Tuesday, May 15, 2007

INSIDE POLITICS - WESTMINSTER AND ANORAKS
 
I am fond of portraying the man who leads our country as The Anorak. For one it is fairly accurate and partly literal. For it is on the back of same unfashionable garment that Bertie Ahern made his reputation as a man of the people. The words that jumped out at me from the leaked transcript printed by the Tribune on Sunday were his description of his thrifty and parsimonious nature during his separation. He wasn't into meat and wine, he told the lawyers. He was into beer and matches.
 
And the man in the anorak, the ordinary true blue Dub from the northside will make his own piece of history when he goes to Westminster - the heart of the British establishment and of the Empire - to address a joint sitting of the Houses of Commons and Lords, to become the 32nd world leader to do so.
 
For all his travails over digs-outs and houses and light fittings in recent months, it's important not to forget his monumental achievements. Sure he deserves hid sledging but Paddy the Plasterer won't make it into history while the events that inspired Tuesday's address in London will.
 
On that point, a colleague not born in Ireland told me of a conversation he had with two other journalists. Both expressed sympathy for Bertie.
 
He said: "That's what's wrong with this country. Everybody's so forgiving."
 
One of the other two shot back: "That's what's right with the country."
 
Of course, the other definition of anorak is the nerdy wonky type who is a train spotter or a diehard supporter of Cobh Ramblers.
 
I remember reading about a hotel located at a busy rail junction in the English midlands. The guests were people who whiled away their days recording the make and numbers of the locomotives that passes.
 
And here I am in London tonight genuinely excited at the prospect of visiting Westminster, of letting the surroundings seep in. It's hard to admit it for a borderline anarchist in my teens. It's hard to admit for somebody who considered themselves a half-outsider until August 2003 when I took on this job.
 
But the evidence is overwhelming. The constant fix of talk radio; Q and A every Monday, the Week in Politics, setting the video to record Oireachtas Report. God, how low can you go. It points in only one direction. So here goes: My name is Harry and I am an anorak.

1 comment:

Dan Sullivan said...

Harry, does that mean that your blog is a favoured bridge or vantage point for polly anoraks and the likes of p.ie and irishelection are marshalling yards for the training of anoraks?