Saturday 24 February 2018

Shaun Connolly Campaign Diary: The ego is stranded as AK-47 helps Labour seek divine intervention

Campaign Diary

Alan Kelly at the launch of the Labour Party's Election Manifesto. Photo: Leah Farrell/
Alan Kelly at the launch of the Labour Party's Election Manifesto. Photo: Leah Farrell/

Shaun Connolly

It is a topsy-turvy time for God and politics at the moment as it transpires Donald Trump, who once floated the idea Barack Obama was a Muslim, is now himself revealed to be the one who is not a Christian - well, at least according to Pope Francis, anyway.

Back home, despite spending the past five years trying to separate education and religion, Labour took refuge in a church on a DIT campus to launch its manifesto.

Joan Burton branded St Laurence's at the Grangegorman site a "temple of learning" as she once again taught audaciously ambitious deputy leader Alan Kelly a lesson in humility after his rumbustious radio antics.

The Tánaiste and Brendan Howlin did the bulk of the talking, while AK-47 shuffled his papers to the right of the podium. The ego was stranded.

And in an apparent reference to the newly demure, would-be cuddle-bunny Kelly's well documented delusions of self-importance, Ged Nash was heard dead-panning to a pal: "In fairness to Alan, he did get us the use of the church - 'cos he's mates with the Pope."

Ms Burton was herself refusing to exit stage left quietly as she dismissed criticism she had been too "handsy" in the TV debates as a sexist sentiment intended to reduce women to the role of Downton Abbey ladies playing with their teacups.

But the worrying truth for the Tánaiste about her hands is that she will probably have a lot of time on them after the election.

Socs, drugs 'n' rock'n'roll

No one can accuse the Soc Dems of having a lacklustre election campaign because they are determined to put the party into political as their slogan seems to be: Socs, drugs and rock'n'roll.

Co-leader Catherine Murphy proved their social liberalism by saying Ireland should look at Portugal's decriminalisation of all drugs - including class As - because the current regime "is just not working".

But is the bizarre novelty of having a three-headed leadership shared with Stephen Donnelly and Roisin Shortall also not working, and showing strains?

Ms Murphy was quick to slap down a reporter who dared refer to TV debater Donnelly as "the leader".

"There's a joint leadership and Stephen was there, nominated for the debate, and there's two very strong women on that co-leadership team," Ms Murphy made crystal clear.

The trio insist they are equals, but then Destiny's Child said the same before Beyonce got sick of sharing the limelight and decided she was really first among equals.

Irish Independent

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