Tuesday 23 January 2018

Gene Kerrigan: Enda becomes a shoo-in by staying out of the firing line

A photo op in a shoe shop is just another part of a campaign full of the same old spin rather than a struggle for the nation's, soul, says Gene Kerrigan

IT started, as these things tend to do, with a bit of a giggle. Standing in a Grafton Street shoe shop, Pat Rabbitte held up a couple of boots while the snappers took dozens of photographs. With about a week left of the campaign, Labour held a press conference in Korky's shoe shop to highlight how upward-only rent reviews destroy employment. After Rabbitte posed for a while, someone made the inevitable remark, "You're a shoo-in."

An alternative caption came to mind -- Labour Gets the Boot. In an election campaign that quickly grew stale, one of the few novelties in recent days has been watching Labour twist slowly, slowly in the wind.

Last week, the parties campaigned away -- a manifesto here, a leader's tour there, a debate or two elsewhere. Whatever they did -- including holding a press conference in a shoe shop -- it seemed like they were going through the motions. The same old phrases were recycled, the same old pictures were taken. Most of the parties accept the stifling limits of the EU/IMF directive. Minor differences, therefore, are all too obviously blown up into major squabbles, so they can have something to disagree about, for the sake of the campaign.

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