Two interviews, and two hints about when the Irish and British PMs will go… David Milliband tells the Today Programme that twelve months is a sensible guess, (sound file) though it won’t necessarily stop the Westminster junkies from tongue wagging about the planned manner of his departure… On Morning Ireland Bertie’s response will bring some dismay to his opponents, he’ll stay till he’s sixty and then ‘paddle his own canoe’…He just about wraps up the proportions of the hill the opposition has to climb to unseat this most managerial of taoisigh par excellence… Why stay on… “now we have problems of success rather than what brought me into politics, which was the problems of failure…”
His theme is risk of trusting an economic success with an untried oppositon, then goes on to suggest that the public wants to get more out of him, and lists a whole series of infrastructural problems in health and roads, which are still largely unaddressed. “I’m quite happy to rehearse the failures. Rather than be appalled by it, I have to get out and do something about it”. There’s also a reference to a seventeen percent population rise. Masterly use of context that is largely missing from oppositional discourse.
He also puts a slight damper on speculation that he’s going to put in a spending spree to entice voters “They (the voters) are not going to be conned by any party [on that score].”
A calm, steady start to the election campaign. There seems to be some parallels between Kenny and Cameron – cycling shorts for one. Primarily, it seems, that the best each can look forward to is to improve the parliamentary standing of their respective parties and put them within striking distance of government in the following election round. Though Cameron may think himself the luckier of the two since he will not have to face a proven incumbent next time around.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty