It seems that our beloved Justice Minister has seen it necessary to clarify his position with regard to statements he made yesterday. Statements that, on the face of it, seemed fucking insane but now, in the cold light of day, can be recognised as typical Fianna Fáil bullshit that in this instance also happen to be fucking insane.
I mention this not to shoot the barrel of fish that is our state of governance, but rather to ponder on the nature of that phrase 'clarify his position'. It's a stock phrase that, if not a full-blown cliché, is certainly on its way to becoming one. A quick search on google reveals over 350,000 pages that include it. Those pages - a sampling of them, anyway - tend to be in one of two camps; either an outraged A was calling on B to clarify his position on C, or B was doing the clarifying of his own volition. Ahern will doubtless take solace in the knowledge that in clarifying his position in the way that he did, he was following a well-trodden path.
Ahern said that Irish banks may need to impose much larger ATM fees on their customers if the number of bank robberies involving hostage taking is to be reduced. It seems fairly unambiguous, but today he clarified. "I wasn’t suggesting that more taxes or more charges should be put on people," quoth he.
So now you know. To clarify one's position is to say "I didn't say that" without actually using words that can be contradicted by people with recording equipment.