Why the Personal should never be political: The case of Mary-Lou and Joan

Some things in politics drive me crazy. Maybe it’s the mind numbing spin, poor speeches or just total lack of coherence in strategy or message, but Joan Burton’s attack on Mary Lou McDonald just took the biscuit.

Labour are currently in a lot of trouble in the South polling at around 8% and look almost certainly like they will be surpassed by Sinn Fein at the next election. So, in a heated exchange in the Dail this week over a teachers strike Burton decided to take a jab at McDonald’s education as a child saying;

I go into very well-off schools, fee paying schools, you’d be familiar with those

A reference to McDonald’s attendance at a fee paying school as a child, I am still at a loss to understand why something that Mary-Lou had no control over or the fact that her parents wanted to send her to the best school they good is being used against her.

Criticisms like this just miss the mark and as the old saying goes, the more you throw mud, the more you lose ground.

David McCann holds a PhD in North-South relations from University of Ulster. You can follow him on twitter @dmcbfs