An Occasional Guide to Irish Politics: The Wasted Seat.

Might as well have been left empty.
Might as well have been left empty.

He surprised everybody, including himself, by getting elected first time out. His supporters were ecstatic, and his quirky personality and bolshy beliefs convinced them that they had elected someone who could, if not make a difference, (Who can, in our do-nothing parliament?) at least stand up and say a few things that needed to be said.

Once inside, however, he changed. The money, more than he had ever made before, overwhelmed him, as did the lifestyle. When asked to speak on issues that he had always been sound on before, he started saying things like “It’s complicated”. What was worse was that whilst that was true, he’d actually lost his bottle. He was now a “member of the parliamentary party” and had to “look at the big picture”. The last straw was when he actually voted against an opposition bill in favour of something he’d always supported, saying vaguely that the government would be introducing its own legislation “at some point in the future”. He doesn’t know when. When a member of the same parliamentary party rebels on the same issue, votes in favour of the opposition bill, and gets away with it, and gets plaudits in the media for not being afraid to stand up, it makes Him look like a tool.

As the general election approaches, he’s in full panic mode, trying to scrape his supporters together (whom he has hardly seen since the last election) and talking about the old stuff, but they’re all so busy and the kids are sick and “you know.” He feels bitter and betrayed and let down. Funnily enough, so do they.

He doesn’t get within an ass’s roar of a quota.

Bizarrely, he gets a Taoiseach’s nomination to the Seanad, where he spends his days watching the clock run out whilst he tries to squeeze every penny from expenses that he can, knowing full well that the game’s up and he’ll never darken this place’s door again.  

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