Craic & Codology

The Wesht Wing

Scene 1: The lobby of a Dublin hotel. Fine Gael’s Director of Elections holds emergency talks with an old friend of the party.
Brian Hayes: Thanks for meeting me at short notice, Frank. As you’ve probably seen, we’re in a bit of trouble, poll-wise.
Frank Flannery: Yeah well, I can’t say I told you so. But I would have, if anyone had bothered asking me.
Hayes: I’m sorry you were excluded from the campaign planning this time, Frank – it was Enda’s idea.
Flannery: Right. So Enda’s having ideas now? No wonder you’re in trouble.
Hayes: I know, but it’s the whole presidential idea. The party has to have a single face – or at least that was the conventional wisdom.
Flannery: There’s nothing wrong with Enda’s face, on a million posters. The trick is to avoid having it talk. That’s how we won last time, remember?
Hayes (ruefully): Yeah. I don’t know what we were thinking. But there’s not much time left now, Frank. What can we do to reverse the trend?
Flannery: Two things. First, get Enda off the airwaves.
Hayes: Agreed. We’re sending him down to Mayo this weekend anyway – he can’t possibly make headlines there.
Flannery: And second, get your big guns on the attack instead. Noonan, Simon, Richard, Leo. They’ve all been far too quiet so far. You need to move them up to the front line now.

Scene 2: The front-line – a Spar shop in Dublin’s Castleknock. Two passers-by, just out of the pub, notice an excited crowd.

Passer-by 1: What’s going on here?
Passer-by 2: Looks like there was a hold-up.
P-b 1: Oh yeah, there’s yer man from the Government – Varadkar. (He shouts at the Minister). Yiz robbin’ bastards! Give us back our money!
Bystander: Eh, no – he’s not the robber. It was two young lads held up the Spar there. The politicians were just in the area at the time, canvassin’.
P-b 2: Right enough, that would explain the guards bein’ here. They never deal with the real bleedin’ criminals.
(The bystanders all lean in to eavesdrop as Varadkar discusses the incident with a Garda, and a Fianna Fáil canvasser who also happened to witness the incident).
Varadkar: …It all happened so quickly, officer. I saw the two men run past me, but they were gone before I could react. Naturally, I would have wrestled them both to the ground, disarmed them, and made a citizen’s arrest if I’d known.
Fianna Fáil canvasser: You would, yeah. You know what you could maybe do, that would be more useful? Give proper resources to the emergency services so they could answer the phones when people ring them.
Varadkar: I don’t know what you mean.
FF canvasser: I rang 999 to report the robbery and got put through to a voicemail.
Varadkar: Oh well – the Gardaí are here now.
FF canvasser: Oh well? So a Government minister doesn’t care that 999 callers are being referred to voicemail?
Varadkar: Cool your jets, man. That Green chap – what’s his name? – he rang 999 too and he got through. So I knew the Gardaí were coming. But hey, thanks for your worthy supporting role, unnecessary as it was. I hope Fianna Fáil will be similarly obliging to us after the elections. (He walks off).
Passer-by 1 (to the retreating Minister): Yis are still a bunch of robbin’ bastards, by the way.

Scene 3: The EU summit, Brussels. As talks on the UK Brexit deal drag on, David Cameron discusses developments with Enda Kenny over dinner.

Cameron: I think we’re almost there, Enda. Just a few more i’s to dot.
Kenny: Glad to hear it, Dave. We all want Britain to stay in. And as you know, I appealed to the other ministers to give you the tools you need to win.
Cameron: Yes, I heard – thanks, pal. Speaking of tools, you’re the biggest one I’ve got here.
Kenny: Ha, ha. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Cameron: I heard you quoted Shakespeare too?
Kenny: “If it were done, when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”.
Cameron: Macbeth, I believe?
Kenny: Correct. Mind you, (he lowers his voice), he was talking about murdering his rival at the time.
Cameron (raising a wine-glass and staring darkly into it): Yes, well. I trust it won’t come to that with Boris. But I’m keeping my options open.

Scene 4: After the last cabinet sub-committee meeting before the election, Brendan Howlin shares a nostalgic moment with Michael Noonan.

Howlin: It must have been all that talk about the funding for Knock Airport, Mick, but this suddenly feels like the closing scene from Casablanca. You know, where the plane takes off and the two lads are left on the runway?
Noonan: So which of us is Humphrey Bogart and which is the policeman?
Howlin: Well, the Blueshirts have always been the law and order party: you’d have to be the cop.
Noonan: And who’s your love interest flying away in the plane?
Howlin (looking crestfallen): That’s Labour’s core support, if you believe the polls.
Noonan: Hmmm. We’re not doing too well ourselves, you know. That slogan seems to have backfired on us.
Howlin: “Keep the gravy train going”? Yeah. It wouldn’t have been my choice.
Noonan: Oh well, we’ll always have Paris, Brendan. Or in our case, the knowledge that we turned a bankrupt country around together.
Howlin (his eyes tearing up): Yes. And you never know, maybe the voters will have a last-minute change of heart, and give us both enough support to reform the coalition in some shape.
Noonan (checking text on phone): Oh dear. Have you seen the latest poll? (He hands phone to Howlin)
Howlin (reading): Jesus. Four percent!
Noonan (putting his arm around Howlin’s shoulder, supportively): I think this may be the end of a beautiful relationship.