Wednesday, March 28, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR

You know how to get a story out?

Just tell a politician a secret.

The worst kept secret of the last 24 hours was revealed tonight when Trevor Sargent was named as the Magill Politician of the Year. I was one of about a dozen political correspondents who used our skill, expertise, deeply-held prejudices and a thumb-tack to choose the winners.

The event was held in the Royal College of Physicians just two doors down from Leinster House and there was a great turnout despite the fact that the division bells for crucial votes had been ringing all day.

Sargent completed what was a bit of a 'Scorsese on Oscar Night' for the Greens.

Eamon Ryan - who was very bashful and self-deprecating - won TD of the Year and Mayor of Galway Niall O Brolchain was a nominee in the 'one to watch' category.

What struck me is that the politicians who won awards were genuinely chuffed and pleased, including a beaming Joan Burton who won campaigner of the year ("I didn't make a speech," she joked afterwards, "because I would have cried like Gwyneth Paltrow's at the Oscars."). Noel Dempsey was also very pleased. I suppose that in such an insecure profession, it is nice to get validation (though it's not the same as getting elected).

Sargent quoted an old political maxim that when the party's doing badly, it's the leader who's at fault and when the party's doing well, the leader gets all the credit.

It is true that his party is doing well. But I think that its support might have plateaued and that it might experience the recoil that a Sinn Fein bounce will bring it. Still, sure, the Greens will do very well. I'm still predicting 10 seats or more. But I think that if things go smoothly for SF between now and May 8 they will also be winning that amount - and will be in competition with the Greens for at least one - Dublin Central.

It was great to see Terry O'Brien getting the 'one to watch' award. Terry is a rising star in the Labour Party and his attitude is just amazing. However, popular and all as he is in Tralee, the town support won't be enough to win him a seat in a constituency that makes the Titanic look like a currach.

And while the ever-pleasant, ultra-capable Oonagh McPhillips from the Dept of Justice also deserved her award, it was great to see her boss Michael McDowell bravely come along to accept his gaffe of the year award for his Richard Bruton-Goebbels outburst.

His speech was hilarious. His best line was that he was entitled to gaffe because in the PDs he is the gaffer!

1 comment:

fibber said...

You can't be serious about Trevor Sergeant. He's a joke! Saw his speech on TV, all over the place. Best politico will b 1 who winz election, Bertie hands down.