Culture

Tony Abbott’s St Patrick’s Day Message Is Exactly As Weird And Vaguely Offensive As You’d Expect

"Fiddle-dee-dee, potatoes!" - Tony Abbott, probably.

Update: Irish Prime Minister (or “Taoiseach”) Enda Kenny has weighed in, telling the Irish Independent newspaper he doesn’t agree with Abbott’s characterisation of Ireland. 

“I’ve heard the Prime Minister’s comments. He made them. I don’t agree with that,” Kenny said. “I think that it is perfectly in order for so many Irish people in Australia to have an enjoyable celebration of St Patrick’s Day and St Patrick’s week, and to do so in a thoroughly responsible fashion. 

“There has been a long-term view of a stage Irish perception. I reject that. I think it’s really important that we understand that we have a national day that can be celebrated worldwide, St Patrick’s Day.”

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.

Watching how Tony Abbott can somehow manage to offend people while performing the most humdrum activities is kind of fascinating. It’s probably how David Attenborough feels when he discovers a hitherto-unknown and particularly ugly species of animal. Earlier this week Abbott’s description of remote Aboriginal communities as “lifestyle choices” got under the skin of pretty much everyone in said communities (as well as his own advisors on Indigenous affairs), but he was defending a highly-charged and divisive policy in which tensions were already running very high, which at least is a familiar context in which something controversial might be said.

Not so this time round. Abbott’s pre-recorded message to Irish Australians commemorating St Patrick’s Day on March 17 is already up on YouTube, and it’s managed to draw accusations of being “patronising” without even technically being released yet. Give it a watch.

Firstly, a Prime Ministerial address is definitely the place where you want to be sledging other political parties, hey. “The one day a year it’s good to be Green,” ha ha, we have no climate policy and the earth is rapidly warming, sick one legend. What’s even better is the sneaky joke that the Irish are all mad drunken bastards. “I’m sorry I can’t be there to share a Guinness or two — or maybe even three,” Abbott chuckles. I’m sure the Irish are fucking crushed you couldn’t make it to their party, mate. Now they have to find someone else to make leprechaun jokes and say “potato! potato!” in a shitty accent ad nauseam.

“It’s been said of us that the English made the laws, the Scots made the money and the Irish made the songs.” Has it, though? Has that been said of Australia in any place and/or time that wasn’t either a men’s-only golf club on the Northern Beaches or an open mic night at an outback pub in the ’60s? I do not think so, somehow. And what in God’s name is going on with his hands?

This isn’t the first time the PM’s had an ain’t-the-Irish-twee moment. Back in 2011 Abbott came under criticism for joking that the Gillard government “was a bit like the Irishman who lost 10 pounds betting on the Grand National and then lost 20 pounds on the action replay,” whatever the fresh hell that’s supposed to mean. Understandably Irish people are a bit touchy at the long-running joke that they’re all fucking idiots, and Abbott subsequently apologised to the Irish Embassy in Canberra after they expressed their displeasure.

You’d tell him not to quit his day job, but, y’know.

For more stories like this, Like Junkee on Facebook.