THE tyranny of the photocall is all pervasive. And it's giving Pat the pip. But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So yesterday, the leader of the Labour Party led a crocodile of local election candidates to the top floor of Liberty Hall and posed for pictures with the Dublin skyline providing a stunning backdrop.
THE tyranny of the photocall is all pervasive.
And it's giving Pat the pip.
But if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
So yesterday, the leader of the Labour Party led a crocodile of local election candidates to the top floor of Liberty Hall and posed for pictures with the Dublin skyline providing a stunning backdrop.
Fifteen floors high, with the most spectacular views of the city and the bay.
On a clear summer's day, it must be wonderful to be a trade union boss.
Verily, but they are the chosen proletariat.
"When I worked here I only got as far as the fourteenth floor," said TD Rabbitte, "although there were a lot of people who wanted to hang me from the top one."
As it turned out, he managed that feat by his own hand.
Last Sunday, he officiated at the unveiling of an enormous banner stretching the full height of the landmark building, and presenting shocked motorists crossing Butt Bridge with a billowing image of his smiling face.
A beaten man, issues out the window and speeches abandoned, Panoramic Pat has bowed to the demands of this silly election campaign.
This was the launch of Labour's manifesto for the Dublin local elections, but he didn't bother with the pretence of holding a press conference.
Instead, he removed his jacket for the photographer and pointed out to sea, feigning wonderment at the sight of a ship in the distance.
"Ooooh!" mouthed the candidates gathered around him, looking similarly enthralled.
Then Pat turned slightly and swept a majestic arm in the direction of the Spire, a bit like Charlie Haughey doing his "My Dublin" routine, but without the panache.
You could see he was a bit fed up.
"These elections have descended into a series of photocalls," he complained, as the Indo photographer gingerly climbed down from a rickety stack of chairs and the cameraman from RTE filmed him doing it. "It's annoying."
We pointed out to TD Rabbitte that by cavorting around on the top of Liberty Hall, he wasn't exactly hiding his light under a bushel either.
The Labour leader shrugged his shoulders and said he hadn't much choice.
As he sees it, photocalls are setting the agenda for this election, and his party is playing catch-up.
"We have lost very badly to a party which has no members on Dublin City Council, and can't even get a candidate for Europe," he harrumphed, sliding into the comfortable territory of PD bashing.
It was difficult to argue with him on that score. When it comes to stupid ways of getting your picture in the paper, the PDs are peerless, and shameless.
Maybe so, if he can't match the Progressive Democrats for stunts, perhaps he should take up the Tanaiste's challenge and have a public debate with her.
Panoramic Pat bridled. "She had a chance to debate Boston versus Berlin with me in the University of Limerick about six weeks ago, and she chickened out.
"I have no problem debating with her. I shall debate with her - any time, any place, any subject," declared Pat.
"But not before June 11." (Election Day, for those of you who have, thus far, successfully avoided the circus.)
Who's the chicken now, Pat?
"Mary Harney is only trying to use me to keep the PDs in the frame, that's all. I won't let her."
However, it's not that the leader of the Labour Party doesn't want to be used. In fact, Bertie and Charlie can toy with him anytime.
"I'd love to debate with Bertie Ahern or Charlie McCreevy - love it. I'll even break my schedule to do it."
Don't hold your breath, Pat.
Picture Desks please note. Today's election diary, times to be announced.
Eoin Ryan is mud wrestling in Parnell Square with female representatives from the Society of Naturist Pensioners.
Mairead McGuinness will be castrating piglets in Termonfeckin and throwing wellies at Avril Doyle.
Gay Mitchell intends to swim in Dollymount with Fungie's cousin to highlight the plight of disenfranchised Dublin dolphins.
Michael McDowell is planning to abseil down the side of Clerys while launching a strong attack on Sinn Fein.
Ivana Bacik is joining the cast of Fair City as a campaigning lawyer.
Royston Brady will be in Easons looking for a map of Europe.