In the hours leading up to last night’s RTÉ news, I was watching a movie featuring Bill Murray : ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’. It was a daft plot – American visits London, stumbles into what he thinks is a street theatre event but is in fact a real-life conspiracy to re-start the Cold War. It was a mediocre film but Murray as usual was brilliant – the nice guy totally clueless, generating lots of laughs.
And then the RTÉ news led with the Irish Times poll showing Sean Gallagher in second position. Well phew. Do the Irish people have a sense of humour that goes beyond daring into something surreal? I’m sure Sean Gallagher is a nice man. He’s certainly a big or at least broad man, and if he came onto a TV programme like What’s My Line?, I’d have put him down for a night-club bouncer or a gym assistant. This would have been a mistake because in fact he suffers or suffered from a disability (that’s him and Norris both), so it’s unlikely he’d get the bouncer/gym assistant job. In fact he’s a youth club or community worker or something along those lines, which is good: serving the community. But he’s also an entrepreneur, I think ( notice all the ‘I thinks’ here, indicative of the impact he made on me at least until now) which is another word for someone who comes up a wheeze to make himself money. Maybe those who believe we all should be entrepreneurs and that our schools and universities should be centrally concerned with producing entrepreneurs will vote for him. And then there’s his Fianna Fail background, which he apparently gave up ‘way back – like 2009, when that party began to implode. If I had a vote, which I haven’t, despite being an Irish citizen and born in Donegal, I might give him my, um, third preference. He is undoubtedly a decent man but he just doesn’t look or sound like presidential material. What’s more, I don’t believe the Irish people will carry their famously zany sense of humour so far as to put him in the Áras. Today’s Red C poll may indicate otherwise but I’ll stick to my prediction: Sean Gallagher will go nowhere near the Áras. It wouldn’t be the first time events proved me wrong but if they do I’ll have the company of those who said Mary Davis was the dark horse to watch, David Norris was clearly cut out to grace the presidency and with the help of Fine Gael’s huge popularity, Gay Mitchell was a shoe-in.
At this point I’m tempted to plumb the mystery of why Michael D Higgins has been leading everyone since the start but I’ll desist for now. A final thought, though, keeps haunting me: a bare-chested Gallagher wrestling with a bare-chested Vladimir Putin on the lawns of the Áras for total debt-relief for Ireland. D’you know, I’d nearly give him my vote to see that. If I had one.