Bedazzzling Bono

Opinion: Role lends cultural cred to the chancer class

‘The audience lapped it up. Not least Enda.’ Above, Bono meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny after addressing the EPP gathering in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

‘The audience lapped it up. Not least Enda.’ Above, Bono meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny after addressing the EPP gathering in Dublin. Photograph: Alan Betson

Thu, Mar 13, 2014, 12:57

U2’s forthcoming album isn’t as forthcoming as we had thought, I see. Its release has been put back until next year, according to a report in Billboard , though a band representative later said the album was still on course for release later this year.

I wonder what the problem is. There was a Paul Woodfull/ Gary Cooke sketch on Irish Pictorial Weekly a few months back, shortly after Paul McGuinness announced his retirement, depicting the new manager (Eric Lacey) asking Bono (Cooke) if there were any image tweaks he’d like.

Enhanced appeal to the teeny-bopper demographic? No problem. Next! A new stylist to make me look taller than Tom Cruise? Consider it done. Anything else?

I’d like to seem more relevant . . . New manager turns slowly to camera, rolls eyes towards heaven.

On the other hand, the writers might have been of a different mind if they had attended the convention in Dublin last week of the European Austerity Alliance, aka European People’s Party – Merkel’s Christian Democrats, Greece’s New Democracy, our own Enda, etc – at which Bono was the designated inspirational speaker. (I am aware that Bono’s incursions into the G8, the UN, the Vatican and so forth have been done to near-death by grouchy commentators of all persuasions. But it’s just too tempting.)

The audience lapped it up. Not least Enda. At one point An Taoiseach gazed up at Bono with the eyes of a man much in love, then turned to sweep the crowd, beaming brightly as if to convey – in fact definitely to convey – that he was the guy who had delivered the superstar to sprinkle them with stardust and glitter and who henceforth should be seen in a glow of ambient glamour. Just the fellow for the next big Euro job that comes up.

Bono was unstinting in his praise for the ordinary people of Ireland who had saved the day for Europe by taking their oil without complaint. It wasn’t the troika wot done it, he declaimed, but the plain Irish punters. And they’d done it “with dignity”.

Fair’s fair. There’s no denying the relevance of that. It’s the plain people paid the price of the profligacy of the banking bourgeoisie, right enough. If they did it with dignity, well, that’s in their nature, in contrast to the rich and the riff-raff they run with.

Bono’s key social role is to lend cultural cred to the chancer class. No doubt he is genuinely committed to the causes he espouses. The point is that the people and the interests he has surrounded himself with exude and have enclosed him in an ideology that makes realisation of his causes close to impossible.

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