THE SAME DAY that President Obama pointed to Ireland as a country that understands the concept of dialogue and compromise was the day that Brian Cowen, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland watched a curtain of censorship descend upon a political cartoon of himself. The artist's work wouldn't be something suitable for hanging in my office but getting disrespectful lampooning is part and parcel of politics. To my mind an ocean away, it is rather remarkable that street-smart Brian Cowen could be swayed to follow the advice of a formalised public relations consultant and agree to swing the full powers of the Irish police force into action against all evidence of the unbecomig caricature. What has transpired is picturegate, a talking point fueld in no small part by Irish bloggers, radio personalities and tweeple. It would have ended with a whimper had the Taoiseach used the caricature as the cover shot for the 13th month of an Irish calendar featuring some of the semi-nude chiseled Irish rugby team. If he had autographed a few hundred of the images, he could have earned a few approving nods from even the most acerbic critics of his government.