"Come on, comrade, we'll keep the red flag flying here." The man with the Socialist Workers Party banner was grinning.

"I'm not a Marxist," I said. "Keep that banner away from me." I speeded up, but every time the marchers ahead slowed down he caught up with me.

"You'll be storming the council offices with us next, comrade. Long live the revolution!" I couldn't get away from him. "You're as red as my banner, comrade!" I hoped no one from the paper I worked on then was taking pictures. A photo of Comrade Kenny under a socialist flag would have been difficult to explain to Sir Anto.

It was autumn 2005 and thousands of us were marching to save Dun Laoghaire's Victorian sea baths. The council wanted to raze them and build apartments on the site. The normally sedate citizens of Dun Laoghaire were having none of it. We're proud of our seafront. No developer was going to ruin it with a high-rise eyesore.

The protest worked. The council backed off and the baths were saved.

The march had been organised by Richard Boyd Barrett's Save Our Seafront campaign. It was a clever piece of political manipulation. Dun Laoghaire is predominantly middle class and liberal, but not very vocal. He gave it a voice and his pay-off was the newspaper pictures showing thousands of middle-class people marching under a socialist banner.

Richard and I grew up in Glenageary and have mutual friends. I remember him when he was a punk hanging around the shopping centre in the early '80s. These days, he's the face of the People Before Profit party. He brought his punk attitude to local politics and has been very successful at making headlines.

I voted for his party last year because I respected him. Last week, I found myself regretting this – again.

His colleague Martin O'Sullivan has made an official complaint over Senator Ronan Mullen's refusal to name an Oireachtas member who advised him to fiddle his expenses. For the sake of narrative flow, let's call this elected rep 'Harvey' after the invisible – possibly imaginary – rabbit in the old James Stewart movie.

I don't have any time for Mullen's politics. He represents a conservative, Catholic right-wing Ireland that I don't like. Only last month, he angered liberals when he tried to obstruct the Civil Partnership Bill with a lorry-load of amendments.

That said, he's democratically entitled to have an opinion and a voice, however much I disagree with him.

After making its complaint, PBP said Mullen was a hypocrite to speak about moral issues such as Civil Partnership, while not naming someone who advocates the immoral abuse of public money.

It's clear there is an agenda here. PBP's complaint is not about expenses. If it was, it would have targeted the senators who are being investigated for alleged wrongdoing. This is about Mullen's politics. It's revenge for his filibustering during the Civil Partnership Bill debate. It all smacks of a reverse McCarthyism, with the radical left now taking the role of inquisitor.

PBP's complaint is vexatious and undergraduate, no matter what it says. It's another pointless protest by a party desperate to grab headlines just for headlines' sake. The last example of its headline- hunger occurred in May, when Boyd Barrett's Right To Work group protested at Leinster House and some demonstrators tried to 'storm' the gates.

PBP's O'Sullivan – who made the Mullen complaint – said last week he wouldn't identify the violent protestors from that rally. Double standards, anyone?

As a result of that clash, all future marches will be met with heightened security. Tensions will boil over. Elements among the radical left want this. They want Athens-style riots on the streets of Dublin.

PBP's complaint against Mullen will achieve nothing worthwhile. He won't name 'Harvey'. That's if Harvey actually exists. What if Mullen's 'elected representative' was a construction: an amalgam of various people and attitudes he has encountered in Leinster House? (Without a name, speculation about whether Harvey is an amalgam is justifiable.)

If Harvey does exist, then perhaps he was just making fun of Mullen's squeaky-clean image.

All PBP's attack on Mullen will achieve will be to make cautious politicians even more cautious about what they say. It makes PBP look amateurish and lacking in strategic ability. It shows it is willing to squander the goodwill of its voters for a few headlines. It diluted some of the good work it has done in the past.

Instead of mischief-making, PBP needs to get back to meaningful campaigning.

This means picking an issue that's potentially achievable and fighting for it. Ireland's pensioners and parents proved with their medical card and headshop campaigns that people power works when it is aimed at single, winnable targets. Boyd Barrett, to his credit, proved it when he fought for Dun Laoghaire's baths.

What's storming the Dáil shouting "down with capitalism" going to achieve? Or giving Ronan Mullen a political wedgie – however enjoyable it is to watch?

People Before Profit needs to stop wasting everyone's time and grow up and start behaving like a credible political party.

Finally, if anyone wants to know the name of that banner man who spoke to me about storming the council offices, drop me a line at Harvey@davekenny.com…