Tuesday 6 December 2016

Labour still populated by hearts of pure stone

Alex White's handling of medical card fiasco fails to inspire

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 01/06/2014 | 02:30

Alex White announced this week he was contesting the leadership contest of the Labour Party. Picture: GERRY MOONEY
Alex White announced this week he was contesting the leadership contest of the Labour Party. Picture: GERRY MOONEY

In politics, as in comedy, timing is everything. Joan Burton got credit for being first out of the blocks. That showed decisiveness – or excessive ambition in the eyes of her critics. Minister of State Alex White waited until the end of the week before making his move, meaning he'll now be seen as the "Stop Joan" candidate – not a bad part to play in a party which still has issues with the Social Protection Minister.

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It's hard to believe that Labour members would be foolish enough to fall for such a blatant bit of populism, but it wouldn't be the first time; and the idea of White as Labour leader does have a certain hokey inevitability to it. He appeals to a certain strand amongst the self-styled left intelligentsia who'd do anything for the working class except invite them to their dinner parties.

White strikes me as very much their kinda guy. His CV is like an application form for a job at Cliche Central. Trinity College. King's Inn. President of the Students' Union. National officer with the USI. Bit of youthful Trotskyite radicalism. RTE. The Senate. In left-wing terms, this is the equivalent of being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Some might say that White's never had a proper job in his life, but, to Labour types, these jobs are as real as they ever want life to get.

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