It’s the twitchiness you notice first. The same sort of shiftiness you see with a guy meeting Tony Sporano, and wearing an FBI wire. Put him in a room with a half a dozen other Ogra FFers, and watch the glint of fear in his eyes, as they all circle, looking for that chink of weakness that will allow him to drive the dagger into the ribs of his “party colleague”.
Why did he join FF? What does he believe in? He can’t help but blurt out a pre-cooked answer but it means nothing. Ask him what he wants to do in politics, and it’ll be to hold a political job, and “work for his local community/parish”. They’re not bad goals, they’re just not anything worth remembering. And yes, he will be elected a councillor, and then a senator, and then a TD, and then a junior minister and maybe into the cabinet, and serve for 25 years and then retire and die, and his obituary will say that he worked for his local community/parish. But he won’t be a Noel Browne or a Des O’Malley or even a De Valera. He’ll never have an ism named after him. Politically, it’ll be like he never existed, which is grand if you’re appearing in front of a tribunal but not worth much if legacy matters anything to you.
When politicians from other countries meet him, with his glass of tepid water views, they will wonder what is the point of voting for him. He’ll sneer at those people in Sinn Fein and Labour and the Greens who “believe” in things, the eejits, with their “policies” and books, and he avoid’ll ever putting a view to paper for fear it’ll be the wrong heartfelt view to hold by Tuesday lunchtime.
But one thing is certain: In 1916, when people who actually believed in things were shooting out the windows of the GPO, he’d would have been up at Dublin Castle putting in the tender for the contract to replace them. For someone who peppers his speeches with references to “the men of 1916”, the reality is that if it had been left to Ogra, we’d still have a union jack flying over Dublin Castle.