Friday 19 January 2018

Coveney and Varadkar are now looking less like leaders and more like cowards

The two politicians aspire to be Taoiseach but don't take risks and aren't doing anything to unseat Enda Kenny or prove they're up to the top job

Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney Photo: Collins Dublin
Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney Photo: Collins Dublin

Eoin O'Malley

Theresa May's decision to call an early election in the UK can hardly be described as a gamble. With the Conservatives 20 points ahead in the polls and the Labour party led by a grumpy old Marxist, even a bad campaign should see her returned with an increased majority, a mandate for her premiership and her Brexit policy, and a five-year cushion before the next election. This avoids a more dangerous election in 2020.

May took over the leadership of the Conservative Party almost by accident. It was the Laurel and Hardy-style routine of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove that let May slip in almost unnoticed. The willingness of Gove to skewer Johnson and his subsequent failure to take the leadership proved the old adage, he who wields the knife never wears the crown.

It is a proverb that the Fine Gael leadership contenders Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney seem to have taken to heart. Maybe it's their private schooling, but they seem exceedingly polite and patient in giving Enda Kenny the "time and space" to determine the nature and timing of his own departure. Do they not realise that leaders don't hand over office willingly? Kenny will stay until he is pushed.

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