Either you’re the one, or you know one: the guy or girl who’s “into the politics”, and it means that this time of year buying gifts is deemed easy. “Sure isn’t he into the politics, won’t he love Eamonn Gilmore’s book?” Except, and here’s the thing, he probably won’t. He’ll have either read it already if he really wanted to, or has no interest in reading it, because just because it’s about politics doesn’t mean he wants to.
So, what to do? Well, fret not. Here’s a list of gifts for the political junkie in your life that they may not have. More importantly, some of these are old enough that you might even get them for very modest money in a second-hand bookshop. And yes, if it is the right book, they won’t mind it’s second-hand, something non-readers never seem to understand.
1. The Clann by Kevin Rafter. A short history of Clann na Poblachta, and with the election coming, a fascinating insight into a new party and what it takes.
2. Any Magill Election Guide from the 1980s. They’re harder to get these days, but are crammed full of the stats and pictures of aul fellas looking young pol-junkies love.
3. Making the difference? The Irish Labour Party 1912-2012. A collection of fascinating pieces on the history of Labour.
4. “Borgen” (DVD). Less people have seen this Danish political drama as it’s a bit pricey to buy. But it’s great. There’s also a Borgen companion book out now too.
5. Talking to a Brick Wall by Deborah Mattinson. Gordon Brown’s focus grouper, and a fascinating insight into modern political communication.
6. “Veep” (DVD). I have to admit to being a big fan of the HBO comedy series about the US Vice President. Again, not seen by many.
7. “Seven Days in May” (DVD): a thriller from the 1960s starring Kirk Douglas, about an attempted coup in the US. A great yarn.
8. “State of the Union” (DVD) A 1948 Frank Capra movie about Spencer Tracy’s millionaire industrialist running for President. Famous for his speech at the end.
9. “The Last Hurrah” (DVD) Another Spencer Tracy, this time about the old machine ward boss mayor of Boston running for re-election. You’ll see exactly what we did to US politics.
10. “City Hall” (DVD) Al Pacino as the mayor of New York. A cautionary tale about the compromises good men make in politics.
11. “The French Minister” (DVD) French comedy about a young advisor to France’s dynamic yet demented foreign minister during an international crisis.
12. “Salamander” (DVD) Belgian political thriller about a political conspiracy triggered by the robbing of an exclusive bank. Particularly entertaining for the dour middle aged police inspector hero who bizarrely has women flinging themselves at him.