Kevin Myers: President Higgins lost the right to speak on a wide range of issues once he entered the Aras
WHEN President Higgins was elected, I wrote a column apologising for some of the things I had said about him in the past: "columnar abuse", I called it, because I reckoned that some of the language I had used about him -- specifically, calling him a "jackanapes" -- was wrong. I still think so. Name-calling is cheap.
I also believed and believe that he is the figurehead of the people; all the Irish people, whatever their beliefs, their creeds, their race. As President, he is entitled to our loyalty. The quid pro quo is that he does not stray into celebrations of his own personal politics. That is a self-indulgence that his office does not allow.
But this is precisely what he has done with his recent address to the London School of Economics. The day before the Government announced the large-scale privatisation of much of the energy-creating sector, and the possible sale of its Aer Lingus shares, President Higgins declared: "Privatisation is the road back to autocracy, in which a hollowed-out state is bereft of anything meaningful to attract the support of the citizen -- especially the marginalised, excluded from the mainstream of society. . ."