburst at an opposition member a while back was probably a highpoint in Irish parliamentary excitement.

There is no such drama-deficit in Korean politics. No, in Korea there is plenty of passion, drama and emotion on show in parliament: quite literally enough to land you in hospital. So one Grand National Party member can attest to after being "rushed" to hospital on Tuesday. He'd been hit with a gavel during the latest bout of fisticuffs at the National Assembly.

The main opposition Democratic Party hadn't been thrilled about the GNP's proposals for next year's budget, so, embracing the democratic process, the two parties tried to resolve the matter in a robust manner.

Such scenes are not exceptionally rare in Korea. Just last week, similar argy-bargy shenanigans broke out at a Seoul council meeting over free school lunches. And if you think that throwing punches in parliament is a little bit undignified, how about bashing your way into the debating chamber with a sledge hammer? Because that happened in 2008. You might say there is something bizarre about elected representatives breaking down the doors of their own parliament. You'd be right -- and sane. It's utterly mind boggling.

But it is also highly entertaining. And the way things are back in the home country, it seems people could do with some drama from their elected representatives. A bit of spice. Some unhinged emoting for a change.

So now then. Who'd have the best wood-splintering swing among the Irish crowd, I wonder, Cowen, Kenny, or Gilmore?

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