Saturday 18 November 2017

Leo is the man who could be king - at least on a good day...

Varadkar as Taoiseach would make Ireland feel good about itself - but what would he be like in a crisis

Leo Varadkar looks good on the Oireachtas catwalk, but how would he get on scrapping for Ireland in the EU dogfight. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Leo Varadkar looks good on the Oireachtas catwalk, but how would he get on scrapping for Ireland in the EU dogfight. Photo: Kieran Harnett

Eilis O'Hanlon

The shoulder lift is a time-honoured tradition at Irish count centres, as the newly elected TD is hoisted high by roaring supporters, fists pumping the air triumphantly. Some have gone down in legend, not least Labour's Alan Kelly's exuberant cry of relief after taking the last seat in Tipperary.

They don't do this in Britain, probably because they have a 'first past the post' system, meaning candidates all stand together on a platform to hear the final results, rather than down among their supporters in the hall.

The absence of any separation between politicians and people in that moment is what makes the shoulder lift such an infectious piece of theatre. It's all about pride and solidarity. It's their moment, as well as the elected TD's. They want to display him like a trophy because he's their man, they worked hard for him, and he won.

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