Leo Varadkar’s Swan (Tweet) Song.
The man who never cared doesn’t care anymore.
Leo Varadkar, stand-by Taoiseach of Ireland for about another year and a half, was once billed as the new voice of Fine Gael and of Irish Economic Conservativism; a hip, young, “progressive” who’ll drag the once dower-faced Fine Gael into the 21st century with socially progressive policies (gay marriage support, Repealing the 8th Amendment, some talk of drug legalization), while keeping their economic policies firmly in the 20th century.
Now, in the space of a single year, he lies a husk of his former self. Amazingly, Covid in Ireland was a highlight for him, as it gave him the chance to put on a strongman front with his calm, almost stoic delivery, all while making a meme of his speeches by sneaking in movie references. I must admit, the man gets PR and Media. But outside of that, even before Covid, he was slowly being chipped away at by embarrassing election results, a long drawn out coalition talk with rivals Fianna Fail and their lackies the Greens, public scrutiny at his attempt to scapegoat rising case numbers by blaming NPHET and ignore their calls for a second lockdown, and the very real possibility he committed borderline treason by leaking state documents (not for the first time, if text messages between himself and others are to be believed).
As per the coalition agreement, he will act as Tánaiste, Deputy Prime Minister, until the second half of this government’s term, effectively an exiled prince in waiting within his own system. But he has busied himself with almost Trumpian levels of obsession for Sinn Fein and the opposition, who he’s made out to be everything from still secretly terrorists, to far-leftists, to causing Woke Culture and Virtue Sig-Wait what!
On April the 22nd, while Leo was speaking on the issue facing Youth Unemployment, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Eh-Dawn Oh Rear-Dawn, for my Yanks) called out Leo for his half-hearted attempt of showing concern for Youth Unemployment, since he’s only Tweeted (Jesus Christ, I hate the fact this is the level we’re at) about it a fraction of the times he Tweeted attacks at Sinn Féin and opposition members.
Now this really should have been an easy retort for Leo; acknowledge the fair remark, remind people you’re Tánaiste and you’ve got many priorities, and say you’ll take the comment into consideration but say the focus of the discussion should remain on Youth Unemployment. But that would imply Leo is in a position to care.
Again, a little over a year ago he just managed to save his seat, he stained his own cool, stoic, strongman image by looking bitter and bitchy on the now infamous appearance on Claire Byrne Live, he’s being investigated by An Garda for what may be a serious case of leaking documents, and, on top of all that, he has to try to steer a government he no longer leads into a position that’ll be smooth sailing when his half of the term comes around if he has any chance of saving his legacy.
This is a man who is just done with.
I just think that’s a cheap shot… The Deputy (Aodhán) is once again engaging in virtue signaling… That’s just cheap politics I think… The number of times you Tweet about something is not necessarily a reflection of how important you regard something to be… I gave a speech to the Young Fine Gael conference…
Leo doesn’t care that there’s an irony to him accusing someone of virtue signaling and of making themselves “out to be a better person”, when Aodhán literally just pointed out that’s what Leo’s been doing with Sinn Féin.
Leo doesn’t care that YFG don’t represent the struggles of Youth Unemployment (by the sheer fact they’re YFG).
Leo doesn’t even care that he he’s already accused Aodhán of virtue signaling, 10 months ago, when he tried passing a worker’s rights bill, which would have, you know, helped alleviated Youth Unemployment! That thing Leo apparently cares about!
But what really gets me is the line…
The number of times you Tweet about something is necessarily a reflection of how important you regard something to be…
Did he just accidentally admit what he Tweets isn’t necessarily important to him?
He doesn’t even care what he’s Tweeting.
Now I understand what he meant and I agree. Twitter, indeed any platform, doesn’t make something important or noteworthy, but even then you’re still admitting that you’re not holding yourself up to a higher standard than the usual Twitter user. You don’t care enough to make sure you don’t devolve into the same echo-chamber and shouting matches that are plaguing the internet at the moment.
You’re the Tánaiste. You’re a Limbo Taoiseach. You’re in government. You can’t blame people, nor make snide remarks, when they assume everything you say and do is important. You can’t blame people for assuming, since you haven’t stepped down, since you are still talking about the same things over and over, since you’re still waiting to be Taoiseach again, that you care.
You can’t blame them, but you’re starting to make it clear you don’t care.