Monday 20 November 2017

Is serious Simon just the man to end FG's 'spin'?

These are serious times, requiring serious people, says Brendan O'Connor, so where does that leave the Simon versus Leo question?

NEW POLITICS: Cabinet members (from left) Simon Coveney, Michael Noonan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins, Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton and Leo Varadkar. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
NEW POLITICS: Cabinet members (from left) Simon Coveney, Michael Noonan, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, President Michael D Higgins, Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald, Richard Bruton and Leo Varadkar. Photo: Kyran O’Brien
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Do you not think we've had our fun now? Do you not think it's time to get a little bit serious? Do you not think these are serious times with serious challenges? Do you not think we need serious people to deal with it?

Politics, like everything else in this era of marketing, spin, social media and showbiz, has become about everything but politics. It's a bit like how for the big football clubs, football is rapidly becoming a non-core product. Football is a necessary attachment, but really it's about the ancillary sponsorships and merchandising and so on. Everything is gone that way a bit. Nothing is actually about itself anymore, it is about the circus around it. Facts increasingly don't matter. In politics, facts have always been a malleable commodity, but the Brexit campaign brought it to new heights, when the people of the UK made a momentous, earth-shattering decision based mainly on a feeling. Facts are boring after all. Whereas feelings move us, make us feel alive.

Politics in Ireland has always been a soap opera. We have always been a people who are hugely engaged with politics, perhaps inevitable in a country where, up to recently, people killed each other over politics. Politics here has always been as much about the people as the policies. Haughey, Bertie, Albert, even Bruton and Garrett, were all men who divided the nation, and they were men who people took very personally.

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