Tuesday 16 July 2019

To all the whingers out there - have a nice day

Enda Kenny. Photo: PA Wire
Enda Kenny. Photo: PA Wire

John Masterson

Everyone is having their few words about Enda, so why not me? Much of it has been an exercise of him being damned with faint praise, which always puts me off the praiser.

We hear about the Jack The Lad out until the small hours which seems to me incompatible with the spring in his step any time I saw him around Kildare Street. He walked at a slow jog. Maybe he was always late but he looked like he was going somewhere.

I remember the shots of him arriving at RTE for the leaders' debate before the 2007 election with his jacket thrown over his shoulder looking about 30 years younger than Bertie. He didn't win that election. He was lucky.

We hear about him as a manager, with the subtext that he could keep things ticking over but hadn't an idea in his head. I thought he was great when the Troika were breathing down his neck. We are a nation barely out of adolescence and Enda was more adult than most.

We hear about the confused memory at times like the armed guards around the ATM machines. I know I often confuse fact with stories I have frequently heard so I don't get too agitated by that either. He is no Donald Trump.

One of the things I like best about Enda is one of the things that got him in trouble. We live in a era where legions of people are dying to take offence and the result is bland society and boring politics. When Enda was fed up and he called out the 'whingers'. Now who these whingers were was a matter of some debate. I was just delighted that Enda had noticed what I had long noticed. He went on to explain that sometimes he found "that people find it difficult to find any good anywhere, anytime". There are a lot of whingers around and they are not good for my, or our, mental health. I know talk radio would immediately die without a constant stream of whiners, whingers and offended people but I could live with that. I think in the long run Enda had to apologise, but he made his point, and meant it.

I know I am lucky and have been dealt a good hand in life. So I maintain a fairly positive outlook. But like anybody I have my problems and bad days and temptation to moan. I usually think of Marianne Faithfull and find myself humming "I hope that I won't be this wrong any more, maybe I've learned this time", and things always look better.

I was struck by Leo Varadkar's characterisation of Fine Gael as a party for people who get up early in the morning.

I hope that whoever is the next Taoiseach brings about some change in our 'can do' attitude. We could do with more national optimism. I like it when someone tells me to "have a good day". It makes it more likely that I will.

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