THE MacGill summer school is a bit like Glastonbury for geeks.
The festival attracts politicos from across the country who mass in the summer rain to hear their favourite anorak, sorry, advocate — and pay for the privilege.
The grimness of the times gives the tone of the debate a definite aura of Electric Nitpick rather than Electric Picnic, but the line-up still bristles with surprises.
Lucinda Creighton was listed as a down the bill act yesterday but — as she has a habit of doing — ended up stealing the show.
The Fine Gael South East Dublin TD, dubbed Blonde Ambition by some wary (jealous?) male colleagues, was reminiscent of stalwart music festival headliner Florence And The Machine as the omnipresent band is essentially a posh woman who makes a lot of noise — not unlike Ms Creighton.
But this was Lucinda Against The Machine — the big bad corporate machine lollipop Enda Kenny is so keen to lick at his gold-plated golf tournaments.
Florence has dominated the scene with her multi-platinum album, Lungs, but Lucinda’s multi-piercing theme song would be Lunge, as she never misses the opportunity to lash out in Enda’s direction.
With so many political egos vying for attention at one festival site it can be difficult to keep up: “Shall we go and see Garret FitzGerald mixing it on the main stage? Or Enda Kenny in the cabaret tent? What about Leo Varadkar in the silent disco, actually, no, let’s not...”
Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly rocked the afternoon show with a repeated riff on the evils of the Boom Time Rats in a set piece dubbed: “The Republic I Would Like To See”. Strangely, she did not engage with the whispers about her career aims and confess: “The Republic I would like to see is one with me as president next year, thank you very much.”
But Micheál Martin was a tad more naked in his ambition as he delivered a treatise on leadership.
In the most turgid contribution to the summer school so far, he went on and on and on about the subject, but the only interesting aspect of the whole address was that he did not mention his own leader’s name once.
Is Biffo now being airbrushed out of the picture even as he remains locked at the wheel of the Fianna Fáil juggernaut as it hurtles relentlessly towards that electoral cliff-edge because none of the other potential drivers — Martin, Lenihan, Ahern — want to carry the can for the crash?
Enda is headlining the main stage tomorrow, which will now be a must-see performance in light of Ms Creighton’s warm-up slot. Mr Kenny has previously come across as a kind of Daniel O’Donnell tribute act at such gigs, but will the newly re-branded post-heave man of steel rock-out and blow Lucinda and the would-be coup losers away with his political magnetism? If he does the wall of noise will be heard far beyond Donegal.
“We are live to the world!” the chairman of the summer school breathlessly announced as he urged the masses to melt the web feed from Glenties and engage with the debate, and it later emerged people were logging on around the globe — all 200 of them.
The MacGill summer school is indeed rockin’ all over the world.
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