The presidential election campaign has been a borefest. A debate between the candidates might in future be used as an anaesthetic in operating theatres. Switch on a recording five minute's prior to being wheeled into surgery and the patient will surely be rendered unconscious. Recovery might be another matter.
Democracy would have benefited greatly from a more even contest. As it stands the combined vote of the forgettable five is likely to be less than number of votes cast for the sitting president. Last time around the campaign was spicy. Now it is just prickly. The insertion by Martin McGuinness into the 2011 race ignited passions and animosities. It got incendiary at times. The late Derry Catholic performed well up until being confronted by the son of Private Paddy Kelly in an Athlone shopping mall. At that point his campaign, while never likely to be successful, went into a tailspin. He was even asked on radio about the stench of murder. And the emergence of a 1985 interview in which he outlined the conditions whereby the IRA could kill gardai and soldiers like Private Kelly, took the wind out of his sails. The wheel had come off the wagon.
Sean Gallagher was unfortunate in that his failure to handle a letter bomb from Sinn Fein in the form of a question about a brown envelope saw him snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Now it is hard to remember who else ran. Dana maybe but only because she tends to turn up at the opening of a toilet seat.
Next time we might not remember that anybody other than Michael D ran at all. Sean Gallagher's campaign never recovered from the fatal damage seven years back. He exudes the persona of a mourner looking into a grave where the departed rests, wishing the clock could be turned back until somebody gently takes his arm and leads him away from Grave Aras.
Liadh Ni Riada's feet are far too small to fill the shoes of McGuinness. Her willingness to wear the war poppy rather than the anti-war poppy, combined with her being in receipt of the average industrialist wage and the average industrialist expenses, all the while shouting about Michael D's plane journey up North, echoing Gavin Duffy's lear jet socialism jibes, has reduced her to a token candidate. Not a Screaming Lord Sutch or Rainbow George but with as much hope of assuming presidential office.
Tomorrow I will head off with my wife to cast our votes. What she does with hers is her own affair but Michael D will get mine. Was I to vote only for the perfect candidate there would be no vote cast. His diminutive size has done nothing to diminish the manner in which he has towered above the Forgettable Five. That said, the Blasphemy referendum is of more interest to me. The notion of living in a supposedly modern society that has taken great strides in terms of secularism, women's reproductive rights and sexual orientation, subject to a law that protects unicorns collides with my tendentious sense of propriety.
Yes, tomorrow will be the culmination of a good year in terms of referenda. Overcoming the diktat of those who those who simultaneously demand that society protect the unborn and the unicorn will be complete.