Saturday 17 March 2018

Gay marriage will be won on the economic ticket

Aodhan O Riordain
Aodhan O Riordain
John Drennan

John Drennan

The first response of the Coalition to today's Sunday Independent / Millward Brown poll result will inevitably consist of bleats about how the referendum will undoubtedly tighten up and these things are always very close and sure we will be lucky to win it by a percent.

In fact if the Coalition has any gumption, and the evidence is thin in that regard, the gay marriage thing will sail through by a country mile.

This, of course, will have nothing to do with the flight of the knuckle dusters from Aodhan O'Riordan's new politically correct Ireland or the kinder virtues or the fact that everyone, yes even Enda knows one of those gay fellows. Instead, two far older Irish character traits will ensure that the referendum sails through.

The first is that Paddy is obsessively concerned with impressing his betters.

This post-colonial quirk means that unlike the Greeks, Paddy would prefer to suck up five years of austerity 'standing on his head' so to speak if it makes us respectable with Angela, Obama and the European crowd again.

When it comes to the gay marriage thing, Paddy knows the score.

He is acutely aware that attracting all those Google and digital jobs is not compatible with Paddy appearing to be less progressive than Putin's Russia.

This means that whatever his real views may be, if he fears being embarrassed in front of the neighbours, Paddy will not stand shoulder to shoulder with the troglodytes on this one.

The government would therefore do well to forego all mournful pleas to the electorate to do the right thing.

Paddy is more than capable of doing the wrong thing if it suits his purpose.

Indeed he often takes a bit of added pleasure in it if it upsets the Sancerre-sipping Montrose-loving socialists of Sandymount.

But, Paddy also always votes with the interests of his eternally empty pocket in mind. And he knows that on this one at least he must adopt the veneer of being a civilised state as distinct to those lunatics up North who kick up a fuss if they have to even bake a cake for the gays. There are, of course, all sorts of other reasons such as your brothers, sisters, children and parents to vote 'Yes'.

The government, however, is with its emphasis on niceness and decency in danger of making a similar set of mistakes to those which led to the failure of the first divorce referendum.

They are also making the fundamental error if fighting on the principles of the last war rather than the current one.

Rather like the anti-divorce side and their 'Hello Divorce Goodbye Daddy' the Coalition has to get into the trenches and fight dirty.

And in this regard no campaign tactic will be more effective than explaining to Paddy, non-hysterically, that not being nice to gays will hurt Paddy's wages slip.

The one downside is that should the Coalition realise the winning of the gay marriage thing is 'the economy stupid' then we shall have no referendum fun at all.

Sunday Independent

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