While we all have to deal with the recession the Grand Slam rugby win last week allowed us forget it for a while. The RTE news TV item on the caricature portrait was also a source of distraction.

For the government press office to seek an apology from RTE for showing it after it being in the newspapers the day before shows how paranoid this government has become. Back in the days of Spitting Image and Not the Nine O’Clock News on BBC, political satire was reasonably expected.

In the US Presidential election, the impersonations of vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin by Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live contributed to her fall in the polls.

Are these the death throes of a government, when an unknown produces a daring work and national TV has to apologise after publicising it?

It reminds one of the GUBU government of Charles Haughey and the national handlers of Fine Gael, when we here in Waterford got a taste of their manoeuvres.

The Standard and Poors Lending Agency in the USA downgraded the Irish government debt and can only see it improving by a change in administration after an election in 3 years.

Our Taoiseach may feel a little insulted by the comic portrait, but artists and cartoonists do this type of work and have freedom of expression. Remember the Danish cartoonist who antagonised the Middle East. Artists are generally allowed to express themselves in a free society.

Would a fit Brian Cowen be open to such a type of art – President Obama continues to play basketball.

We hope the Taoiseach might learn from the mishandling of this affair by his advisers and buy the piece of art for charity and maybe put down some new resolutions, perhaps hiring a fitness trainer and come out a winner in the end.