So, three candidates are falling away.
Mary Davis. The revelations about her earnings in recent years make for uncomfortable reading. While she may have been perfectly entitled to the massive amounts of money that she earned, I would have deep-seeded suspicions as to how much work she actually put in. She has sat on an awful lot of boards, and I would be sceptical that she could have possibly put in the amount of work in each to justify the salary.
Was she just a good name to have on a board, someone hired to give the place(s) a good name? If so, it does not bode well. The Presidency already gets criticised enough as a do-nothing job. You do not want the office-holder to have a reputation for holding high positions, doing little work, and getting lots of pay.
And her decision to release the details of her pay the following day, and call on the other candidates to do the same, came off very poorly. She looked 20 years older on Vincent Browne.
Gay Mitchell. Things seemed to be looking up, but he has fallen drastically again in the last day. He and Fine Gael seemed to decide to position themselves in direct opposition to the candidacy of McGuinness. I thought some of their comments were effective in that regard, and I think it is important that people continue to question McGuinness’ record.
But they’ve gone too far, too fast, After the Vincent Browne debate, I worry that all Mitchell is succeeding in doing is driving voters into the arms of the Sinn Fein man. Mitchell seems to be very light on substance. He attacks McGuinness, but offers little of real alternative.
The candidate who spends the majority of his time attacking others is never likely to succeed. Fine Gael are just oozing a sense of “We’re expected to run someone, but we just don’t care enough”. Mitchell would be better served if he went with a more positive approach, and left the McGuinness bashing to his party associates.
David Norris. The Vincent Brown performance, especially the final moments, was a car crash. I saw some of his supporters throwing in the towel on Twitter just moments later. He simply would not answer a very reasonable question, and gave an atrocious display of dodging. He wasn’t fooling anybody with his large fake smile.
He did answer the question…today. This begs the further question as to why it was all a big deal in the first place?
Well, it’s a big deal because Norris is showing himself up as an evader, as a man content to cover up. The further revelations about his disability payments was eye raising today, as was his reaction. He seemed to think the accusation was that someone who is suffering, or has suffered from Hepatitis, cannot serve as President.
Perhaps there are some who think that, but I certainly don’t. Norris has never seemed to me to be someone curtailed by illness.
No, my issue is his receiving of substantial disability benefits, despite his sizable pay from the Seanad, where he certainly seemed to be one of the most active participants. The question in my mind is, did he really need all of that money? Will he answer that?
(And if he had brought this up ages ago, I wouldn’t have cared less. It’s the hiding of the issue I don’t like, when it is clearly something that voters would find relevant, not the actual issue itself).
I’m realising now that there is always something else about Norris. His supporters moan about media bias, but the media isn’t manufacturing the stories, they’re finding them and reporting them.
The creed of the Norris brigade over the last while has been “Let the people decide”. Let the people decide on Senator Norris and his record.
Yet, for Norris, content to keep a lid on this sort of stuff, it has never been “Let the people decide about Senator Norris and his clemency letters.” It has not been “Let the people decide on Senator Norris and his comments on classical paedophilia”. It has not been “Let the people decide on Senator Norris, his disability, and the benefits he receives for the same”.
No, Senator Norris choose to ignore those issues, and hope that they wouldn’t come up. His supporters want “the people to decide”, but get unhappy when the full facts about the man emerge. They want the people to decide, but they don’t want it to be an informed decision.
Much like Davis and her wages, Norris stinks of a person who is not sorry, but simply sorry he was caught.
And I’m happy to see the people decide on that.