Saturday, June 3, 2017

My neighbour becomes youngest ever Irish leader

There was great excitement yesterday when Leo Varadkar was announced as the new leader of the Fine Gael party. This means that he will almost certainly  be elected Taoiseach at the next meeting of the Dáil.

Much of the press coverage focused on his attributes which would in the past have been a barrier to high office in Ireland.

  • He is on;y 38 which will make him the youngest ever Taoiseach
  • He is openly gay
  • His father is an immigrant from India
Around where I live there is additional excitement since he is a local boy having grown up quite close to where I live and even still lives in the area.

Leo has many positive attributes:
  • He is clever and well educated (he is a medical doctor)
  • I don't think he will be an embarrassment to us in public (unlike other leaders I won't mention)
  • In all previous ministries, he seems ti have been a very competent administrator
  • He is a good communicator and is loved by the media due to his habit of giving a straight answer when asked a question (this sets him apart from most other politicians).
However, I can't be totally enthusiastic about his election. Fine Gael is definitely on the right in Irish politics, but Leo's politics are on the right wing of the party. Many people think that his recent campaign against social welfare cheats didn't set a very good tone. I also didn't like the slogan of his leadership campaign which was that he would represent "the people who get up early in the morning" - this doesn't show much sympathy with people unlucky enough to be unemployed.

I am not too worried however, because Fine Gael need support from other parties and independents and hence his right wing tendencies will be help in check.

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