A reading from the letter of Enda to the Austeritarians: carry on suffering
The address was wonderfully brief. The Taoiseach is learning
Staff and customers watch Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s State of the Nation speech on television in a Dublin pub. Photograph: Dave Meehan
And for your Sunday night delectation, we have a reading from the letter of Enda to the Austeritarians…
The Taoiseach had a simple message for these difficult times last night: “Keep calm and carry on suffering; you’ve been brilliant. Just like your government. Big thanks to everyone.”
He didn’t have to hijack the national airwaves to say that. His government has been parroting the same line since Friday, when it refused to take any pleasure in exiting the bailout, except for vital PR exceptions.
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In the normal course of events, wild horses couldn’t drag the Taoiseach in front of a television camera. Enda is to TV appearances what a vampire is to daylight - put him in a studio with an interviewer and he crumbles to dust.
His people reckon he’s grand on his own, though. Hence last night’s address to the nation - even though Enda had nothing new to say.
But there was nobody to ask him any awkward questions either.
He looked very tired. He sounded very tired.
The speech was filmed in a room in Government Buildings. The setting was slightly different to the last time the Taoiseach spoke directly to the people.
Two flags in one corner - the Irish flag to the fore, in full view. Beside it, the EU flag, but only a small bit of it showing just two stars.
To signify, perhaps, that we are standing on our own two feet again. (It remains to be seen whether we yet have a leg to stand on in the wider economic sense.)
Last time, Enda sat behind a desk. This was most disconcerting, because his hands were glued to it and it distracted from what he had to say.
The handlers made sure this didn’t happen again. If the Taoiseach was behind a desk, we weren’t to know, as he was only in the frame from the chest pocket up. Mind you, his arms never moved, so it’s a safe bet to assume that his hands were still tethered.
Did we say he looked wrecked?
Because he did. Perhaps it was the trip to Japan catching up on him. Perhaps it was to show the toll the last three years has taken. Because the message of bailout weekend has been unrelenting: we have all made sacrifices.
There wasn’t a hint of tinsel or a Christmas bauble in sight. Given that we can hold our heads high in Europe again, a tiny bit of festive cheer wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Afterall, as downbeat Enda told us, this morning “Ireland will again stand as a full member of the