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Archive for November, 2011

It can’t have escaped your attention that the Presidential election has come and gone and I am not your First Citizen elect.  The contest was won quite convincingly by a man we can certainly say was the least objectionable and most inoffensive of the seven candidates.  That’s not an unprecedented outcome in Irish politics.  But it has led commentators – well, one at least – to ponder where it all went wrong for one election campaign that began with great brilliance and no small promise of glory.   That would be mine.

If a method existed to quantify such matters scientifically, politicians would be found to be the most self-serving individuals on the planet.  Left to their own devices, they would never arrive spontaneously and unaided at a conclusion that was likely to offend their own sense of self-worth.  The reasons they give us for their failings are usually filled with delusion and hypocrisy and lend nothing to our understanding of political developments.

No such difficulty with me.  I will tell it like it is.  And it is this.  The reason for my failure in the presidential election is that I was too much of a maverick.  It was immediately clear that I was a threat to the political establishment with my potent mix of charisma, erudition and popularity.   The elite of this country had nothing to gain from admitting into their ranks someone with drive and purpose who would have shamed them with an over-abundance of intellect and idealism.     That’s to say nothing of the threat I posed by virtue of my having the common touch and a homespun charm.  And my gravitas would have shown them up as deluded imbeciles.  And there’s nothing less attractive in public office than a deluded imbecile, I think I we can all agree.

My campaign never even got out of the starting blocks.  In some respects, though, that may well be for the best.  The mind boggles at how they might have crushed my candidacy if I had, say, added money to it.  Or if I had devised a slogan, printed posters and sent out leaflets.  Or if I had canvassed people, bought advertising space or participated in media interviews.  (I did spend quite a lot of the campaign kissing babies, but they were overwhelming my own and therefore predisposed to vote for me anyway.  If they had been old enough to vote.)  You can see how the delicate flickering flame was snuffed out so quickly.  It’s just as well I am a person of such integrity that I would never engage in a vote-buying sham.  And also that my credit card was maxed out at the time.

But today is not the day for bitterness and rancour.  The day for that is November 11th, inauguration day.  All the possibilities of my vanquished presidency will finally reveal themselves to the nation  – the lovely new outfit by Louise Kennedy I won’t get to wear, a spin in Dev’s Rolls Royce I won’t get to have.  Then there will be tears at the sight of me not rubbing shoulders with luminaries such as Seamus Heaney and Mary Robinson.  Later there won’t be wry smiles and some rueful tittering at the sight of me running amok in Áras an Uachtaráin shouting, “It’s mine, all mine!”  It’s a tragic loss for the nation.

Until that day, as I said, no bitterness.  For now, I wish our incoming President my warmest congratulations and hope that his time in office is a happy and propitious one for him and the nation.  I hope he enjoys his last few days in private life before the heavy mantle of office comes to rest on his shoulders (it wouldn’t have bothered my shoulders in the least, but then I’m young).  Again, I don’t wish to seem bitter but I would delicately suggest that he also use this remaining time to check the brakes on Dev’s Rolls.

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