Challenges ahead for both Howlin and Kelly
Whether he sought it or not, Brendan Howlin has been given a coronation and the young pretender, Alan Kelly, has been cast aside for now. In 'Henry V', Shakespeare put it thus: "Nice customs curtsy to great kings."
Whether such nice customs are best suited to the ultra-democratic Labour Party and its 4,000 members remains to be seen.
History has plenty of examples showing how weak emperors make for challenging envoys; so for this and other reasons, Mr Howlin had better make a powerful impression in the coming weeks in order to prove himself.