Opinion Columnists

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Leo can win without giving the voters all that they want

To govern is to choose - and the Taoiseach should pick policies that provide solutions to Ireland's real priorities, says Ed Brophy

Careless Whispers: Leo Varadkar felt the wrath of the predominantly middle-class media for coming across as too middle-class. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke
Careless Whispers: Leo Varadkar felt the wrath of the predominantly middle-class media for coming across as too middle-class. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Ed Brophy

Seven years into his term as Taoiseach, as the Celtic Tiger moved into its catastrophic "boomier" phase, Bertie Ahern was vilified by the Left for suggesting that he was Ireland's only true socialist. Last week, as signs of our new boom proliferated, Bertie's successor felt the wrath of the predominantly middle-class media for coming across as too, well, middle-class.

The return of such frivolity to public life shows that our lost decade of crisis, near ruin and recovery is now fading into memory. A sense of crisis still surrounds our housing and health systems - the former cyclical and the latter perennial. However, when it is the bank of mum and dad rather than austerity, bond yields, mass unemployment and emigration that dominates pub talk and phone-ins, then it is clear that a corner has been turned.

In case we needed any further reminder that we have entered a new phase, the latest Ipsos/MRBI poll for the Irish Times confirmed the trend evident since last autumn of Fine Gael maintaining a comfortable lead over Fianna Fail together with a big leap in Leo Varadkar's personal support, making him easily the most popular Taoiseach since Bertie in his heyday.

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