"At that, he turned around and said, ‘Who is that big p***k?’ and asked me out saying he would like to hit me. I told him, if he was any bigger I might. He then turned to Geraldine Morrissey and said, ‘I don’t give a f**k about you’.”

Inspirational stuff, but it's not the first time the Corporal Willie has distinguished himself. The photo above made the front page of several newspapers after Willie braved the jeers of the metropolitan elite, intellectuals and media to promote the culture of his native Limerick. Gordon Brown, take note. This is the sort of thing that wins elections.

PS: It might interest readers to learn that the Irish have expectations indeed of their Defence Ministers. One of O'Dea's predecessors Paddy Donegan is best remembered for telling a group of soliders that their commander in chief was a "thundering bollocks and a fucking disgrace" (or "thundering disgrace" in the bowdlerised version".) Donegan was succeeded by the legendary Oliver J Flanagan ("there was no sex in Ireland before TV"), a man whose career is so remarkable I urge you to read a fuller account of it here. Just the chap to take over state security at the height of the troubles.