“Let’s raise a single eyebrow to our next president.”

In the Irish Times, Ann Marie Hourihane identifies the best candidate for the job – Sir Roger Moore.

Roger Moore is handsome; he looks great in a blazer, which is not as easy as you might think. He is good humoured and has charidee experience as a Unicef goodwill ambassador, a role which he has filled for the past 20 years, and of which he is justifiably proud.

He has a history of violence – The Saint, The Persuaders , a bit of James Bond . He also has a history that looks more than a little gay – The Saint, The Persuaders , almost all of James Bond, and a marriage to a singer called Dorothy Squires.

If only Roger had a history of flirtation with the far right, had briefly appeared on the television programme Dragons’ Den , and been dumped by the political party that was supposed to be supporting him, then he would have something in common with each of the declared presidential candidates so far.

But it is what distinguishes Roger from all the declared presidential candidates so far that makes him such a winner. Roger is self-deprecating. He is modest. He doesn’t think that he knows best. Or if he does think so he hides it. Roger is an actor; he doesn’t believe in sincerity. And sincerity is what has ruined the presidential race. We are sick of it before it has even begun.

[And you know what they say about sincerity… – Ed]  Heh.  Read the whole thing.

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Ding Dong, this is the real world calling, the Euro and much of the world economy are tettering on the brink, and we are obsessed with a hand shaking ribbon cutting rubber stamp job. I will confess I am enjoying the show as an outside observer, and occasionally important issues come up, but even a spoof article like tihs is taking the whole thing too seriously. The only ones who should pay attention to this outside of Ireland are UK/Australian/Canadian Republicans, it might make them think again.

  • Well Ann Marie….a new name on me…….left out Ivanhoe and Maverick (but in fairness the Mavericks didnt do violence). But perhaps Ms Hourihane is not of my vintage and doesnt have a indepth knowledge of classic TV.
    She should also know The Persuaders with whom Mr Moore co-starred with Tony Curtis did little for Anglo-American relations

    I dont think Mr Moore is an Irish citizen ……..but he is certainly over 35……indeed on the grounds of “age” he is over-qualified.

  • ranger1640

    Are wee Marty and denier Adams, more “west Brits” than they care to admit.

    Martin McGuinness: Not so Much a Peacemaker as Someone Who Stopped Making War
    It was that wise old French cynic Tallyrand who said that “treason is a matter of dates”. He should have known as he switched smoothly from being a supporter of French royalty to being a supporter of the Revolution to supporting Napolean and then back, at the end of his career, to being a royalist once more.

    For many today, terrorism is a matter of dates. What does it matter if Nelson Mandela was a key supporter of the ANC’s terrorist campaign in the past? What matters today is that he is a man of the peace which we all desire. Here at home, those currently championing Martin McGuinness’s candidacy for the presidency lay heavy emphasis on his role as a peacemaker in Northern Ireland.

    But perhaps Irish voters should pay less attention to McGuinness’s role in the peace process and more attention to British strategy in Northern Ireland over the last thirty years. The key elements of British strategy were no different from those practiced in the War of Independence in 1921. British policy back then was – according to historian Paul Bew – one of hitting the insurrection on the head using the terror of the Black and Tans while simultaneously offering its leaders “a bouquet” via underground negotiations.

    After making a hash of things in the 1970s – with crass political errors such as internment and Bloody Sunday – Britain embarked on two key strategies in the 1980s and 1990s. Terror was applied to the wider Sinn Féin support base by the UDA and UVF, partly steered by British agents within those organisations. Meanwhile the British Army targeted the IRA’s most hard-line members for killing.

    Senior IRA men who disliked the growing emphasis on Sinn Féin politics (such as Jim Lynagh, Seamus McIlwaine, Kieran Fleming and Dessie Grew) were killed by undercover units of the British Army, in often highly controversial circumstances.

    All the while the British intelligence services were cultivating covert contacts with the IRA. These contacts went back as far as the early 1970s when Michael Oatley (MI6) arrived in Dublin in the immediate wake of Bloody Sunday. It is notable that Oatley’s key contact within the Provisionals was Martin McGuinness.

    The British strategy of attacking IRA hardliners while seducing those elements of the IRA leadership open to peace had some strange consequences. The author of the authoritative “Secret History of the IRA”, Ed Moloney, has reported “I remember, as an example, one senior Special Branch man telling me how, on the eve of IRA Conventions, his men would issue orders for the arrest of troublemaking delegates so they wouldn’t be there to cause Adams and his allies any difficulties.”

    The fact that the British security apparatus was effectively working to support one wing of the Provisionals – as it heartily killed members of the other wing – aroused a lot of suspicion in an organisation that already pretty paranoid to begin with. Martin McGuinness was frequently the object of such suspicion. There have been several allegations – hotly denied by him – that he was a British agent.

    Supergrass Raymond Gilmour, former British intelligence operative Martin Ingram and the late Father Denis Faul have each separately accused McGuinness of being an informer. Former IRA Army Council member Brian Keenan wondered openly whether McGuinness had played a role in his own (Keenan’s) arrest near Banbridge in 1979.

    Father Faul specifically warned his school pupils against joining the IRA saying “it will sooner or later emerge that your commanding officer was a tout, and that his commanding officer was a tout too. And whilst you’re rotting away, they will be getting off scot-free.” Speaking off the record, a retired security source confirmed this fear when he told me that by the end of the Troubles an estimated 25-30% of the Provisional IRA’s members were informers.

    I do not know whether McGuinness was a British informer or not – I suspect that he wasn’t. But, at the very least, he was an unwitting tool of a British strategy to kill hardliners and cultivate more politically-minded moderates. Another beneficiary of this policy was Gerry Adams.

    Adams’s niece Áine Tyrell made allegations of child abuse against her father Liam Adams (and brother of Gerry) which are now the object of court hearings. Tyrell was frustrated in her dealings with the RUC. She said that officers “were more interested in recruiting members of the Adams family to act as informers than in helping her.”

    These allegations were first made in the 1980s but were only made public in recent years. If there was a war on and if Gerry Adams was the mortal enemy of the British, how come the British security forces sat on these explosive allegations for so long? And why did they also sit on the related accusations that Gerry Adams Senior (the father of Gerry and Liam Adams and previously a respected Republican veteran) had been a child abuser?

    For me, the evidence points clearly to the conclusion that, while their hardline colleagues were being gunned down, Adams and McGuinness were being protected and nurtured so that they could make the eventual peace. That is why I burst out laughing when I heard that Martin McGuinness had hit out at “west Brit” elements of the media. Having been a central tool of British policy for several decades, McGuinness throws an intemperate tantrum against “West Brits” as he runs for the presidency. Oh the irony of it all!

    McGuinness went onto say “I go forward on my record and my record as a peace-maker, which I think is unequalled anywhere.” That claim is absurd. For McGuinness sabotaged the 1973 Sunningdale settlement yet accepted a 1998 Good Friday Agreement that was little more than (in Seamus Mallon’s immortal phrase) “Sunningdale for slow learners”. McGuinness didn’t make peace: he just stopped making war. And he didn’t freely choose peace. It was forced upon him as a result of a successful British policy which gave oxygen to Provisional politicians while simultaneously asphyxiating Provisional militancy.

    Yet Sinn Féin now expects us to vote for “Martin the Peacemaker” as president. In the fictional world of “The Godfather”, would we expect Americans to vote for Michael Corleone simply because he executed a successful business strategy? “Kay, my father’s way of doing things is over, it’s finished. Even he knows that. I mean, in five years, the Corleone Family is going to be completely legitimate. Trust me.”

    The President should be a unifying national figure, not a divisive leftover of a vicious civil war marinated in so much moral compromise that it makes a complicated John le Carré plot look like a model of clarity. Today the best thing that superannuated Provo gunmen – such as Adams, McGuinness and Ferris – could do for their party would be to fade away and allow their party exert a fresh appeal with a new generation of leaders.

    While there was a strong argument in the 1990s that a vote for Sinn Féin was a vote for peace as it would turn the Provos towards politics and away from violence, the best thing we can do today is to withhold our votes from McGuinness so as to encourage a democratic renewal of Sinn Féin.


  • What a silly article. If “we” are so fed up with the race “before it is have even begun” then “we” don’t have to write about it.

    Presuming by “we” she means the media, surely she doesn’t think she speaks for the entire Irish people?

    The whole may look somewhat of a charade but considering the work the two Marys have accomplished, it is certainly worth taking seriously. Norris has lost a lot of credibility and should really stay out of the race and Sinn Fein are using it as a political tool. But at the end of the day it is an important role, it can help diplomatically, economically and in terms of overall reputation.

    We should take seriously who the next President is and hope it is someone who reads the job description carefully, stays within it and acts only in the interests of Ireland – not any political party or their own inflated sense of grandeur and self-importance.

  • apologies for strange typo above – “before it has even begun”

  • Rory Carr

    A welcome piece of light relief, but was it necessary for Ms. Hourihane to stretch herself so by repeating Moore’s Bond credentials to illustrate a familiarity with both violence and homosexuality when all she had to do was refer to his stretch in the Guards ?

  • michael-mcivor

    Can a ” SIR ” but his name forward to be a Irish presidential candidate-

    Where would he get his nominations from any-how- there is not that many west brits about-

  • socaire

    Speaking of Mr? Norris. Is this the type of man we want to represent us on the world stage – an anglophilic homosexual?

  • Rory Carr

    …and which of these two characteristics do you find the least appealing, Socaire and why would either impact negatively on a candidate’s abilitiy to represent Ireland on the world stage?

    You haven’t got he presidential election mixed up with the X Factor by any chance?

  • Stu DeNimm

    >Is this the type of man we want to represent us on the world stage – an anglophilic homosexual?

    Surely you mean to describe him in a more relevant way, as, say, a liberal scholar, or someone who can represent an Ireland that is no longer priest-ridden.

    I can’t think of another country where a literary scholar could ever be elected head of state. What could be more representative of Ireland?

  • socaire

    You say tomaato but I say tomayto. And Mr Carr, I find both ‘qualities’ repulsive and totally unrepresentative of the Irish people. Fred West was supposedly fond of a good read but what road does that take us down?

  • Rory Carr

    I don’t suppose you will be voting for Senator Norris then, Socaire.

  • Stu DeNimm

    Norris’ homosexuality is relevant to politics in exactly and only this sense: it motivated him to fight for his best-known political achievement. Every politician is “unrepresentative” in some sense or other. Convince us that we care that he’s gay; where’s the argument?

    Let’s hear your argument, too, on the second point. A lecturer in literature can’t help but be “anglophilic” in the sense of recognizing that England, like Ireland, has an oustanding literary tradition; what does that have to do with politics? Do you care to argue that Norris is “anglophilic” in some way that would make him a bad President of Ireland?

  • Stu DeNimm

    >convince us that we care
    read “convince us that we *should* care

  • socaire

    His gayness is his own business but one only has to look at the slavering hordes of west brit media types waiting for a mouldy old bone or two to fall out of Marty’s cupboard to realise what calamity would befall us down the line if other cupboards sprang open. If he felt strongly enough to withdraw from the race because it was made public that he went guarantor for a child rapist then he should have stayed out. Anglophile need not mean anglocrawl.

  • Pete Baker

    We’re in the ‘Humour’ category, guys.

    If you want to argue about the merits or otherwise of particular candidates there are other, more appropriate, posts.

  • Rory Carr

    “I can’t think of another country where a literary scholar could ever be elected head of state.”

    You may have overlooked these, Stu (and I’m pretty sure there are quite a few more that I have not included.)

    Václav Havel, Czech playwright, essayist, poet. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He has written over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally.

    Mario Vargas Llosa – presidential candidate of Perú, in 1990 and Nobel Laureate in Literature, 2010.

    Colin Bateman, Novelist, Nobel Laureate 2016, President of a Reunified Ireland 2018 – 2025. President of European Council 2026 – ?

    One of the above has been included in order to remain consistent with Pete’s reminder that we are in the humour category

  • Does the homosexual allegation simply arise from his portrayal of a flamboyant homosexual (with James Bond characteristics) in Boat Trip (2002).