Monday 26 February 2018

The importance of being Enda

Somewhere, today, we can be sure Brian Cowen is brooding. He must be sitting there, thinking, as was his wont, and wondering why it is all happening for Enda Kenny, and why it never happened for him.

Cowen is possibly consoling himself with the fact that the timing was wrong for him. Cowen possibly thinks that Kenny got lucky last week. Cowen and his colleagues in ex-government probably think they could have been as popular as Kenny and his Government, if only things had gone their way.

It must be galling for them to see a new Government pursuing the same policies as they did, but yet more loved by the people. Cowen and friends had probably, in some way, convinced themselves that the last government's unpopularity was due to the fact that they were the government at a time when no one in their right mind would want to govern this troubled little nation of ours.

Cowen and friends were probably looking forward to sitting back and watching Enda and friends get what they wanted. They thought it was all very well for Enda and pals to be a popular Opposition. But they thought that once Enda and Co got in and had to make hard decisions, then people would blame Enda for everything.

But we don't. And somehow it is a beautiful morning for Enda. And everything is going his way. And what it proves is that to be a leader, you don't need what Cowen had. You don't need to be the brightest, the quickest, the toughest, in the chamber.

In fact, leading a troubled little country is possibly nothing to do with wit, or brains, though presumably Enda has all those things too. Clearly, it's about a certain temperament. As much as many of us complicated and smart and edgy Irish people think Enda is a bit vanilla, maybe even a bit of an eejit, we are slowly learning that an upbeat guy with an uncomplicated temperament is possibly what we need right now.

Maybe we need a guy who has the kind of glass-half-full mentality that allows him to walk out of an EU summit, where he happens to benefit from Greeks bearing gifts, and tell the country that he said he would renegotiate the bailout and he did.

And as much as you could be cynical and say that Enda's speech about the church the other day was shooting fish in a barrel, at least he did it. Cowen, with all his wit, and complexity, never stood up to Rome.

Maybe, just maybe -- and we should all reserve the right to backtrack on this -- we have something to learn from the little guy with the upbeat temperament. Maybe Enda isn't just lucky. Maybe if you have the right temperament, life just comes along to meet you. And maybe sometimes it's important to just say that it's a beautiful morning, a beautiful day, and everything's going our way.

Sunday Independent

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