The phony election
Although everyone in the country knows that there is to be an election between Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney for the position of leader of Fine Gael, and de facto Taoiseach, as soon as the present incumbent Enda Kenny announces the date of his departure, we are supposed to believe that there is no active campaigning going on at this present moment in time. That is according to Simon Coveney who has repeatedly said that since the Taoiseach has not announced his resignation he is not campaigning for the job and is solely focused on the work that he has as the Minister for Housing.
Exactly how gullible does the man think that the people of Ireland are? Campaigning for this job has been going on for a long time and it is only now that we are finally getting into the end game. Everyone in the Dáil is on the best behaviour and trying to show that their hands are whiter than white and that they are the stuff that Taoisigh are made of, all in order to win the popularity contest that is just around the corner. In not trying to look too keen, to show respect to his leader and to act in a very 'Irish' fashion in not talking ill of the dead, Simon Coveney is trying to show that he is made of the right stuff and the sort of material that Fine Gael members can rely on.
If he is trying to make it more obvious that he is made of different stuff from his main rival Leo Varadkar then he couldn't be doing a better job. Leo Varadkar is a far sparkier personality than Simon Coveney, he has a tendency to speak in a clearer, more direct manner in addressing issues than other
Irish politicians. This allied with his openness about his sexuality, his clear grasp of the many issues facing the country as well as his geographical background has made him the person to beat in the forthcoming election. In direct opposition to Simon Coveney he has also been far more open about his desire to become Taoiseach.
Simon Coveney might want the position of Taoiseach more than Leo Varadkar but he would never let on. In all of this behaviour, implicit and explicit, he has tried consistently to frame himself as 'the safe pair of hands'. That is the phony war that is going on at the moment, forces are being moved in preparation, plans are being made, propaganda is being put out. It may not look like a war but it is a war all the same, even if it is just the first stages. It is the members of Fine Gael who will decide on who wins but this battle in the war is as important as any.