Ross O’Carroll Kelly: ‘I make sure to just say it in my mind. Because that’s being a good husband'
“You’re too much of an idealist, Sorcha. You look at the world and you think, ‘How can I make it better?’ whereas real leaders look at the world and think, ‘How can I make it pay?’”
Do you know what idealism is worth? According to the people of Dublin Bay South, it’s worth exactly 127 votes.
The old man goes, “This is not the end of New Republic!” except he says it without any real conviction, like one of those boy bands who’ve just been voted off The X Factor and they go, “This isn’t the end of whatever Simon Cowell decided we were called when it was discovered that our previous name represented a copyright infringement.”
In other words, the dude knows he’s toast.
As is Sorcha, by the way – eliminated from the race in Dublin Bay South on the first count, although she seems unable to accept that basic fact. She’s still hanging around the count centre in Ballsbridge hours afterwards, like she’s expecting someone to find a big box of votes they forgot to count and it’ll turn out to contain 5,000 first preferences to add to the 127 that she actually did get?
If she was still running for the old man, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.
She’s there, “At some point, I suppose I should go home and begin the process of reflection on why I failed to get my message across to the electorate.”
That goes down like Jose Aldo.
She goes, “How can you think about rugby on a day like today?”
I’m there, “Because rugby is the only thing I ever think about – when I’m not thinking about sex.”
Actually, I don’t say that out loud. I make sure to just say it in my mind. Because that’s what being a good husband is all about – although I probably will slip off to Kielys the next time her back is turned.
The old man is still talking to Bryan Dobson. “It is, as you said, Bryan, a seismic day for the country. Instead of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, we’re going to have Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. In Irish terms, it’s a revolution.”
“And what next for Charles O’Carroll-Kelly?” Dobson goes. “Do you intend to retire from public life?”
“No, like I said at the beginning of the interview, New Republic will continue as a political party. This election is just the beginning. I’ve also got my court battles against Denis O’Brien and my cases challenging both the constitutionality of the Supreme Court and the constitutionality of the Constitution.”
“And your plans for Aquatraz,” Dobson goes, “the private prison where water charge non- payers will be jailed – the issue, in fact, that probably cost you seats in this election – is that still on the cards?”
The old man goes, “My political life and my entrepreneurial life are two separate entities – if the question is, am I’m disappointed that the electorate failed to see that, then the answer is yes.”
The interview ends and the old man suddenly cops us standing a few feet away. He tips over. He shakes hands with Sorcha, except it’s obviously awkward.
“It’s a total wipeout for party,” he goes. “Not a single bloody well seat. How did you get on, Sorcha? Have you been eliminated yet?”
She’s there, “I only got, like, 127 votes? I’m still thinking there must be some kind of mistake.”
“Alea iacta est, Sorcha! Alea iacta est!”
“You destroyed me, Chorles – as in, like, politically?”
“Well, you destroyed me, too. I thought the next week was going to be the most exciting week of my life. The leader of a political party with 30, maybe 35, seats pretending that I have no intention of doing business with any of the other parties, whilst secretly negotiating with them for places around the cabinet table and 18 months for me as a rotating taoiseach.”
“Well,” Sorcha goes, “as a public representative with no allegiance to any specific political porty, I was going to dedicate the next five years to educating people about our need to cherish our natural resources.”
The old man goes, “Oh, the thought of it – what the next few weeks were going to be like! The intrigue! The horsetrading! The friendly raillery – to say nothing of good-natured badinage – with the pol corrs! ‘Charles,’ they’d point out, ‘are you aware that Fianna Fáil are on the record as saying that they won’t enter coalition with New Republic’. And quick as a flash, I’d come back with: ‘If I may be permitted to quote my political mentor and namesake, Mr Charles J Haughey: “Fianna Fáil is on the record as saying it won’t enter the Dáil.” Cue laughter and grudgingly appreciative shakes of the head all round. And . . . scene!”
Sorcha goes, “I had my own dreams, Chorles, of following in the political footsteps of Mary Robinson and Samantha Power – they went to Mount Anville as well. But I’m not giving up. I’m going to continue in politics.”
He laughs in her actual face.
She’s there, “Sorry, did I say something funny?”
He goes, “You’re too much of an idealist, Sorcha. You look at the world and you think, ‘How can I make it better?’ whereas real leaders look at the world and think, ‘How can I make it pay?’”
“There’s still room for idealism in politics.”
“Do you know what idealism is worth? According to the people of Dublin Bay South, it’s worth exactly 127 votes. And yet if you’d stuck with me, we could have both been preparing for office this weekend. You’re finished, Sorcha. You’re a beaten docket.”
He turns to walk away. Sorcha just bursts into tears. I’m thinking to myself, no way – I’m not letting anyone upset my wife like that. There’s no chance of me being allowed to watch the rugby now.
I decide, once and for all, to tear the wig off the old man’s head – and to do it in the most public way. I walk up behind him, as he’s preparing to face the print media and I grab a good handful of it. Except it doesn’t move. He lets a scream out of him, then his handlers drag me off him.
I turn to Sorcha – as I’m being dragged from the count centre – and I go, “I don’t believe it! I don’t actually believe it!”
She’s like, “Oh my God, what?”
And I’m there, “It’s not a wig anymore. It’s, like, grown into his actual head.”
ILLUSTRATION: ALAN CLARKE