I managed to pop back to Ireland to surprise Roz and our wonderful daughter Ava Grace.
But the fallout from the Irish PM’s infamous Morning Ireland radio interview is still rumbling on, thanks to social media.
For those who don’t know, Cowen went on the radio only hours after a late night drinking session at a party meeting.
He was welcomed, as was Brown, as a refreshing antidote to the ‘spin’ driven governance that came before. In Cowen’s case it was Bertie Ahern.
But this radio appearance, along with a couple of photos of him looking a bit worse for wear, have many wishing for the presentational prowess of his predecessor.
A tweet from an opposition politician, Fina Gael’s Simon Coveney seemed to capture the public mood, stating Cowen seemed to be ‘halfway between drunk and hungover.’
That tweet also served to push the story into the mainstream media as the state broadcaster RTE had initially ignored the below-par interview.
Cowen initially responded that the tweet was a ‘new low in Irish politics.‘
But that response only made matters worse as the public were starting to agree with Coveney’s analysis.
Cowen eventually had to apologise but refused to admit he’d had one too many, the line being to blame it on his ‘hoarseness.’
As a media trainer, I’d advise against morning interviews unless you’ve done solid prep work the night before, had a good eight hours sleep and drink plenty of water.
I’m not sure he’s hungover – from experience I know the Irish can take industrial amounts of alcohol and still function properly – but he does sound very tired and congested. Maybe a touch of ‘conference flu?’
He’ll survive for now but Fianna Fail already face a difficult election next year.
That task may now be made more difficult by a PM who in the minds of the voters kept drinking until AM.
But the really interesting issue is how social media is starting to push stories normally ignored by the establishment mainstream media.
I wouldn’t accuse RTE of being subserviant to Cowen and his Government. But as we’ve seen recently with Tom Watson’s success on the Met Police’s investigation of phone tapping and Paul ‘Guido” Staines’ pursuit of William Hague, mainstream media is now having to treat social media and the blogosphere just as importantly as the Press Association wires.
Anyway, what do you think? Is Cowen hungover or just hoarse?