A bit to talk about today, in regard a few different aspects of the Presidential race.
Eoghan Harris, a writer for the Irish Independent, was on Matt Cooper Thursday evening (unfortunately, that link won’t last forever), discussing David Norris and his sudden reappearance in the race. Aside from a stunning amount of pigheadedness and vitriol, his comments brought up a number of things I wanted to discuss.
Firstly, the consistent and never ending accusation that those who do not like Senator Norris are homophobic is getting truly tiresome at this stage. It is such a terrible thing to say, when you think about, a truly appalling insult to level at those who have chosen not to get on the Norris bandwagon.
You will have to excuse the crudeness, but I feel that I have to be blunt in order to really get the message across: I don’t care what hole David Norris likes to put his dick into. It means about as much to me as his shoe size.
If you are forced to accuse those who don’t like the Senator of being bigoted, an insult that simply should not be used so lightly, something is wrong.
Secondly, Harris can quote his own papers polling all he wants, but it won’t change the fact that polling from that paper is about as reliable as Fernando Torres at Chelsea. Moreover, 40% of people may have backed Norris in that poll, but why should we completely ignore the other 60?
Thirdly, I’ll hark back to a previous point, which I think bares re-emphasis: the constant refrain of “Let the people decide” is meaningless hypocrisy unless the people saying it believe if for all potential candidates. Dana, O’ Murachu, Crowley, O’Cuiv, O’Dowd all of them. Why shouldn’t “the people” get to decide about them as well? Where is the outrage for them, the petitions, the angry texts to Ray D’Arcy? Don’t throw poll numbers for Norris at me as an excuse, they’re utterly meaningless. You ask what I am afraid of letting Norris run? I’ll answer, how about everyone else who wants a go? Why are you afraid of speaking up for them?
Fourthly, Harris’ obnoxious dismissal of Labhras O’Murchu as a “career senator” was hilarious to me, considering that Norris has been in the Upper House for nearly a decade longer.
Fifthly, Harris should stop saying that all Norris did was “write a letter for a friend”. Lover, partner, boyfriend, they’re all good, and far more apt words. This was someone that Norris was having an emotional, perhaps physical, relationship with. That should not be so casually dismissed or papered over.
Sixthly, the comparison between the reaction to what Norris did, compared to what the reaction would be if a Catholic Bishop had done the same cannot be dismissed. Harris would be calling for the Bishops head in that scenario. He says that situation is different because a Bishop is part of a collective group. Utter tosh. What is the Seanad?
Lastly, I fear Harris’ anger may be more a result of the humiliation his paper may have suffered from announcing Norris’ return to the race on Sunday, to a total about face with its Monday headline. It may have stung a little, but I’ve never credited the Indo with an abundance of brains.
Moving on to Norris himself, I’m hardly unbiased, but I found his much hyped interview with Tubridy on the Late Late to be incredibly disappointing and anti-climactic. No rock steady declaration of re-entry, waffling, distorting, deflecting. He tripped over words, answered questions with questions, brought up bizarre stories to make soundbite moments. A poor performance from the Senator, matched by the mediocre interviewing style of “Tubs”, which ranged from lawyer-like to overly-aggressive.
On Martin McGuiness, the latest confirmed candidate. I actually have a grudging respect for the man for a number of reasons. He turned his back on the IRA and violence as a political end, he was crucial to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and he has done well within the more recent political establishment of Northern Ireland. He’s honest about his past, which is more than many members of the party have been.
I could never vote for him. A man who was filmed threatening death to anyone who “collaborated” with British forces, who carried a gun on Bloody Sunday, who committed terrorist acts for an unworthy goal should not be the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces. I can respect that he has changed and turned to politics, but I feel that his past (that I will not, despite Sinn Fein’s repetitive bleating, ignore) simply rules him out for me. But, I can safely predict that he will do well, maybe too well, if a split in the left vote allows Gay Mitchell to get in.
Also, his plan to only draw the industrial wage gets raised eyebrows from me, considering the discrepancies in that Sinn Fein policy. Makes for a good soundbite, but it isn’t that simple.
Lastly today, Labhras O’Murchu, the Fianna Fail Senator. His sudden announcement was surprising and a tad opportunistic, and may yet cause immense headaches for Michael Martin. Fianna Fail is fracturing big time right now, and this whole debate is a lartge part of it (And how crazy would it be if a unelected Senator tore Fianna Fail in two?) On the man himself, he seems well-spoken and reasonable, but his voting past (opposing the Civil Partnership Bill last year) would rule him out for me. He seems like a slightly lighter version of Gay Mitchell. In an actual race, he would take a few votes from the Fine Gael man, but would lack the financial support or the name recognition to actually have a chance.
More to come.