Praise of Varadkar is completely over the top

Peter O'Neill

If mediocrity was ever deemed presidential, now is the time.

I’m sure many people reading this watched Varadkar’s state of the union style address on St. Patricks Day. Judging by the response to it, it’s hard to see if many were paying attention.

Varadkar didn’t announce drastic measures to change anything or help. He merely got on TV and spoke vaguely about how although bad times will come, we’ll all get through it together man!

It became apparent the next day why he wanted to do this. Due to the international attention on Ireland on St. Patrick’s day, parts of his speech were picked up by media outlets around the world.

He was widely praised amongst the Irish media even among typical detractors on the left. Why is that?

Is it because we are all so anxious and afraid of what’s to come that even these vague words from the well-dressed man calmed us? Or is that the bar has been dropped this low?

Furthermore, why is it that in every time of crisis and a leader makes a speech, it’s seen as a positive to be like Winston Churchill?

This was a man who’s only arguable positive contribution towards human life was fighting against the Nazis during World War II. Albeit not a small one, Churchill himself was involved in running similar camps to the ones the Nazis used during the Holocaust while in South Africa.

The glorification of doing the bare minimum is astounding.

Leo Varadkar may be held in such high regard in recent weeks due to the mere fact that he isn’t a right-wing demagogue. The last few years of Trump, Brexit, Bolsonaro and Boris on our TV screens have made us thankful that we don’t have one of our own on our hands.

His party though oversaw a massive programme of austerity in the last financial crisis and have failed to tackle the housing and health crises in more recent years.

Judging by past Fine Gael governments and Varadkar’s own time in office, (exhibit A. welfare cheats cheat us all), it’s pretty likely that they will revert to type once this crisis ends.

Only then can we judge Varadkar’s actions. Not by his posturing and platitudes, but his actual decisions and the consequences of them.

Peter O’Neill

Image: Flickr