Sunday 19 August 2018

The Taoiseach needs to take control of this image problem

The clashes between Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald are a quagmire of identity politics, says Brendan O'Connor

Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald clash in the Dáil.
Leo Varadkar and Mary Lou McDonald clash in the Dáil.
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It was bound to happen. Leo is in trouble with the women again. Specifically, last week, he was in trouble with Mary Lou, who in this case represents all women. She was the victim, because she was representing all women, and he was the aggressor, because he was representing all men, and so he was the totem of toxic masculinity.

Obviously the word misogyny was dragged into it, a word that has lost all power through overuse. So basically because Leo had some argy-bargy with Mary Lou, we then look back and note that he has had similar argy-bargy with Clare Daly and Ruth Coppinger, and therefore he hates women. Indeed, Coppinger was straight up to suggest this was a pattern with Leo, saying: "I hope I'm not treated to the same patronising and condescending response that the Taoiseach just gave to a previous female TD."

Of course it doesn't help that Leo has previous in this area, having not gender balanced his cabinet.

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