Saturday 24 February 2018

Virtuoso Blair rehabilitates Bertie

So Tony Blair reckons in his new book that Bono could be a president or prime minister "standing on his head". Events have slightly caught up with Blair on that one, since it is now unlikely that Bono will do anything standing on his head anymore.

Then again, given that Bono's back was re-engineered by Fritz, you could argue that if he were in charge here he would at least enjoy German support -- unlike our current administration, seemingly.

Blair's imprimatur is not to be sniffed at. He single-handedly rehabilitated Bertie during his virtuoso performance on the Late Late. But it is unlikely that Bono would agree to get involved in the bunfight that is Leinster House. The Aras could be another matter. Can't you just see it?

An Irish Camelot in the Phoenix Park? Ali as a kind of hipper, organic Jackie O; good-looking kids coming and going, and Bono travelling the world on our behalf, and ingratiating himself with the leaders and the citizens of whatever city he visits. ("Tonight, Matthew, I will be a Berliner, and tomorrow I'll be something else, depending on where we are.")

It would be a nice message to send the rest of the world too, choosing the duality of artist and multimillionaire to be our public face. One of us still has a few quid and we've got our souls back too. And he could be our first president who derives significant royalties from Holland.

But if Bono wants to do the State some service he really should consider Leinster House. Many people argue that Bono is a bit of a spoofer but, unlike our current leaders, at least he's a good spoofer. We're happy to be spoofed in this country but we like it to be good stuff. Just look at how much we liked Bertie, before we decided to blame him for everything. Cowen refuses point blank to give us any bit of showbiz, refusing to act the part, to perform, to do anything to distract us or cheer us up.

Cowen certainly reflects a certain side of the Irish nature, but probably the wrong side for the times we live in. Just when we needed the talkative, dreaming, positive, charming side of our nature, the side of ourselves we access after three pints, and which lasts until we have three more, Cowen represents our grumpy, surly, hungover side.

Bono is us after just the right amount of jars, when we're in that sweet spot where we become incredibly attractive and world beating for that short spell where everything is possible.

If we learnt anything from Kennedy, Reagan, Blair, Bertie and Clinton, it's that being a good world leader isn't all about reality; it's a performance.

Assuming Bono won't do the Leinster House thing, and seeing as Miriam O'Callaghan, who would be the perfect blend of style, substance, engagement, empathy, steel and showbiz, isn't stupid enough to do it, Bono should definitely consider being Prez.

This country has done a lot for Bono. Maybe it's time Bono asked what he can do for his country. You may say, why? I say, why not?

See Pages 16 & 21

Sunday Independent

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