Wednesday 22 November 2017

Comment: Who wins the lovely legs contest between Coveney and Varadkar?

If you've got it, flaunt it: Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney
If you've got it, flaunt it: Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Looking at this photograph of Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney, the old adage couldn't be more relevant.

At first glance, this moment captured between the pair shows two colleagues sharing a laugh. Look a little closer, however, and the ongoing rivalry between the frontrunners for the leadership of Fine Gael is indisputable.

Varadkar and Coveney are almost neck-and-neck - or leg-and-leg - in nationwide opinion polls, and they're both putting their best foot forward as they try to secure internal party support.

Now, as both men bid to become the party's next leader, the question on everyone's lips is: which candidate has the shapeliest shanks? Closely followed by: who will be the next Taoiseach?

People were up in arms yesterday after the British edition of the Daily Mail emblazoned its front page with a photo of Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May, accompanied by the headline: "Never mind Brexit, who won legs-it?"

Closer to home, the Fine Gael candidates' clothing choices have been similarly scrutinised by political analysts and fashion pundits alike, with many noting that the men choose correspond-ing sartorial styles to complement their shapely pins.

Here, both men opted for navy suits - unmistakably reminiscent of the Fine Gael colour - along with monochrome ties and no-nonsense shoes. It's a purposely pared-back look with a subliminal message: these candidates have little time for pomp and pageantry, especially when they can let their legs do the talking.

Nonetheless, Varadkar never misses an opportunity to flaunt his physicality as he stretches his impressive bearing across a second seat. Here is a man who has built up the support of backbenchers, just as he has built up his pectoral muscles on the benchpress.

Coveney strikes a less imposing figure as he leans into Varadkar, perhaps to ask him if he rates sumo deadlifts over traditional deadlifts. Still, his physical attributes should not be overlooked - this is a democracy after all.

The lean and lithe Housing Minister is a former rugby player who once sailed 30,000 miles around the world for charity.

The Daily Mail's 'Legs-it' front page
The Daily Mail's 'Legs-it' front page

Varadkar and Coveney know that they will not be judged on their political vision but on their appearances, just as they know when it's time to unveil their secret weapons - their fabulous legs.

A future leader must have legs long enough to struggle for space in the economy section of an airplane, strong enough to withstand numerous kicks up the arse and gorgeous enough to entice voters. Case in point: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Nobody knows this better than Varadkar and Coveney, and as the leadership race gets underway, the two frontrunners are going to great lengths to prove that their extremities are fit for the job.

The candidates are pictured here mirroring one another's can-can dancer stance. Notice how Varadkar has cleverly pulled back his jacket to reveal the breathtaking length of his racehorse legs.

Not to be outdone, Coveney points his toes towards the camera. It's a direct attempt at seduction: his Dubarry is not quite dangling off his foot, but it could be. "Don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me" he seems to be saying as he purrs at the camera.

Their choice of accessories is also telling. Varadkar shows off his famously long legs with a striped red and navy sock that reveals a tantalising flash of flesh.

Coveney, always the more understated candidate, retains a certain mystique by keeping his calves entirely covered by a less ostentatious sock - just enough to keep voters guessing.

Of the two, Coveney has the golden ratio of long legs and neat waist. He is stronger among older voters, men and farmers - in short, those who know a lean quadriceps muscle when they see one.

Varadkar, meanwhile, is popular in the fashion capital of Dublin and among women, urban voters and the AB group. These sections of society, otherwise known as the 'Crossfit demographic', appreciate more musculature in their political candidates.

Photographs of Varadkar wearing a pair of running shorts will also work in his favour. Still, he'll require many more sessions with his personal trainer if he wants to have the legs of current leader Enda Kenny, whose enthusiasm for cycling has equipped him with the last word in enviable political pins.

Irish Independent

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