Wednesday 13 December 2017

Taoiseach Varadkar will fall on his own sword by ignoring lessons of history

The Taoiseach cannot emulate his Tory heroes and look to fund tax cuts by cutting services

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Steve Humphreys
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Photo: Steve Humphreys

Willie O'Dea

If government was only about photo-ops and designer socks then anyone with a personal trainer and spin doctor could do it. But it isn't. Government is about deciding complex issues where the arguments for and against are finely balanced and the best outcome is still going to disappoint as many people as it pleases.

These are the decisions that keep you awake at night. Yes, the plush office, extra staff and chauffeur-driven ministerial car can make the job quite comfortable, but the realisation that the choices you make can detrimentally affect the real lives of real people is the modern-day equivalent of the guy at the back of the chariot whispering "remember thou art mortal" in the ear of a great roman general or tribune about to receive their great tribute.

Taking these tough decisions tests more than your political mettle, it also challenges your core beliefs. This new Taoiseach, and his not-quite-so-new Government, will be faced with a tough decision over the coming weeks, and the early indications suggest that he will make the wrong call based on a right-wing outlook which does not accord with the public mood.

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